A Prayer for World Peace
by Jane Goodall
|We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which
we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times
keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings
and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with
generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature
and control our greed for material things, knowing that
our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being
for who he is, for who she is,
reaching to the spirit that is within,
knowing the power of each individual to change the world.We pray for social justice,
for the alleviation of the crippling poverty
that condemns millions of people around the world
to lives of misery – hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving,
who are condemned to homelessness, slave labor, and prostitution,
and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture
even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war,
for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places
through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.We pray for suffering animals everywhere,
for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation,
intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping,
training for entertainment, abusive pet owners,
and all other forms of exploitation
such as overloading and overworking pack animals,
bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.We pray for an end to cruelty,
whether to humans or other animals,
for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving
and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us,
and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.
“How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?” — Shane Claiborne
Claiborne poses a really good question, doesn’t he? On Sunday morning we praise the name of Jesus. We glorify Him. We exalt Him. We openly declare our love for Him and call ourselves His followers, His disciples.
Yet, on Monday morning, on our way to work, we quickly take another sip of our Starbucks double-expresso latte as we avert our eyes from the raggedly dressed man holding the crudely lettered “WILL WORK FOR FOOD” cardboard sign. We struggle not to let him make eye contact.
The man is filthy. He smells. We can tell that even in the confines of our well -heated car.
Only yesterday we claimed we would follow this man to the cross. Today we shudder at the thought of having to look at him. Talking to him is out of the question.
Good questions call for good answers. What’s the good answer to Shane’s question?
“How can we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one on Monday?”
Most merciful and compassionate God, we give thanks for another night of rest and day of beauty. You have kept us in safety throughout the night and have again gifted us with a day full of opportunity.
Today we pray for deeper understanding for those in need. Help us see through the differences and see the commonality that binds us together as your children. Help us see through the filth and get beyond the stink of hunger and homelessness to see the pure beauty of those you love with a love that extends into eternity.
Grant us sympathy that becomes empathy as we reach out to those waiting to be loved, those hungry for more than food, and those withering from the lack of a caring touch.
Today, may we see through the eyes of your son. May our every action reflect the love which daily sustains us. And may we have the insight to see the Christ in the face of every person we might meet. – AMEN
As we embark on yet another new year, the words of the French philosopher, Albert Camus seem appropriate. Each of us have a vital role to play in creating a world where justice reigns and all of our family have a place at the table.
May 2015 be the year when all of us help bring about a world where the hungry are fed, the homeless are sheltered, the lonely are comforted and we all truly realize we are one global family.
Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we can hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others, in a person. I believe, rather, that it is awakened and nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history.
If sometimes our poor people have had to die of starvation, it is not that God didn’t care for them, but because you and I didn’t give, were not an instrument in the hands of God, to give them that bread, to give them that clothing; because we did not recognize him, when once more Christ came in distressing disguise, in the hungry man, in the lonely man, in the homeless child, and seeking for shelter. – Mother Teresa
Jesus is clear that on the day of judgement some will inherit a kingdom while others will be cast into the outer darkness. What sets the two groups apart is how differently they treated those most in need, those in desperate circumstances.
Those inheriting the kingdom are those who reached out in love and compassion to those who were hurting and needed help. Those being cast out will be those who ignored the cries of those in need.
In the end, Jesus tells those who will be inheriting the kingdom that when they showed mercy and demonstrated love to the oppressed, the ugly, the despised, and the lonely, they were actually demonstrating love to Him.
Mother Teresa is right. How often do we hurry by the homeless Christ, refusing to look at him? How often do we ignore the hungry Christ, simply because we don’t recognize him?
God of grace and God of glory, we pause this morning to offer you praise and thanks for the truly awesome creation we call home. We cannot begin to fathom love so deep that you would send you only son to make sure we remained in a perfect relationship with you. Thank you for such love. Thank you for such mercy. Thank you for such grace. Help us to live in that love, Help us to walk in that mercy. And help us to share that grace with all those we meet.
Let each moment of our lives reflect to those around us the same love you have given so freely to us. May every day of our lives bring us ever closer to you. And may those in greatest need, those who feel most alone, those whose hunger is the deepest, those who are most oppressed, those who have nowhere left to run or nowhere left to hide, those who you loved enough to allow your son to die for, may each one of them feel your presence in a special way this morning.
And may your presence so move us this morning that we would seek out those we know are in need. Allow us to be your love incarnate to bathe the dirty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, and above all, forgive us our indifference and lack of compassion, and grant us the grace to simply be your disciples in a broken world. In your son’s name, Amen.
I have just discovered a wonderful litttle book of poetry entitled EMPTY SHOES, Poems on the Hungry and Homeless. Although most of the poems focus on the poor, hungry, and homeless of the United States, these issues are universal. And there are a number of poems in EMPTY SHOES dealing with the same issues with a more international focus. This poem by Susan F. Kirch-Thibado is one example.
Feeding the Pigeons
From his sack he draws golden
bread crumbs, scatters them at his feet.
As if by invisible signal they come–
the hungry and the opportune.
Their feathers catch the sun setting
over his bent shoulders. Dressed
in tuxedos of quick-silver gray,
mottled white-brown, iridescent
blue-black, they feed on his fare.
Sack empty, he walks back
to his alcove in the stone wall,
lies down on his bed of paper and rags–
St. Francis of Budapest closes his eyes and sleeps.