Prayer for an end to Violence in our World
Whether it is in the heated anger of a domestic or family argument or in the rage of gang-related territorial feuds; or in the destruction of cruel tormenting of a bully inflicted upon another young person; whether it is the hurtful words or actions of racism or homophobia, or the bloodshed of terrorist actions; or the senseless loss of life on the battlefields of war; our world has become with increasing frequency assaulted by humanity’s inhuman treatment of others. Violence such as this are outside of the expectations of our creator God, and as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to practice love instead of hatred.
The world is in mourning with the people of Norway as they attempt to come to terms with the violent bomb explosion and the massacre of youth in a nation that has resulted in the loss of almost 100 lives. In a nation that is generally safe and secure and peaceful, there is sadness and shock at the brutality and the senseless violence that has brought grief and pain. It is a national tragedy and the churches of Norway are offering support and care to bring comfort and assurance in this difficult time.
I wonder if we will ever come to terms with the senseless acts that shock the Norwegian people and all loving people of the world. My fear is that we are becoming so accustomed to these kinds of senseless acts that we are becoming numb to the proliferation of evil in our world. Even as we are hearing further word about the Norwegian tragedy, the news also is reporting violent acts in our communities and throughout the world.
My colleague, Bishop Christian Alsted, has written to ask for your prayers and mine. On his behalf, I ask you to keep in prayer all the families and friends of those whose lives were lost. We also are asked to be in prayer “for wisdom and strength for the Norwegian governments, and to pray that Norway as a nation will not be ruled by fear but that we will be able to continue to live in trust and openness with each other.”
Please join me in prayer! We pray for the Norwegian people! But we also pray for our communities because violence and hatred are present where we live and where we are called to be in ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. There is so much yet for each of us to do to bring about the Reign of God in our midst. Let these words from our United Methodist Companion Litany to our Social Creed guide us:
God in the Spirit revealed in Jesus Christ, calls us by grace to be renewed in the image of our Creator, that we may be one in divine love for the world.
Today is the day God deplores violence in our homes and streets, rebukes the world’s warring madness, humbles the powerful and lifts up the lowly. And so shall we.
Today is the day God calls for nations and people to live in peace, celebrates where justice and mercy embrace, exults when the wolf grazes with the lamb. And so shall we.
Today is the day God brings good news to the poor, proclaims release to the captives, gives sight to the blind, and sets the oppressed free. And so shall we.
Robert Hoshibata is Bishop of the Phoenix Area of The United Methodist Church and presides over the Desert Southwest Annual Conference. Hoshibata presided over the Oregon-Idaho Conference from 2004-2012 and his blog postings are here for reference.