God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” –Genesis 1:29-30
What my grandparents did, we are doing now, not leaving footprints. You westerners must see what we are. We came to ask you to respect our culture. We came to ask you to come to our territory, if you respect us you will come. We do not want war as our ancestors did; we only want to be heard. We want peace, compassion and understanding. – Excerpt of Waorani women’s song in a courthouse in Ecuador to halt illegal oil drilling on their forested lands.
OH, God, our creator, you are listening to singing in this world. You hear crying and our pleas as well. You know our tears and feel our deep suffering. We call for your mercy on the many horrors of war, famine, displacement, imprisonment and inequality.
The movement of the wind across dry lands that thirst also carries Spirit. Nourish and protect the people of North Korea where one-third of the rice paddies have dried up in a 100-year drought. Give them hope. Call us to action in Puerto Rico where fresh water access is jeopardized and being rationed and in India where its population of 1.3 billion people will endure extreme water stress as ground water moisture is not being replenished. Awaken us to the drought in Sao Paulo, Brazil as people may be forced to flee, as de-forestation of the Amazon and long-term pollution of water leaves little to drink. Help us to discern a way through this global crisis. Help us to hear the words of our elders, teachers and wise-ones.
The movement of people where violence and economic deprivation require all manner of assistance. Holy Spirit dwell among the humanitarian partners receiving over 4.9 million people of which over 1 million are children as they are fleeing Venezuela coming to Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago. We call for your mercies especially for unaccompanied children, for pregnant and nursing mothers. We pray that communities accept the foreigner, the stranger, the homeless and hungry. May loving acts transcend policies of closed borders.
The flight of people from the floods from Cyclone Idai and the extreme damage it has wrought is overwhelming. Sustain those providing humanitarian aid for the hundreds of thousands of people in the port of Beira, Mozambique as contaminated water spreads cholera. Sustain the Ministry of Health as infrastructure is severely disrupted. Bring an end to suffering, calm the anxious, the lost, the grieving, those that feel all hope is gone. Shelter the homeless of Zimbabwe and comfort the suffering of Malawi as the waters recede and the dead are grieved.
We pray for the Rohingya peoples fleeing Myanmar, many now forced by human trafficking cartels into cages in makeshift prisons in Malaysia and Thailand. Bring justice to these places and times, shield the suffering captives from further harm. We learn of the rapid rise in the building of prisons in China where over one million Muslims are thought to be imprisoned in the guise of re-education. Oh how troubled and in need of your mercy are we as a global community.
Prayers this day and into the night are like the lights that come on at evening, as darkness descends around the world. Bright of day clarity shifts to soft silhouettes as we tire, help up us to set down our burdens and worries, to give them to your powerful ways. May we remember to be grateful for what is and what is not, Oh, Lord, Father, Mother…Great One, Protector of all.
Help us to know you in our darkest nights and in the blinding glare of midday. We pray for the victims of genocide in Syria where 500,000 are dead and where the UN has documented evidence of mass killings and the targeting of Syrian children by its own government for brutal torture and slaughter. We pray too for the people of Libya where dozens, including civilians have died and nearly two hundred wounded in recent days in rebel fighting in the capital Tripoli. So much anguish and misery, deep unendurable loss, and yet we find our way forward with prayers for reconciliation and peace. We honor the 800,000 dead remembering the violence of Rwanda twenty-five years later. As nations stood by, terror and genocide born out of hate speech rolled over the land. We grieve in this world of sorrow. Teach us to love, to forgive. We call upon you, Oh Lord; to bless our mouths with words of kindness, give our hands energy for healing and tenderness. Console the orphan and widowed. Bring wisdom to our leaders such that these atrocities do not happen. Open our eyes to the cost of anger, fear and hatred.
In our grasping and avoiding of Your Will, remind us that indeed Your Work is to be done here on this earth as in the heavens. May we hear in this moment, in this Lenten season your eternal call to us to love as Christ loved us, as he taught us to turn the other cheek, to befriend the widow, visit the prisoner and cherish our children. Awaken us to what it means to receive Living Water. Deepen our will to serve and love one another. Amen.