Prayer Requests

As Christians we stand in  all people and especially those who stand on the edges of society. We post prayers and in support of other students, SCMs and Christians around the world.

  1. Pray for those affected by the Ebola Virus.

    As the Ebola outbreak crises continues pray with us for those affected.

     

    Great father in heaven, thank you for doctors and nurses 

    Great father in heaven, thank you for aid workers and policy makers

    Tend thy sick ones, O lord Christ

    rest thy weary ones.

    bless the dying. 

    soothe thy suffering ones. 

    pity thine afflicted ones. 

    shield the joyous ones. 

    and all for thy loves sakes.

    Amen 

     

     

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  2. Pray for Hong Kong

    Pray For Hong Kong with us amidst their  pro-democracy demonstrations.

     

    Space counts for nothing, lord with thee 

    they love enfolds each family 

    across the ocean, far away 

    and here at here where now we pray  

    and praise thee for thy care this day 

     

    Please guide the leaders of many different countries 

    at the meeting where they try, by working together, to

    make the world a better and a safer place. Help them

    to want peace and show them how 

    they can share  the world.

     

    dear father of the world family,

    please take care of  the people of Hong Kong 

    keep them safe from danger,

    and help them find peace. 

     

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  3. Prayer for International Youth Day!

     

    International Youth Day

     

    Today is International Youth Day! International Youth day is a campaign by the United Nations to help support youth around the world. This year the campaign focuses on supporting youth will mental health issues. Pray with us for people with mental health problems and for the youth around the world!

    A Prayer for people suffering with mental health issues:

    Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort, You are the One I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. 

    Dear Lord, I ask you to strengthen those who suffer with mental health issues and  for them to have the power to:

    Ask for help 

    To recognize their victories 

    And to love themselves 

    Dear Lord, I ask you to give us all the tools  to support those suffering with mental health problems equip us with

    Empathy to understand their problems 

    love  for them always 

    and  the strength to keep on supporting them. 

    All of this I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

    Amen 

    A Prayer for youth:

    O God, we pray and for you

    to guide and protect young people

    from the dangers that are ever present in our world today.

    Be with them, as they experience both sickness and health,

    sorrow and joy,

    loneliness and friendship,

    success and failure.

    Gracious God,

    give to them the courage and strength

    to make the right decisions

    as they journey through life.

    Through the power of the Holy Spirit,

    may they experience your loving care.

    We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord.

    Amen.

     

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  4. WSCF statement on worsening situation in Gaza

    We refuse to abandon our humanity.
    We will never become blind, deaf, dumb, and unthinking.

    Gaza and the curious Israeli “equality”

    What to condemn? What to understand? What to promote? … What is the reality in Palestine?

    The World Student Christian recently held an inter-regional programme on Overcoming Violence in the Middle East and visited Palestine to “come and see” more about the realities there. Hosted by our student Christian movement in Palestine, the Palestinian Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM), our students shared their vision for peace, and for justice, and their commitment to work with Muslim, and Jewish, sisters and brothers in the region and all people committed to just peace around the world for the full humanity of the Palestinian, and Israeli, people.

    As the violence in Gaza increases we cannot stay silent but must join the World Council of Churches and many others in condemning the extreme violence by the Israeli government and express our concern for the lives, dignity, and humanity of the Palestinian, and Israeli, people. We will bring the situation of Palestine to our upcoming General Assembly for a more specific policy definition.

    Background

    Three young Israelis were kidnapped and killed in Halhoul, West Bank, between the 12th and 30th of June 2014.

    Tuesday 1st of July, a Palestinian youth was kidnapped, tortured, doused with gasoline, forced to drink gasoline, lit on fire, and therefore burned alive from the inside and outside by Israelis as an act of revenge for the deaths of the Israeli youths, which has been confirmed by Israeli police.

    These terrible events are a police affair for both Palestinians and Israelis.

    Some days later, a group declaring to be a part of ISIS (newly self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in Palestine declared themselves responsible for the murders.

    The Israeli government has subsequently declared that the responsible party was a Hamas group, without sharing proof, and declared that they were going to punish all those responsible.

    Our Questions

    There are many questions in our minds around this affair.

    How can it be possible to know that Hamas is responsible if the full investigation has not been performed or completed? Is the Israeli government taking political decisions in place of a more mature police investigation of the murders?

    If Hamas were responsible, why would they not declare publically that they were responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the three young Israelis as they have with past actions by militants of Hamas?

    A month ago the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement with Hamas unifying the Palestinian nation. The only government publically against it was the Israeli government; they responded in May by withholding tax money due to the Palestinian Authority and they once again stopped their participation in the peace process re-launched with the mediation of the United States. Do these actions reflect a desire for peace or for further occupation of Palestine?

    In a normal situation between two countries the two police services should cooperate to find the murderers, but in a situation with an occupying power and occupied people, is collaboration even possible?

    How to explain that the surgical bombardments (drones, missiles, aerial forces) have killed at least 233 people and wounded more than 1530 Palestinians? How can the destruction of so many people, as well as their houses and land, be justified? Are there as many people guilty of the murders?

    Why, when Israeli forces attack Palestinians, is the civil Palestinian infrastructure one of their principle targets?

    Who wants to destroy the hope and dignity of this population? How can we talk about proportionality between the extreme force applied by the Israeli government and the answer by Hamas? Can we understand the extreme situation to be pushing the Palestinians to extreme, desperate reactions?

    Why does the Israeli government not respect United Nations resolutions and international law? If these are not used as a basis for a peace settlement, where is the basis to be found? Are we relegated to accept the “law of the strongest”?

    Why does the world sit by helplessly in the face of such violence, loss of life, and assault to the agreed-upon principles of law, justice, and civilization?

    On the 17th of July 2014 young children were playing football on the beach and were killed by Israeli missiles, the first while Israeli war ships were passing by and the other 3 after they began running away, all in view of British journalists. At least 5 others were wounded. We ask again, are these young children playing on a beach guilty of the Israeli murders? What is the true purpose of the continuing Israeli offensive?

    Is all this not one more signal of a genocide?

    Our Call and Our Commitment

    The students in our student Christian movement in Palestine and the World Student Christian Federation call for a cessation of violence by the Israeli government and commit to join all peace-loving people seeking true peace with justice in the region.

    We encourage those caught in the midst of these two warring parties to reject the continual cycle of retribution and retaliation that continues to fuel violence in the region, the principle victims of which are civilians and many of whom are children.

    History teaches us that violence only leads to death and destruction. Retaliation always bears bitter fruit, and pushes the hope for peace further away from fruition. We urge all parties to cease this cycle of violence and sit down together in the cause of peace, not revenge.

    The cycle of violence and injustice must be stopped to open new possibilities for peace and prosperity for both Palestinians and Israelis.

    Our Prayer

    …written on a piece of wrapping paper near the body of a dead child in Ravensbruck where 92,000 women and children died, 1945:

    O Lord,
    remember not only the men and women of goodwill,
    but also those of ill will.
    But do not only remember the suffering they have
    inflicted on us,
    remember the fruits we bought thanks to this suffering,
    our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility,
    the courage, the generosity,
    the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this.
    And when they come to judgment
    let all the fruits that we have borne
    be their forgiveness. AMEN AMEN AMEN

     

     

    Christine Housel, general secretary
    Horacio Mesones, chairperson
    18 July 2014

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  5. Prayer for Syria, Palestine & Iraq

    The regional committee of the WSCF-ME was held in Cairo-Egypt on Friday 11th of July 2014. Participants from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and Palestine were present to pray for peace in the region and to those who couldn’t join us in our Godlike reunion, our brothers and sisters from Iraq and Syria.

    Prayer:

    To you Almighty God we pray
    For you have suffered on the cross and knew what it’s like to suffer
    Comfort the mothers of the martyrs in our countries and especially Syria, Iraq and Palestine
    Comfort those who are enduring injustice upon claiming their rights in having a decent life

    To you Almighty God we pray
    To soothe the pain of our brothers and sisters, men and women, elders and kids who suffer on a daily basis
    To give strength to the kidnapped ones, those who will no longer feel the warmth of their homes
    To help those who bear the scars of painful memories in both their souls and bodies

    Almighty God
    Come rest among us and between us, in the hope that the homeless will find their way back
    Guide us and lead us on this rough road, for we willingly had left everything behind to face our tomorrow
    We pray for you with all the faith we’ve got, hoping that you build in each heart an immortal altar instead of all the destroyed churches

    King of peace
    Let your peace reign on our region so we live as one in harmony, peace and love, as you are one with your Father and Holy Spirit

    Amen

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  6. Reflections on the Mission Thanksgiving Day

    Reflections on the story of the First Protestant Missionary to India: On 9th July – Mission Thanksgiving Day

    The just finished World Council of Churches’ Central Committee has envisioned embarking on a ‘pilgrimage for justice & peace’ for their directions for way forward in addressing the signs of our times with more creativity and relevance. At a time when the global Christian world in general and the global Lutheran Communion in particular is gearing up to celebrate the quincentenary (500 years) of the Luther’s Reformation, the ‘pilgrimage of reformation’ in a grand and big way across the world, it comes at a right moment, direction and sets the perspective to celebrate the memory, life, witness and contributions of Bartholomuas Zigenbalg, a young Lutheran pastor who toiled to make the gospel of Jesus Christ relevant to the context of his times, who paved the way for the ‘pilgrimage’ to carry on undeterred.

    In our times, when theological articulations and missiological enterprises are more explored in new vistas, in creative panoramas and in modern and post modern methodologies, it is not an over statement to express that our memory towards the contributions of significant people in the history has been slowly fading away. Our generations today subscribe to the saying ‘live the today, forget the past and forego the future.’ Personalities who have toiled for the mission of God in the past are either neglected or even forgotten from our memories.

    9th July has been a significant day in the pages of the Indian mission history. Some Churches in India earmarked this day to ordain their pastors and some Churches celebrate as ‘Mission Thanksgiving Day’ on this day. But I am afraid, whether the same is celebrated today in all enthuse and commitment as it was thought of. In our seminary days, I remember on this day, we were sent to different denominational Churches to speak about the ‘mission day’, explaining the significance of the day. You may ask, what is so special of 9th July? I believe the whole Protestant Christians in India cannot forget this day, for it was on this day the first Protestant missionary to India, Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg arrived at Tarangambadi, now know as Tranquebar in South India in 1706.

    It was the day of the arrival of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to India through the Protestant missionaries and ever since then, the seed of Christianity, which like mustard seed grew into a huge tree, giving shade and solace to several people across the country. Thanks to all the contributions of Ziegenbalg, for his untiring and sacrificial missional engagements he had made, despite several hardships and hurdles. Ziegenbalg celebrated his 24th birthday on the very next day of his arrival in India, and I imagine probably he had to thank God for his life in a foreign land with out any friends as a stranger. However, in a span of 13 years he had had made an indelible impact in the lives of the people in India and breathed his last in 1719, at the age of 34 years. We need to thank God for the life and witness of Ziegenbalg and we all need to rededicate ourselves to participate in the widening and deepening of the reign of God here on our earth and in our times.

    My only prayer is that our Christian nurtures need to include the mission contributions of Ziegenbalg in our curricula, for our children can get inspired and challenged by his efforts for the mission of God. Ziegenbalg continues to be a young icon in the world of mission, and let us all join in thanksgiving to carry forward the rich legacy of his service to the next generations, ‘celebrating Zigenbalg in the pilgrimage of justice & peace.’

    Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg, the first Protestant missionary to India, despite all his sufferings and ill health, worked day in and day out, in season and off-season for the mission of God in India. It was on the 9th July 1706, Ziegenbalg first landed on the coasts of Tranquebar of Tamil Nadu, and contributed creatively in teaching the Christian faith and gospel to the people of India. 9th July all across our Lutheran Churches in India is celebrated as ‘Mission Thanksgiving Day’, thanking God for the life, witness, and mission of all those faithful men and women of God who were committed to the calling of extending God’s reign here on earth and renewing the mission for our times today.

    Born on 10th July 1682, Ziegenbalg as a Danish Missionary to India, lived a very short life of 35 years, 7 months and 18 days, but has made an indelible impression and influence on the Church in India in general and on the Protestant Church in India in particular. His untiring efforts for the extension of God’s reign in India prompted the genesis of the first protestant mission in India, which has now grown to a 300 plus years of history with above 30 million Indian Christians. Ziegenbalg permeates the Christian ethos of India in a way that nothing else does. His passion and zeal for mission can be captured in his own understanding of mission as a ‘service to the soul’ as well as a ‘service to the body’.[1]

    On this great historic mission day as we thank God for Ziegenbalg’s arrival to India we need to renew our missiological tasks for our times today. Though our context today is highly volatile, with every new day new issues of prominence prop up, I think we can still take lessons from Ziegenbalg. There are several voluminous contributions of Ziegenbalg, which have had its impact on the life of the Church today, but I would like to bring out three main areas of relevance from the life; witness and mission of Ziegenbalg to the present day Indian Church. These areas epitomize the heart and spirit of Ziegenbalg that continually challenge the Church today.

    1 Word Becoming Flesh: Towards an Incarnational Mission

    Ziegenbalg has preached on several themes from the Scriptures, and has related the Word to the context of his world. Besides preaching, he was the pioneer who translated the Scriptures to Tamil and Telugu. By translating the Bible to the indigenous languages, he has made ‘the Word became flesh’ more relevant and meaningful. Like Martin Luther, he has translated the Bible into the people’s language. It was only about 100 years after his translations of Bible to Indian languages; William Carey translated the Bible to many other Indian languages.

    The contextual re-readings of the Scriptures perhaps can be the extension of the translations of the Scriptures to the local languages. The local hermeneutics have been a welcome move in this regard. Imagine the local Tamils, if at all were forced to learn and to read German in order to know the activity of God in the history that was recorded in the Bible, the historical activity of God would not have made any sense to them. Thanks to Ziegenbalg for his efforts in bringing the Word as flesh. Therefore Ziegenbalg’s translation of Scriptures challenges us today, to relate the Word to the local world and to work to bring out the relevance of the Word into our lives. Translations and interpretations of the Scriptures for our times become immanent. Today most people quote Scriptures in countering the life and life-giving activities. Probably I think, Ziegenbalg, as a true disciple of Jesus Christ challenges us to reinterpret our Scriptures in addressing our issues today, and would call on us to allow the fresh revelations of God to happen today

    Wider Ecumenism: Towards an Inclusive Mission

    Ziegenbalg always maintained healthy relationships with all people of faith. In spite of several differences with the Roman Catholics, he appreciated their commitment for the gospel and has adapted several words and phrases developed by Jesuit missionaries by reading their books and manuscripts. Ziegenbalg was also a pioneer in initiating the inter-faith dialogues with other people of faith. He had several discussions with Muslims and Hindus on several theological themes, and worked out the similarities and dissimilarities in their faith convictions and practices. He encouraged inter-cultural learning in their mother tongues. He always maintained high respect for the dialoguing partners and treated them on equal grounds. However, his conviction and faith in Jesus Christ made him to be wide open for new learning and friendship. He also worked for the liberation of the oppressed people who were exploited by the caste system from ages.

    In the present context of violence in the name of religion, hatred and mistrust among religions, rise of religious fundamentalism, etc. Ziegenbalg’s relationship with all people of faith is challengingly relevant for our times. A point to note is that, to be an ecumenist one need not dilute or compromise ones convictions. That is what Ziegenbalg reminds us, his firm roots in the faith of Jesus Christ, his grounding in the Lutheran pietism made him to strive for healthy relations with other people of faith. Ecumenism means diluting ones convictions is a misconception that needs to be wiped off. Are our relationships with other denominations and with other people of faith healthy? The local congregations need to make this wider ecumenism (transcending all the boundaries of denominations, religions, regions, classes, caste, genders/sexualities etc.) as its agenda, and strive for the transformation of our creation and make our earth a better place to live in peace, happiness, justice and liberation.

    Vibrant Missiology: Towards an Inspiring Mission

    Ziegenbalg’s self-understanding of mission reveals his commitment for the mission of God. For him, Jesus Christ remains the source of mission, Christ always accompanies the missionaries, and missionaries are to engage in four-fold mission i.e. to go out, to teach, to baptize and to make the believers to enjoy the fruits of conversion. Conversion was not satisfactory for him, so he was engaged in translating his faith into actions. He made the gospel to reach to the people in deeds rather in mere words. Besides all his preaching, translations of Scriptures etc. he had established several mission schools, theological seminary, paper mill, and printing press etc. to make the gospel come alive to the people and for a dynamic witness of the gospel. He aimed that education should be given to all classes of people including the girl children and the children from the lower strata of the society.

    What is mission today? This has been an old question put in new contexts and is asked from time to time. This questions reveals that since the context of every kairos is dynamic, so also is mission. Mission can never be static, and if it is so, it ceases to be mission. Mission is always vibrant and relevant. Ziegenbalg analyzed his context, and translated his faith to actions accordingly. In our present day context of globalization, oppressions in the name of class, caste and gender, discussions of different sexual orientations, ecological disasters, HIV and AIDS, religious fundamentalism, war and terrorism etc. how can we translate our faith to actions. Being Christo-centric was the key for Ziegenbalg in his mission for God, so also should be for the local congregations today. Sharing and not accumulating, overcoming consumerism, liberation, inclusion of all excluded groups, stewarding the creation, caring the positives, establishing peace, inter-faith relations etc. should all be on our congregations mission agenda. Ziegenbalg discerned the signs of his times and acted accordingly, so also should be the church today. Let our churches become sensitive, vibrant and dynamic in the mission of God.

    On this mission thanksgiving day, let us all rededicate our call and commitment and strive for justice and transformation of our society. Thanks to the Ter-centenary celebrations of this historic day in 2006, which were celebrated in India that has further stimulated and inspired many young people. Our respects and tributes to Ziegenbalg would be honest only when we can live out our faith and when we become witness to the gospel values. Mere celebrations and commemorations will not be sufficient for this day, but a true renewal and revival of our commitment would strengthen the cause. May God grant us all God’s strength to become the proud heirs of Ziegenbalg in carrying along his legacy of vibrant mission to our generations. As we march into 2017 to celebrate globally the 500 years of Reformation, celebrating the lives and contributions of people like Zigenbalg is a fitting tribute and inspiration in moving forward to that great celebrations. Long Live Zeigenbalg!

    Raj Bharath Patta,

    SCMI, Bangalore

    9th July 2014 

     

    [1] Daniel Jeyaraj, Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg: the Father of Modern Protestant Mission An Indian Assessment (New Delhi: ISPCK,2006), p.133. 

     

    Commemorating the contributions to the church & society, the india Posts have issued a postal stamp in honour of Zigenbalg in 2006

    Commemorating the contributions to the church & society, the india Posts have issued a postal stamp in honour of Zigenbalg in 2006

     

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  7. Reflection on the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

     

    FIGHTING IMPUNITY: THE SAGA OF A VICTIM OF TORTURE

    Ground Zero

    “Fighting Impunity” has been the theme for the 2014 campaign in support of victims of torture, and this aptly suits our contexts as most heinous crimes committed in our land, be it in the name of caste, name of religion, name of gender, name of class, name of region etc. they are all committed with utmost impunity. The oppressive forces, the perpetrators of violence take for granted the fragile situations of our times and continue to violate the rights of the people and are at the end left scot free, for they have the shield of impunity around them. Impunity is the affirmation of the status quo, the principalities and powers of the unjust systems, the failure of the state to investigate the violations and to bring to justice those perpetrators of crimes. The infamous Tsundur case in Andhra, where some 20 Dalits are brutally massacred, after about two decades of investigation, the accused are left scot free on the pretext of insufficient evidence. The violence against Dalit Christians in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008, justice has been far from being exercised and the perpetrators are left scot free. There are scores of such stories, where the victims of violence continue to be the victims of torture and on the other hand the perpetrators enjoy impunity and continue their oppression. Recent Badaun case of raping & killings of Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh to the global context of oppression in the name of occupation to the Palestinians, the saga of the victims of torture resonates the same cry for justice. The saga of the victims of torture knew no bounds, and their plights are not being heard and justice is a far reached dream to such people.

    The Saga

    The first Chapter in the book of Esther in the Bible has a record of an interesting story of a woman who became a victim of torture at the hands of her husband who was sufficiently guarded by his royal impunity, and ultimately faded away from the records of the Scripture, risking gospel for the sake of gospel. Her saga is a testimony and a challenge for all of us to commit ourselves to be in solidarity with the victims and in pooling support for all the victims of torture today. She is none other but the bold & the beautiful royal queen Vashti.

    Her Excellency Queen Vashti, was the royal queen to King Ahasuerus who ruled from India to Ethiopia with over one hundred and twenty seven provinces in his kingdom. The King threw a party to his leaders from all his provinces in order to show his riches of his royal glory and splendour & pomp of his majesty. Subsequently the Queen also has given a banquet to the women in the palace. When the party was at its peak and when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he ordered to bring Queen Vashti before the King dressed in her royal crown in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty. Queen Vashti, refused to come at the King’s command and consequently became a victim of King’s anger that even lead to her being dethroned as the Queen.

    Queen Vashti, the Victim of Indignity

    When the King ordered her to do a catwalk on his royal ramp, Queen Vashti denied the King’s order for she strongly believed in her self-respect and self-dignity. For the Queen her values were more prominent in life and no force or person can neither influence her values nor compel her to compromise her values. The Queen knew that refusal and disobedience to King’s order would cost her a lot, however being conscious of the consequences she was bold enough to stand for her dignity. By refusing to display her beauty, Queen Vashti displayed her inner beauty of self-dignity. Her self-dignity priced her to be dethroned, for she became a victim to the forces of indignity and indecency.

    Queen Vashti, the Victim of Patriarchy

    For the King Ahasuerus, her queen the woman was yet another material thing like that of his riches and wealth. As he showed off his riches of his kingdom to his guests, he thought he could have easily show off the external and physical beauty of his wife Queen Vashti and make his guests happy and joyful. The King did not also realise that beauty and human sexuality are the gifts of God that needs to be respected in all solemnity and sacredness. The forces of patriarchy governed him and therefore he could not have respected his wife as his equal partner in life. On listening to the other men folk, he was forced to pass a decree that any woman who does not obey the commands of their husbands will have to face similar consequences like the Queen. Queen Vashti, became of victim of patriarchy.

    Queen Vashti, the Victim of Torture

    Imagine the plight of Queen Vashti, who had to be thrown away from her palace to the streets of her kingdom, just for the sake of sticking to her values of self-dignity and self-esteem. She was sent away from her husband’s house on to the streets and men of her country would have laughed at her and would have mocked at her insulted her and even teased her like, “Vashti, who wanted to be the Mother of Self-Dignity, who wanted to be the forerunner for women’s rights is now on the streets without any shelter”. She became a divorcee, a single woman and her pains knew no bounds. Patriarchical forces try to take advantage of single woman that too of the one who was a queen, and Queen Vashti would have underwent a trauma and torture, which was unbearable and unexplainable. Added to her pain, when the King called for fresh applications to the post of his wife and the news whoever pleases the King would be made the Queen instead of Queen Vashti, would have added fuel to the fire to the torture she was undergoing then. There would have been a great mental agony and emotional torture for Queen Vashti. In all silence and in all loneliness she bore the torture in her life, just for the sake of values and principles in life. There would not been any space for her to share or ventilate her feelings, all her feelings could have been blocked up and piled up within her. If I may be allowed to stretch my imagination, I would probably think Queen Vashti would have died a death out of torture from all quarters of her life and therefore that would have been one for the reasons for not finding her name or a mention of her again in the Scriptures. From royality to indignity, the saga of torture of Queen Vashti goes on and even continues in many lives of the women today.

    Challenge

    When today, June 26th when we remember this day as the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Queen Vashti’s saga of torture comes afresh to all of us. Even today many Dalits are beaten up, ostracised, humiliated and even killed. Dalit women’s plights are way above words, every day several Dalit women are raped, abused and are murdered. Dalit Children have been one of the worst victims of Child Labour, most of them are undernourished and have been used and abused in life. Dalits continue to be the victims of torture today. Violence on Dalits has been a common phenomenon and the discrimination on Dalits over the years has become so subtle and aggressive. Dalit Christians are in the arena of torture for neither the legislature nor the judiciary have been listening to their pains and doing justice to them. Sixty plus years of waiting for justice, imagine their trauma of victim-hood. Torture has become the common denominator with which all Dalits in India are living today. Palestinian friends continue to face torture and illegal detention by the occupiers and face hardships in their life for over the several years, with justice & liberation to them a distant reality.

    When today is the day called to be in support to the victims of torture, and in the light of the Queen Vashti’s saga of torture, who really did come in support of Queen Vashti, the victim of torture? The Scripture is absolutely silent on it, and no wonder to say none would have dared to come in support of the dethroned Queen. As a victim of torture, Queen Vashti had to stand all alone and in all loneliness. Who dared to come in support of her? …None of her relatives would have come in support of her fearing the King’s decree, none of her friends came in support of her, none of her prayer partners came in support of her, none of her community members came in support her, none of her temple partners came in support of her, none of the royal wives of the princes in their provinces came in support of her, none of the kingdom authorities like the women welfare ministries came in support of her, none of her co-women in her provinces came in support of her (how sad the kingdom spread from India to Euthopia, and there was none to be with her and stand for her), no one came in support of her, for every one feared the wrath of the king. Queen Vashti had to live support-less and had to live in all torture all through her life, what a torture it would have been. Unbearable and unthinkable! On the other hand, the king enjoyed impunity, for no one dared to speak against the king. Queen Vashti fought impunity in her silence and risked to be forgotten from the scriptural tradition, for she was a fighter standing for her own convictions of self dignity.

    There are many Vashti’s today in our societies who are living in a torturous life. Queen Vashti eventually vanished from the story of the Scriptures, but I think her life, her witness and her spirit continues to call on all of us today to be in support of all those victims of torture, like those people who are kept in illegal detention, people who are tortured in the name of caste, abused physically and verbally, beaten, intimidated, threatened, false cases imposed, money extorted, etc. Let us express our solidarity with these victims and resolve today to address these strategies of victim-hood with a commitment to justice. Queen Vashti calls for a response of prevention, reduction and elimination of all forms of torture today, fight impunity at all costs for no one is above justice and strive for a just and transformed society. Come, let us stand in solidarity and support the victims of torture from this day on, let us enlarge our tents in bringing in support to these our fellow brothers and sisters who are living in abject torture and trauma.

     

    Raj Bharath Patta

    General Secretary of SCM India

     

     

     

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  8. Creative Worship

    Dear God, who created the heavens and the earth.

    You created humanity in your own likeness. Let us not forgot that each person reflects the divine image, and we thank you that you teach us to recognize this. We thank you for our own safety,and for those who have so far been saved from the evil of human trafficking. We thank you for the strength you have given to people who are fighting against this corruption of your image.

    As you led y our children out of Egypt, w e ask you to lead victims of all kinds of slavery and exploitation to freedom, both spiritual and material.

    We ask that you give peace to the souls of the victims, that they can escape the circle of violence and we ask for justice in your infinite wisdom. We ask for the exploiters to recognize their sins,and to change their ways through your grace.

    We pray for the awareness of society at large and ourselves, and that we can recognize the roots of injustice in our own actions and inactions, as Moses did when he saw when his Israelite brother was being beat en by an Egyptian slave master.

    We have been t aught in the Epistle t o t he Galatians that there is no more slave nor free, and yet through our own ignorance and cold-heartedness we have failed to recognize the exploited as our brothers and sisters, as Jesus showed us. For this we pray for forgiveness.

    Together we pray, that you send the mercy of your spirit onto the whole of humanity, we who are your children.

    Amen.

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    Posted by: wscfe-editor on June 23rd, 2014 10:15 am / Continue Reading »

  9. In solidarity with the Jewish community in Europe

    Dear members and friends of Religions for Peace, European Interfaith Youth Network (RfP, EIYN).

    In the light of the tragedy at Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, where 4 people were killed, we call our EIYN member organizations to show your solidarity with Jewish community in different parts of Europe and join us in prayers for those who lost their lives, for the recovery of those injured and prayers for restoring sense of security and peace for all faith communities in Europe. This attack on Jewish community of Brussels touched all of us, as this was an aggression on core values of civil society, on human rights, on European unified project, on freedom of religion, on peace. We cannot stay silent when a faith community, a minority community is targeted in this way in contemporary Europe, in capital of European Union and lives are lost.

    What can you do? We inspire you to hold within your respective communities, your temples or student clubs, a special Peace Candle Lighting and Prayer Ceremony . Light the candles for the victims of the shooting and light the candles to lift up the darkness with the light, reciting prayers for peace. Prayers can be denominational (just of your own tradition) or interfaith. You can find examples of such prayers in attachment. Best time for organizing such an evening of peace prayers would beWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday, Sunday this week.

    Other idea:

    To organize a cultural or educational event together with your local Jewish community. It can be any intercultural event when you get together with your local Jewish students group and students of other faiths too (food event, charity event, cultural evening of music, anything). If you don’t have any Jewish community in your city, maybe you have an old synagogue building that you can visit with members of your community, or visit a Jewish museum? If in your town you can witness hate speech on walls of the buildings, maybe you can organize “paint over hate spray paintings” action, like painting over painted swastikas and other hate speech sprayed on the walls.

    If you do any act of solidarity, take a photo of it, and send it to us, let others know about your action.

    Show your solidarity!  Let’s support each other and get together and act together in interfaith way for stopping hate speech, antisemitism and other racist incitement, that is raising its head in Europe and that lead to such hate crimes like we witnessed in Brussel’s Jewish Museum.

     

    Daniela Malec

    Program and Development Consultant

    Religions for Peace, European Interfaith Youth Network (EIYN)

    http://www.rfp.org/

    https://www.facebook.com/rfp.eiyn

    https://twitter.com/rfpeiyn

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    Posted by: wscfe-editor on May 28th, 2014 3:59 pm / Continue Reading »

  10. Let Us Pray With Them Nigeria Churches Urge Global Prayer For 187 Missing Girls

    Nigeria’s largest church network, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for prayer for the safe release of 230 teenage school girls abducted last week.

     

    On Monday night, April 14, at around 10 pm suspected members of Boko Haram swooped into Chibok in seven Hilux Toyota pick-ups. While some of the attackers set government and other buildings ablaze, others went to the senior secondary school where they overpowered the security guards before herding at least 230 of the female students onto trucks, and drove the girls (who were between the ages of 16 and 20) deep into the nearby Sambisa forest.

    Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist militant group that kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.

    “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.

    “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,” he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.

    The tape won’t intimidate or deter Nigeria from efforts to save the kidnapped girls, the Nigerian government said.

    “It is disheartening that someone would make such a terrible boast,” Doyin Okupe, spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, said in an interview with CNN.

    “It is to be expected of terrorists,” he added. “No group can affect our resolve. We will see this through to the end. We have the commitment and capacity to get this done. No matter what this takes, we will get these girls.”

    On Sunday, Jonathan vowed, “Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out.”

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    Posted by: wscfe-editor on May 6th, 2014 10:05 am / Continue Reading »

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