Watching the horrifying images of Syrian refugees pouring into Europe is heartbreaking and reminds one that the world is not yet what it was meant to be. Especially gut-wrenching was the lifeless body of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach.
In such a seemingly hopeless situation, how do we Christians respond? Two things come to mind. First we support organizations that do international relief, such as Presbyterian Disaster Relief and the International Rescue Committee. Second, we pour out our prayers to God. As Isaiah prayed during the Babylonian Captivity, so too can we earnestly pray today during this "Syrian Captivity":
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
(O God), so that the mountains would quake at your presence. -Isaiah 64:1
Indeed may God come down and may God use us as instruments of God's peace.
And now instead of closing with prayer, today I leave you with a Franciscan blessing that I recently came upon that seems particularly relevant in light of recent crises around the world.
Prayer for Today
A FRANCISCAN BLESSING
May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths,
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy
And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.
And the blessing of God - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you forever.