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"....considering the other"
Pray London Prompt
June 2020

‘God always has a plan’: Encouragement from Will Graham
40 Days for Life Kick-Off Vigil!
London’s Creation Bookstore: An Uplifting Space in a Difficult World
BookMark - Dead End (Kaely Quinn Profiler #3) (BOOK REVIEW)
Ark Aid Mission: Striving to Serve
A Four-Lesson Study Considering Biblical Principles Of Estate Planning
London Food Bank: Fighting Food Insecurity at all Levels
Reel Review - The Personal History of David Copperfield (MOVIE REVIEW)
We Must Stay Positive During COVID (HUMOUR)
Sanctuary in Time of Greatest Need
London Pregnancy and Family Support Centre Invites You to the… First Ever Virtual Gala Event and It’s Free
Bible League Canada Announces New Standalone Canadian Ministry Division

Provided by The Christian Churches Network of London

Would any of us have imagined in January this year, that now in early June, our daily conversations would include COVID19 virus concerns like: wearing face masks, social distancing guidelines, handwashing diligence, zoom meeting protocols, checking daily death tolls, online church services, growing unemployment rates of 15% +, contact tracing, or even the length of lineups at the grocery store.

Then, in these past two weeks, we've added on the tragic death of George Floyd, compelling images of peaceful protests and sadly some violence and looting, as years upon years of injustice explode in cities around North America. Our world has seemingly turned upside down into chaos due to a even greater virus of pervasive prejudice. All our mental health, our perceptions of safety, fairness, and our faith is unsettled again. Even here, in London.

Many might quietly confess that we had grown maybe too comfortable living in a culture of selfies, Instagram and social media; constant strive/thrive/win encouragements; planning of bucket lists and dreams of future travel; schedules, goals, and high success expectations. These past five months have changed our lives dramatically, we hope and pray in some good ways too - so we turn to you, God.

In the midst of all this upheaval, a new dynamic is emerging - bubbling up in all kinds of conversations - the desperate need of "considering the other" as we walk through these difficult times together. It is not really new however - it has always been integral to our Christian faith.

Philippians 2 reminds us that as people who follow Jesus: " Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."

In these critical moments in history, let's pray together that we will learn these lessons about "the other" well and carry forward a new awareness and concern in how we live together in our homes, in our neighbourhoods and workplaces, in our churches, and in our community of London.

Lord, we stop and pause in quietness before you and first confess how we all bear responsibility for thinking way too much of ourselves, and about ourselves. It is just too easy God, to think we are deserving, or to be selfish, or to judge others, or to elevate ourselves. Sometimes, it is blatant but we find ways to justify it somehow. Oh God, it can also be so subtle and pervasive in our lives. We invite your Spirit into our very inner beings to do a thorough housecleaning where needed - to reveal to us any prejudices, latent anger, hidden deceit, nagging grudges, natural selfishness, inflated ego that has taken hold. Help us try to toss those attitudes out with the trash. Humble us God, all the while knowing you still love us, just as we are...and wanting so much more for us. Take these lessons and write new stories in our hearts and in our churches to spread out into our community.

  • Father God, in these hard times, we have been challenged to look freshly at what family means. Extended time spent together has forced us to communicate more, to work together, to learn and to listen to one another - or at least we have tried to, God. Some families have connected in ways they could not or did not in the past and discovered the importance of kinship - belonging to one another. Some families have struggled all the more, as the cracks in relationships have widened in deep chasms. We pray God for all kinds of families. Heal any hurts, God. Help us put away "me" and look to "we" and seek to strengthen our familial bonds in healthier ways.
  • The pandemic has revealed problems that have been there for far too long. There are many inequities in our community. The socio-economic status of many people, "the other", has caused disproportionate suffering in both this health, and the looming economic crisis. Vulnerable neighbourhoods in our city, people with lower incomes, in cramped living conditions, with uncertain employment, living with mental health challenges, dependent on public transit - all have greater food insecurity, are more prone to chronic diseases, illness, and greater risk of infection. God, we cry out for better understanding deeper compassion, more provision, and increased protection for those living at the margins. It starts with us.
  • Give us your eyes to see racism and injustice right here in London...and then have courage and determination to do something about it. This week, you have starkly reminded us that you created us all, no matter what colour our skin, no matter our cultural background, deserving of freedom, dignity, respect. Set against the background of a virus, at this critical point in time, we recognize that even in Canada, even here in London Ontario, there are power imbalances, places of systemic discrimination, long standing prejudices, and underlying barriers that are more dangerous and deadly to some than COVID19. Heal our city - remind us daily that each of us is created in your image, God. Let us see you in each person. We pray for reconciliation and justice to reign everywhere - bring your Kingdom here on earth.
  • Our hearts break for how our elderly have borne the brunt of this pandemic, God. The conditions in some long-term facilities have put those so deserving of greater care at huge risk. We mourn with those who have lost family members or workers that have suffered. We struggle God with how to best provide dignity and honor for those older or in need, coupled with quality healthcare for those physically unable to care for themselves. Help us to invest in their lives as they have invested in ours over the years.
  • We have learned too, God, what a difference leadership makes when crisis occurs. No leader is perfect. All will stumble and make mistakes. But God, we pray for good leaders - people of integrity and honour. So many, whether they be in government, in business, in organizations, or in churches, have been stretched way beyond their experience, training, and/or abilities at times. Some falter, some survive, and some rise. They bear such a heavy weight of responsibility. Speak truth, peace, courage, wisdom and accountability into their lives.
  • We've also discovered God, that our personal actions actually do matter. We are not helpless. Perhaps we have forgotten that. Wearing a face mask protects others more than it protects us. Staying home and sacrificing social gatherings protects our community and helps limit the spread of a virus. Standing up against racism in conversations or wherever we see it makes a difference. A kind word, a helping hand, dollars shared, standing beside and with those who are hurting - all impact change and protects others. Our privilege as your people. Rise up, church. We know that in our heads, like a good slogan, but now we have greater lived experience in some new, and costly ways. We have opportunity to step up and step into caring well "for the other".
  • God, we have realized again the value of community -we really missed seeing people face to face, not just on a screen, having conversations, laughing together, grieving together, worshipping together, eating together, learning together. You created us to live in community. Inspire us to keep seeking out ways to strengthen community here in London, God. To engage in our neighbourhoods, in our schools, in groups and with strangers when that time comes that we are freer to do that. Let us love one another as you love us, God.
  • Finally God, you are changing how we view "things". Help us not to forget that. Having more material possessions do not actually make us better than "the other". During lockdown, many people discovered great pleasure in 'making do', gardens planted, using what they had to fix things, or creating homemade meals. Creativity grew. Old concepts explored. New lessons learned. Interesting ideas and skills were shared (not all of them great ideas!).But there seems to be increased opportunity to care for our environment in maybe some new ways, and slow down our consumer driven society a bit.

God, it seems to be a crazy world. At times, we are equally confused and dismayed and amazed.

Philippians 2 goes on to challenge us more: "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

May this be said of us, His church in London Ontario, that we have the same attitude as Jesus, to the glory of God, the Father. AMEN