Pray for Peace in Colombia on Sunday, September 30, 2012
Lectionary Selection: Mark 9: 38 -50
Mission Stewardship Moment from Colombia:
Earlier this month, on Tuesday, September 4, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that the Colombian Government and Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or FARC) would begin formal peace talks on October 8th in Oslo, Norway and then continue them in the following months in Havana, Cuba.
Colombians are hopeful that this fourth attempt at ending the 50-year-old armed conflict that has cost so many lives in Colombia may be successful. The last attempted peace process was over ten years ago and ended in failure. Churches across Colombia are praying for peace and ask you to join them.
Colombian churches have consistently been working for peace for many years now. In April, many church leaders gathered for an Ecumenical Summit at the Summit of the People, a parallel gathering to the Summit of the Americas (overshadowed in the US by the Secret-Service sex scandal). The culmination of that meeting was a statement from Colombian religious leaders calling on President Santos to enter into negotiation with the guerrilla groups for peace. The Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia called for a wide church gathering on Wednesday, September 27, to discern how the church can best support this new peace process.
The United States is also involved in this conflict. Our government continues to be the largest source of military aid to Colombia, as well as the source country for most of the weapons used by the illegal armed groups – guerrillas and paramilitaries. And the majority of illegal drugs, that provide funding for all sides, continue to flow north in an attempt to meet the seemingly insatiable demands of US consumers. May we now join in prayer and active support for peace in Colombia.
Prayer for Colombia:
Loving God, we have heard rumors of peace in Colombia. We come before you today confessing the violence in our hearts and in our society. And we come before you today asking for peace here and in Colombia. God, you have called us to be the salt and light of the earth… and yet we are often stumbling-blocks along the way. Renew in us our saltiness and help us to reflect your light. We want to be at peace with one another and with our brothers and sisters in Colombia, just as they wish to be at peace with themselves and with us. Through our shared commitment to Jesus Christ we know that our relationship can be about more than guns and drugs. Help us to be at peace with each other. We pray for our sisters and brothers in Colombia and for religious leaders that are working for peace. We join with them today in prayer. Amen.