Gaping fissures of a broken world recently ran through Nepal’s tectonic plates and the festering racial divides of Baltimore. We didn’t mean to neglect that last week by focusing so intently on sharing an abiding faith with our confirmands. Let us now prayerfully lift up both places as hearts fail within residents dwelling there.
Nepal is to central Asia what Haiti is to our Western hemisphere: the poorest place in that part of the world. Why is it that misfortune seems to seek out such sites for tragedy and heartbreak? It was the land’s worst earthquake in 80 years.
Darkly, they almost knew it was coming—eventually—and yet preparedness and response were patchwork at best. The loss of life, of homes, of livelihoods was strewn across hillsides, the evidence of cities razed, and visiting death even upon the climbers of Mt. Everest. Katmandu was particularly hard hit and devastated. As days turn into a week, the hopes of search and rescue teams are diminishing. Over 5,000 have died and many thousands more are injured, homeless, broken.
Please pray for such as these. To help supply food, water, medical supplies, or shelter amid this disaster, send checks payable to United Church of Christ, memo Nepal Earthquake, to United Church of Christ, Wider Church Ministries, Financial Services – 6th Floor, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, 44115.
What has unfolded in Baltimore and other places like Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island, and South Carolina feels like a bad dream from which we can’t wake up. The social gaps and fractures of our land run deeper than we’d realized even a year ago. We have some hard work ahead of us around race, justice, and social policy here in America. We need to go deeper and do better than we have.
Pray for those who endure daily burdens of poverty, insecurity, and racial hatred, whose neighborhoods are now sites of violence, arson, and conflict. If you don’t know what to pray for, pray these words from our Conference Minister, Kent Siladi.
“Holy God, we pray for angry teens who fear the next young African-American to die might one of them. We pray for the nervous police officer facing the crowd with riot shield and club. May each one see clearly though the visor the faces of human beings like themselves. May the humanity of these police officers be seen in turn. We pray for mothers and fathers whose children cannot attend school amidst the violence, and whose households will suffer because they cannot leave for work. Bring them streets they can walk in safety. Give them a measure of justice. Jesus our Savior, you did not raise your hand when they came for you, but you rose instead from the very hands of death. We pray that those in Baltimore do not need to follow so harsh a road. Instead, renew the hearts and minds of all concerned. Fill their souls with dedication to their neighbors. Fill their hands with help for those who have suffered. Fill their mouths with words of comfort and of hope. After nights of violence, may there be a resurrection dawn.”