Image: Ukrainian and Sudanese flags, Shutterstock.
Today is our last Pause & Pray of the Spring Semester. Today’s reflection is written/curated by DMin student Alexis Carter Thomas.
Humanitarian God, hear the cries and prayers of your people.
Give us eyes to see and hearts to feel the humanity and pains of our neighbors.
Meet all who are in the valleys of the shadows of death.
Give comfort and faith to those who feel abandoned and overcome by their enemies.
For those who are terrorized, trapped, and traumatized,
Send forth your protection,
and pour out your goodness and mercy upon them in abundance.
Hear our prayer, O’ LORD.
Do you remember this time last year where there was an abundance of blue and yellow flags on socials, in yards, and in news reports?
Last week, I researched the Sudanese flag because I was uncertain what it looked like. I had not seen it flown nor had I heard altar prayers offered on behalf of the people.
In a land whose stories are marked by scarcity with fears of affirmative action and critical race theory, it may come as no surprise that a country of over forty-five million people in northeastern Africa does not make it into our Sunday school or K-12 classrooms. I could attempt to assess why, but perhaps one reason is because of crisis fatigue–there are always wars in distant places, people to intercede for, and nations that need aid. It is feasible that the general population worries more about the global harm of Russia than about the internal violence of a nation that is nine times smaller. We cannot rightly deal with our nation’s guns then how we are going to police another’s cease-fire. This is not a meditation that calls for answers, but awareness.
How might we live with hope and abundance in the midst of death-dealing realities all around us –
Can we intercede for that beyond which the news focuses–for nations, peoples, and circumstances that have not made the headlines?
Do we know that there is enough space for us to learn about and pray for Kyiv and Khartoum?
We can listen and learn about the country where 80% of its population identify as Christian, as well as the one where over 80% identify as Muslim.
How might we be a part of churches/organizations that share prayers and resources with our neighbors near and far?
Perhaps what we need to acknowledge is that our humanity is what we have in common. We may not be able to share our cultural background, religion, nor all of our possessions with those who live in places far from our communities. Yet, we must share in prayers for: peace, relief from suffering, food on tables, and better lives for our children and future generations.
May we pledge allegiance, not to national agendas, but to the way of a kindom that has a common table with enough room for all.