Reading and Prayer – October 19

Matthew 10: 16 and 28-31 

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Prayer:

Lord, how Your words ring down through the ages!  Spoken by Jesus to the disciples as he sent them on their first mission, these words still speak so accurately of the reality of “wolves” in the world — our mission-field.  They speak of rejection, persecution and danger, but also of the eternal security of those who go in Your Name.  Not for a moment are they out of Your sight or beyond the reach of Your care.  Lord, You are good!  
Today, I respond to the urgent call for prayer on behalf of the 17 Christian Aid Missionaries, (16 from the U.S., and one Canadian, including 5 children), who were kidnapped on Saturday in Haiti by the 400 Mawozo gang.  Their plea reached the world from one of their cellphones as the kidnapping was underway: “Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage.  They kidnapped our driver.  Pray, pray, pray.  We don’t know where they are taking us.”  …And so I pray.  I pray to You, for their safe release, as was (thank you, Lord!) the case in April for the 5 French priests and 2 nuns, kidnapped by the same group.  I pray that they will not be ill treated while being held for ransom, and that they may have a special sense of that security in You from the Holy Spirit, even as their physical lives are held in the mouth of wolves — hardened men with no mercy.  I pray for their families and church communities in such distress at the present time, and for negotiators who will work for their release.  For those hardened men, the kidnappers, I also pray, as I am bidden by you, Jesus, to pray for enemies.  May they be brought to the fear of the Lord, before they are brought to the judgment which certainly awaits those who “plot against the righteous” (Ps. 37.12).  
Lord, as I think of Haiti, my thoughts rise above the personal plight of these particular captives and their captors, to the great forces of chaos which have been unleashed there during this year: the assassination of the president in July and the disintegration of the rule of law, marked by the sixfold spike in mass kidnappings.  …The August earthquake that took 2200 lives, (this on top of the 2010 earthquake which killed an estimated 300 000, from which Haiti has hardly recovered, in the barrage of the 4 hurricanes, the cholera epidemic, and the covid pandemic which have hit it since then).  What must it be like, Lord, to live in Haiti! — that desperately poor country, with its overflowing orphanages and ever-expanding tent-cities of the homeless, which is now also the most dangerous country in the world for kidnappings?  And yet daily life does go on there: doctors going to work, teachers going to school, local churches continuing to preach hope through their worship and to care for the overwhelming tide of the poor. And still the missionaries and the aid workers go there also.  Lord, have mercy on the people of Haiti.  Have mercy on all who go in your Name, in the capacity of doves, trying to help.  Keep them safe.  You, too, are found in Haiti, for when the Word became incarnate he said: “in the dark, that is where my light will shine, and the darkness shall not overcome it.”  And “in the least of these, that is where I will be, and will be served.”  Together with a prayer for myself, that I, too, should have such courage to go in your Name into the places of darkness and need and even riskiness near me, I pray these things in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

-Rev. Karla Wubbenhorst