June 22, 2012
Prayers for Nicaragua: Mark 5:21-43
Most Holy God, we thank you for your healing touch in so many lives, for those you raise up, and those who reach out to touch you. There are so many in this world, both near and far, who need to be made whole. There are places where it is hard to see life, people who have been suffering too long.
Most Beloved God, we lift up to you the people of the Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua, we thank you for their faithful service to you, their work serving the least and reaching the lost. We thank you for the ways that your liberating Spirit moves through them to empower so many to reach out for their healing, to rise up and live abundantly.
We pray for the church as they receive visiting Disciples and UCC groups this summer. We ask the eyes and ears of delegations be opened, that they might learn and grow, and know the healing and empowering touch of your Spirit. Help them, and us, to work to restore wholeness. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Nicaragua:
This year La Misión Cristiana is blessed to host more than eight groups from Disciples and UCC churches. Building relationships with other churches has been a part of La Misión’s DNA since its founding and they are excited to show Nicaraguan hospitality to so many North American sisters and brothers this year. For us, some of the best moments of these visits come in the gaps between the events on the official schedule. Jokes, laughter, stories about family, questions about food or songs, the accumulation of small bits of shared time, over the course of a week sometimes grows into friendship.
Shared worship services are also powerful moments. In one worship service last year, a rousing praise song was given an unexpected jolt by the sudden disappearance of light and the electric sound system. (Power outages are not uncommon here.) But like an a capella closing to a rock song, the congregation didn’t miss a beat and kept singing in the dark amidst a forest of cell phones and quickly-lit candles.
More recently, the pastor of one of the visiting groups was asked to preach at a local church, with Laura Jean translating the sermon into Spanish. Now you might think that such a set-up is a recipe for miscommunication or puzzlement, but the sermon touched a universal nerve, preaching how God calls us to do the uncomfortable and the difficult even when we think we are not up to the task. God asks us to go out into the “deep water.” As it happened, the denominational president, Rolando Boniche, was in attendance for that service and he later told the group that the message of the sermon reached him just at the moment when he needed the uplift.
There are so many ways we might fail to connect with our fellow humans. Language barriers confound us, national borders separate us, and the hassles of everyday life distract us. Speaking as parents of small children, we know how easy it can be to not to look beyond the crisis of the moment. It is good to remember in the midst of all that, that connection is indeed possible and there are churches everywhere willing to head out into that deep water and find what God has in store for us there.