First a word,|
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Life - not very relevant to Lebanon or Afghanistan or Kabul or indeed any of the world’s hotspots. I don’t think North Korea’s threat to Nuclear Peace has much to do with bread. I don’t think that deaths in Iraq have much to do with bread, or that the ten thousand children killed every year by landmines owe their condition to a shortage of bread.
Or do I?
Well, actually, yes I do. What’s missing in all of these cases is exactly that - the Bread of Heaven.
We pray for a war-torn world. Every day, opposing enemies both pray for victory. Every day the innocent and the guilty perish alike. Brothers and Sisters in loss, still they bicker and fight for victory.
Forgive us, Lord, when we pray for ourselves instead of others.
Forgive us, Lord, when we pray for our friends, rather than our enemies.
And forgive us, Lord, when we pray for victory, rather than for peace.
Lord, may the bread of heaven, the bread of life, nourish us, and grow us in your love.
We pray for those trapped in someone else’s war - whether it be an Australian trapped in Lebanon, or a child trapped in an adult’s world of destruction and death. We pray that You will comfort them, and reassure them that they are not alone, existing only as a news headline. May the bread of heaven, the bread of life, feed their souls, hungry for peace.
We pray especially for the most innocent casualties of war; for the children; for the children who no longer have parents; for the children who no longer have limbs; for the children who no longer have childhood. We pray that you will be their Father, their Mother. That the Holy Spirit will enable them to move on, to leave their terrible experiences in the past and make new lives for themselves. May the bread of heaven, the bread of life, feed their souls, hungry for peace.
We pray for the makers of war; for those who make the bullets; for those who make the guns; for those who fire the rockets; for those who plan attacks. We pray for every link in the chain that binds us to senseless death and suffering in the violence of war. We pray that their eyes and ears are opened to the sights and sounds of the violent outcomes of their work. We pray that they will indeed hammer their swords into ploughs, to turn their organization, their technology, their money, into building a peace that will save lives instead of destroying them. May the bread of heaven, the bread of life, fill the void of their darkened hearts with the love and joy of Jesus.
We pray for those who use religion as a weapon; for those who kill in Your name; for those who incite hatred while claiming Your love. May You open the eyes of all who would follow them in their evil ways and evil intentions. May we all learn to love you and each other. May we finally all come to understand that we cannot love God yet kill God’s children. Lord, may the bread of heaven, the bread of life, nourish us, and strengthen our resolve to love one another.
We pray for those prepared to die for peace, but not to kill for it; for those prepared to unload the gun rather than fire it. We pray for those who would lose from Peace rather than profit from War; for those who would love, rather than hate. May their spirit of reconciliation and tolerance grow throughout the world. May we all share the bread of heaven, the bread of life, and the love of God.
We pray for ourselves; for our weakness in action; for our acceptance of injustice; for our blindness, and ignorance, and self-serving biases; for our condemnation of governments while we sit back and do nothing; for our silent objection; for our safe judgemental comfort-zone. We pray that we can make a difference, and be willing to try. Lord, may the bread of heaven, the bread of life, strengthen our resolve to live out our life in Christ, to know Christ and to make him known.
If Lara is relatively untouched by violence on the larger scale, then not so on the small. We pray for the family, children and friends, of Linda Baxter, who was murdered last Wednesday night. Though it might be easy to lose the death of a single woman amongst the many other deaths in the world, we know that each and every one of your children is special to you, as they should be with us. Lord, may the bread of heaven, the bread of life, nourish and protect her family as they struggle on with their lives without their loved one.
Our hearts abound with the seeds of war - hatred, prejudice, greed and intolerance. Yet, with the peace of Christ in the heart there is hope for the end of all war. Lord, may the bread of heaven, the bread of life, nourish us, and grow us in your love.
We pray for peace - for peace in the world.
We pray for peace - for peace in our community.
We pray for peace - for peace in our hearts.