Having but recently celebrated that moment “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month month” 97 years ago when the belligerents of World War I agreed to armistice, to the cessation of harmful deeds even in the absence of an agreed formula for a fully organized peace, let us lift hands and hearts in a spirit of armistice at our own 11th hour.
We pray for the end of:
- death by suicide bomb in Beirut, Lebanon and anywhere else,
- genocide in Burundi or anywhere else,
- female genital mutilation in Kenya or anywhere else,
- lethal travels for refugees from Syria or anywhere else,
- torture in China or anywhere else,
- legal, physical, political, and economic abuse.
God of prophets who have stormed in their critiques, we know such things are wrong. We pray you strengthen us to be your agents in ending such evils.
God of hearers of prophecy who have recognized error and changed their ways, we pray you use us to support others who are even more directly the agents in ending these wrongs.
We know that armistice is not enough. It is not enough that genocide and murder and mutilation are illegal. It is not enough that nations signed treaties or governments enact laws to protect children, to prohibit discrimination, or to guarantee security. We celebrate the end of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, but without impassioned attention to public health, an epidemic will come again. Forgive us for the weakness that tempts us to think that if dangers recede, then they must have disappeared. Energize us with the vigilance we need to end the scourges of infectious disease. Equip us with the willingness to care for the desperate refugees who would come among us. Instill in us the creativity to confront drought and desertification. Let us never accept the slow starvation of famine.
And yet we pray as well that you give us a cheerful spirit to meet not just challenges we have named but even challenges whose nature we may not even guess. Give us a proper respect for free elections in Myanmar and let us be forthright in celebrating the ability of former enemies to transfer power legally and peacefully. Let us greet the efforts of young men in the United States and in Kenya and in Australia to protest the continuing racism that scars the faces of our societies. Let us welcome the willingness of individuals and of corporations to apologize for errors and to set themselves on corrective paths.
In this as in every hour, we need the direction of your purpose to make our own lives meaningful. In this as in every hour, the world needs us to act as your servants. In this as in every hour, we seek your blessing.