You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
~Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
Great bearer of light, there is so much beauty that partners with darkness where the undercurrents of sadness and tragedy dwell. May we find beauty in darkness and honor the lessons offered to us.
We thank you for the courage and solace of the non-profit agency Kara Olmurani (which means “I am a warrior”), based in Nairobi, Kenya. This safe shelter provides a haven for young girls 14 years and younger who have experienced sexual abuse and continue to be exposed to repeated revictimization. Many countries, including Kenya, report the sexual assault of young girls to be at an all-time high. Kara Olmurani’s holistic approach focuses on the strengths of each “warrior” coupled with family and community education, reminding us that we all play a part in eradicating these heinous crimes.
Keep the lamps burning at Kara Olmurani, God. Nurture the children whose lives have been interrupted by violence. Protect them on their lifelong journey toward healing. Bring an abundance of love and warmth to the workers that give their time, energy, and dedication.
We thank you for the creative, peaceful spirit of Vladimir A. Ovchinnikov, an 84-year-old Russian artist who has been painting murals on Russian city walls protesting the invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Ovchinnikov has been questioned by the authorities, fined, and pelted with snowballs while painting his provocative murals. In Borovsk, where he moved after retiring from his career as an engineer, Mr. Ovchinnikov is fighting a lonely battle. “I’m almost 85 years old, and I’ve got nothing to lose,” he said.
May the light of peace and love of neighbor continue to burn brightly in Vladimir Ovchinnikov. Inspire him with the Holy Spirit, feeding his desire to live a life filled with love and courage.
We thank you for the incredibly versatile baobab plant and its connection with the people of Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. The baobab fruit is edible, their leaves are used for medicinal purposes, and the people often build their homes among the roots where water is naturally stored, allowing them to survive the dry seasons. Due to climate change and over-development, the natural habitat is being destroyed. The country’s leading conservationists have launched several reforestation projects and dedicated regions as national parks.
God, shine your spotlight on the baobab plant and the projects in place to help these amazing, life-giving plants flourish. Enfold your beloved children of Madagascar as they grieve the increased loss of the baobab and wait patiently for signs of increased growth.
We thank you for Sandrine Rousseau and her willingness to speak truth to power. A self-described “ecofeminist” and a Green party member of France’s Parliament, Ms. Rousseau has positioned herself as one of France‘s main torchbearers of the #MeToo movement. She has also become the country’s loudest champion of fighting climate change. Ms. Rousseau believes she is seeding the national conversation toward concepts anchored in respect – for women and the environment. “There are important questions being asked, that at any given moment, will bring changes,” she said.
May the light be used to uncover injustice. Give us strength and fortitude to look injustice in the eye, to name it aloud and to not avert our eyes. Encourage us to be curious and to follow the light to collaboration, connection, and solutions.
We thank you for the dedication exhibited by Scott Heidebrink, the director of bison restoration for American Prairie, a non-profit conservation group in Montana, USA. For the past twenty years, American Prairie has been working to create a fully functioning wild prairie with herds of bison playing their historical ecological role. Bison act as “ecosystem engineers,” improving the habitats of many species, including plants, birds, and insects. Progress has been slow, but change is happening. The first 16 bison were brought to American Prairie in 2005, and their numbers have grown to 774. The reserve has set a goal to settle 6,000 bison on 500,000 contiguous acres.
We pray that the light of the sunrise and the glow as it sets upon the prairie will illuminate the beauty that is ever-present in your world, most beloved God. May the bison population increase, bringing health and vibrancy in their wake.
May we lean into the darkness, open to its wisdom. May we follow the light, ready to do your work.