We have come to worship you, Shepherd of Israel. Out of the busy-ness we create for ourselves at this season, we come to remember why. We give thanks for the bravery of Mary, for the courage of Joseph, and we ask that these qualities support us in the face of overwhelming commercialization and the rewriting of the good news.
This week, as we think of Mary, we pray for all preparing to give birth, for their midwives, doctors and all who provide equipment, medicines and other support. We give thanks for the California, USA company, We Care Solar, which, realizing the difficulties of providing midwifery and other medical care when electric light is not reliable, invented “solar suitcases”.
As we think of Joseph, we pray for fathers facing the need to become refugees to keep their children safe – those who are too small, too old, too frail, yet in fear for their lives must run. With the news that any ceasefire in Aleppo, Syria, has been violated and praying for those who are frustrated in their attempts to give shelter and aid, we must cry out for these your children, Shepherd God.
We pray for the people of Yemen, as the humanitarian crisis deepens; and for the people of Palmyra as so-called ISIS retakes the city. Because the media is silent we must cry out for these your children, Shepherd God.
As the western side of the Pacific ring of fire seems to be particularly active, we think of those whose lives continue to be affected – in Aceh province, Indonesia; in the Solomon Islands; in New Zealand and Japan. While we give thanks that scientists note the changing coastlines which may give clues to earthquake predictions, because the media is silent we must cry out for these your children, Shepherd God.
We pray for Christians in Nigeria and Egypt following attacks on churches and cathedrals. For all who are attacked for their faith, because the media is silent we must cry out for these your children, Shepherd God.
We pray for those recently married, who in their love radiate the good news that in love there is room for all in this world. We praise you, Shepherd of Israel. Amen