as we come to the end of another liturgical year,
we remember and celebrate the present and coming kingship of Christ.
We anticipate the coming day
when the prophetic words of scripture are fulfilled
and we work, diligently,
to co-create a world where all people are loved and respected.
Yet, we are perplexed by the struggles,
the incongruity, the brokenness,
which is so virulent and rampant in the world.
It seems the stories of pain, violence, and despair
extend from the walls of our own homes
and into every corner of the world.
Our hearts break at the news of yet more shootings in the United States
in Santa Clarita, Fresno, Duncan, and other towns.
We are shocked to hear of 25 people discovered hidden on a ferry bound for the United Kingdom.
We are saddened to hear of the death of Boglaetch Gebre,
a renowned Ethiopian Women’s Rights Activist
who sought to end the practice of genital mutilation.
Our breath catches in our throats at the news
of the highest deforestation rate in a decade in the Amazon
with an increase of 29.5% over last year.
Uncertainty swirls in the aftermath
of protests-turned-violent in China at
Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Fear rises with the death toll in Bolivia
following a contested election in October.
And many more personal griefs and fears:
friends undergoing amputations and broken limbs,
neighbors facing financial and legal trouble,
colleagues who do not see a way to retire with grace.
The fear, grief, and pain can feel insurmountable.
Yet, if we have the eyes to see
and the ears to hear,
there is hope on the horizon.
Infants are welcomed into the world,
bringing hope and change.
US citizen Kevin King and Australian citizen Timothy Weeks
were released by the Taliban after being held for three years.
France returned the sword of Omar Saidou Tall,
a west African ruler who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French in the 1850s,
to Senegal’s President Macky Sall.
Open our eyes,
Ruler of All,
so that we might see and sense your presence,
in the midst of grief and pain,
AND in the middle of joy and celebration.
to work for the wholeness and healing you promise,
as we proclaim the reign
of your son and our savior,
In whose name we pray,
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