17 Pray constantly, and 18 give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 – 19 The Voice
Compassionate and merciful God it is good to give you thanks and praise this day.
For the conferences which take place from today into December – we give thanks that people of all ages and from many countries and ways of life are prepared to gather and discuss world issues:
- the Conference of Youth in Paris, France 26th – 28th Nov;
- The Commonwealth heads of Government in Malta, 27th – 29th Nov;
- The Conference of the Parties; i.e. 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), 30th November – 11th December 2015 in Le Bourget, France. The conference is crucial because the expected outcome is a new international agreement on climate change, applicable to all, to keep global warming below 2°C.
We give thanks for unexpected life changing situations:
- in the Gambia, the ban on female genital mutilation;
- a mother leaving her baby in a church in New York, U.S.A. will not be prosecuted;
- a move toward a better work / life balance in Sweden as firms experiment with intense but short working days;
We give thanks for those who chose to stay to do their everyday things:
- cancer doctors and nurses in Gaza, in the West Bank;
- midwives and pediatricians in the Central African Republic;
- fire crews who stay fighting wild fires outside Adelaide, Australia
We give thanks for those who rush to give aid and support:
- following the bus blast in Tunis, Tunisia;
- the citizen journalists in Raqqa, Syria reporting on the situation where ISIS is in control;
- to the refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe.
As we read and hear of the fear caused by terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere inciting so many to want to stop helping refugees, Andee Zetterbaum, in California, USA who was prompted to start the World in Prayer ministry shortly before 9/11, wrote this on her Facebook page.
“Here is what I know: I would not exist today, if nearly a century ago, in a time when prejudice and discrimination against Jews was still rampant in the U.S., and anti-immigrant rhetoric ran strong, the U.S. had not welcomed to its borders two young people from Europe.
Had my grandparents not been able to come here, they would have died a few years later in the Holocaust. I know this, because all their relatives who were unable to escape from Europe (yes, ALL their relatives, more than 30 of them) died of disease, of hunger, of poverty in the pogroms…of the brutal murder of the concentration camps.
This, the memory of what can happen, when we treat others as Other; Unwanted; Unwelcome; Un-cared for; Someone-else’s problem; runs in my very bones.
So yes, bring us the refugees.
Welcome the Syrians, and those who flee from the Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the children (and adults) terrorized by gangs in Latin America.
Stretch our hearts to hold their fears and nourish their hopes.
To mend their bodies, and heal their spirits.
To grow their children, for they are ours.
To honor their elders, for they are ours.
To value their workers, for they are ours.
Open our homes, and neighborhoods, towns and cities,
to the wealth of ever-deepening hospitality.
To the richness of sharing, out of our abundance, and
out of our poverty.
To the differences of languages, cultures and customs.
To the joy of mutual-discovery.
So yes, bring us the refugees.
They are our ancestors, our heritage, our future.
Together, because we are one.
So we give thanks because we able to. In all the days of our lives may we remember your goodness and mercy. May we remember that you are the Creator and Redeemer of ALL – regardless of race, culture, gender, sexual orientation or political views.
When times are dark, when we face an uncertain future, when the whole world seems full of fear, pain and oppression may we always turn to you that your Kingdom may advance.
Here, at the start of a new Christian Year, may we remember that when we give thanks, so we must also continue to prepare the way until the whole world rejoices in hope, courage, love and joy. May it be so.