I just read an article in the NY Times (7/22/10) around which I think we would do well to turn our prayers. The current violence in Somalia is such that the number of refugees is expanding, and the places of refuge for them are shrinking.
The World Cup soccer games were a source of pride and joy, until violent thugs placed bombs among the spectators, killing many. The violence continues. Somalians now constitute the third largest group of refugees in the world, behind (sadly) Afghanistan and Iraq. More that 50,000 Somalians have found refuge in the U.S. since 2004.
Uganda has been perhaps the major provider of refugee for those fleeing the violence. An organization known as the “Joint Venture” operated in Uganda, helping refugees find resettlement, often in America. That agency has now closed its doors, leaving many people wondering if there is any place or any one to turn to for help and hope.
There are many things we are not able to do. But we can pray. We are called to be people of prayer. Let us place the people of Somalia, Uganda, indeed all the displaced persons seeking refuge before God. God hears our prayers. God is the God who hears the cries of the marginalized and persecuted people.
Lord, this day we place before you the people fleeing horrific violence in Somalia. Be with them. lead them to safety. Protect them. And protect refugees everywhere. People who have lost and left everything, and wander in search home and safety.
We pray: stop the violence. Bring peace. We know that human beings break the peace and not you. We know the violence belongs to us and not to you. Convert us to the ways of peace, which is the way of Jesus Christ who came preaching peace. Turn the hearts of those who somehow think such violence is holy away from such evil.
Most of us reading this live in peaceful places. We have challenges, and do sometimes experience the fearful evil of violence. But mostly we live in peace. Open our hearts that we may share this privilege with those who long for relief and refuge. Help us not to claim this privilege for ourselves, but rather find in it a foundation to serve others in your name.
May the children be safe O Lord.