Evening Prayer Friday, 14 May 2021
Good evening, everyone.
We are coming to the end of Christian Aid Week.
My involvement with this charity has varied considerably over the years.
For many years, I delivered envelopes and collected ‘house to house’.
In more recent times, I have continued to support them, reading the news bulletin
which they send me on a regular basis and participating in whatever activity
we may decide to adopt to support the charity at Cornerstone.
This year, it seems different.
I haven’t seen a poster or envelope for Christian Aid yet anywhere.
Perhaps, if I were to be watching television at the right time,
I might spot an advert on TV, but I haven’t so far.
However, we were fortunate last Sunday.
We had the chance to attend a Zoom service from Canterbury
which had been arranged to support Christian Aid.
Rt Revd Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and now Chair of Christian Aid
had been invited to preach.
He gave a powerful address, reminding us of the Christian Aid slogan from a few years ago,
‘We believe in life before death’.
We also heard the story of Rose, who, though over sixty years old,
struggles to carry water for her family every day in seasons of drought.
Food was plentiful when she was younger,
but climate change has led to extremes of flooding and drought each year.
The World Health Organisation estimates that, across the world,
fifty-five million people are affected by drought each year.
Drought impacts on livestock and crops, consequently on daily life and people’s security.
The following countries have all experienced floods or droughts in recent years,
in some cases on several occasions:
Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, among others.
So, when the heavens open, or when our gardens are desperate for rainfall,
let us remember that our variable, unpredictable weather is something to be thankful for
and resolve to play our part in arresting the advance of climate change.
It is worth remembering that, while handwashing has become second nature to us
during the coronavirus crisis, it is not an option for the world’s three billion people
who do not have access to soap and water at home.
Coronavirus has highlighted the need for a reliable source of water,
but the impacts of climate change remain the biggest challenge
for the communities Christian Aid works with.
Unpredictable water sources, triggered by erratic weather,
are pushing families into extreme poverty as crops fail, livestock die, and incomes are destroyed.
In Kenya Christian Aid is helping people in rural communities
because drought has become more frequent and intense.
This has resulted in food shortages for millions of people
whose crops have struggled to grow.
In 2020, drought was followed by relentless rainfall and flooding
in some parts of the country, causing further crop damage.
Without access to reliable water sources or ways to capture rainfall,
many families are pushed to the edge of survival.
Let us resolve to sharpen our awareness and be alert to opportunities
to support those who work to relieve their suffering.
So let us pray:
A prayer for transformation, from the Christian Aid Week website:
I will give them a new heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh
Ezekiel 11: 19
Our God, we pray for the transformation of hardened hearts, and closed minds,
which are resistant to the changes needed
for sustainable and thriving future for all of creation.
For stones of apathy and indifference
to become hearts of concern and compassion.
For stones of self-preservation
to become hearts of secure generosity.
For stones of fear of scarcity
to become hearts of generous abundance.
For stones of judgement and shame
to become hearts of mercy and grace.
For the stones of longing and consumerism
to become hearts satisfied
and in communion with your phenomenal creation.
Transform us by your Spirit,
that we might be your people
and you, our God.
In your name we pray.
Now let us pray with Christian Aid’s Global Theology Advisor, Bob Kikuyu.
Please click on the link below.
who makes the sun to rise, and opens the heavens,
hear the cry of the people
who sow in hope for rain, but reap only despair.
Hear the cry of the people
seeking shelter from the storm, their hopes and homes submerged.
Hear the cry of the people,
when creation is hitting back, with rage and resistance.
Give us hope, grant us salvation,
give us a new relationship with creation,
with reverence to tend this gift from you
and say once again of the earth and all you created,
‘It is GOOD.’
God of compassion,
we join our hearts with people around the world
who are suffering from the effects of climate change.
Remind us to do all we can to avoid those actions
which contribute to global warming and to do our best to act responsibly
so that others too may share the benefits of your creation.
We ask all our prayers in Jesus’ name.