Sunday, May 27, 2012

Let Justice and Peace Rain in Honduras on Pentecost...and Everyday Thereafter..

In 2010, the Imago Dei Youth Ministry began to discern a call to partner with the youth and churches in Honduras. In 2011, we met these very youth and faith communities. They have become dear friends, beloved family members in the faith. Even more, the country of Honduras has forever gripped my heart and mind, aware that life in this Central American nation is both similar and very different than life lived in the suburbs of Philly.

Here is an excerpt from a recent letter I received form Association for a More Just Society:

"If you've been reading the news from Honduras lately, you've probably seen headlines like, 'Murder capital of the world' (Washington Post), 'Western hemisphere's new drug-trafficking hub' (Associated Press), 'Police accused of corruption' (NPR), etc.

"While the situation in Honduras today is challenging (The UN confirms that Honduras does have the highest murder rate in the world; there are serious problems with corrupt police working for organized crime rings and drug traffickers)- we're still hopeful. We celebrated Easter last month, and as we continue to reflect on Christ's resurrection, and it's fitting to remind ourselves that peace and justice can also be resurrected, even in Honduras, if we have the faith and courage to follow Him."

Today the church celebrates Pentecost, when God's Spirit filled God's people gathered and scattered around the known world. Tomorrow our nation observes Memorial Day, when we remember those who have died in service to this country.

Yet, Memorial Day is also cause to remember all victims of war and oppression. So today we join hands with our brothers and sisters in Honduras as they take part in the International Day of Prayer for Peace and Justice. Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Imago Dei Youth Ministry have developed significant partnerships with the people and churches throughout this beloved country that continues to be torn by violence and political corruption. As noted, while good work is being done to advocate on behalf of and pursue peace alongside those who call Honduras their home, much work is still to be done.

As we remember on Pentecost that the church is both particular and universal, here is a prayer written by those in Honduras that I invite you to pray alongside our brothers and sisters located there. Maybe pray one similar for other nations and people who live in the midst of significant violence and corruption:

"Father in heaven, today we bring before you the people of Honduras. They are facing increasing crime and the highest murder rate of any country in the world. Please restore peace and justice to this country. In the face of these challenges we thank you that there are also brave Hondurans seeking change. We ask that you would bless efforts to reform and improve Honduras’ police force, prosecutors, and courts. Bless and encourage those law-enforcement officials who are seeking to do their jobs well. We ask that you would change the hearts of those officials who are corrupt and abet violence rather than working for peace. We ask that you would bless the Public Security Reform Commission recently formed by the Government of Honduras, so that they might contribute to restoring peace and justice to the country. We ask that you would give strength and courage to the members of the Alliance for Peace and Justice, which is bringing together many different groups in Honduras, both religious and secular, who dream of a better future for their country. Thank you for the many, many churches and faith-based organizations that are working tirelessly to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the shut-in, and be your hands to help those in need in Honduras. May you continue to bless their work. In Your Name we pray, Amen.”

We also invite you to lift up PCUSA Mission Co-Workers and their families located in Tegucigalpa, Honduras: Mark and Ashley Wright and Tim and Gloria Wheeler. Also pray for the Presbyterian Church of Honduras, the Manos Amigos Medical clinic, an extension of Serving at the Crossroads, located in La , and all churches, ministries, justice organizations, and those who long to see Honduras become a nation where justice and peace rain throughout the land.

Note: Photo above was taken with one of the students in Imago Dei Youth Ministry as we were invited by AJS to take photos with umbrellas as we pray, in solidarity with the people of Honduras, for justice and peace "to rain."