May 25. WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY & LAUDATO SI WEEK. Day 5. “Singing the Lord’s song as strangers in the Land.” Scripture: Ps137:1-4. “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
The lament of the psalmist originates in the exile of Judah in Babylon, however, the pain of exile is one that reverberates across time and culture. Perhaps the psalmist shouted this refrain towards the heavens. Perhaps each verse was between deep sobs of grief. Perhaps this poem emerged with a shrug of indifference from living within injustice and feeling powerless to effect change. The heartache of this passage finds resonance in the hearts of those who are treated as strangers in other lands or in their own lands.
The demand in the psalm comes from the oppressor to smile and make merry, to sing the songs of a “happy” past. That demand has come to marginalized people throughout history. The message is as simple as it is cruel; your songs, your ceremonies, your cultural identity, that which makes you sacredly unique, is only allowable so long as it serves us. In this psalm generations of the oppressed ask, “How could we sing the Lord’s song when we are strangers in our own land? We sing not for our captors but to praise God. We sing because we are not alone for God has never abandoned us. We sing because we are surrounded by ancestors and saints to inspire us. They encourage us to sing songs of hope, songs of freedom, songs of liberation, songs of a homeland where a people is restored.
Luke’s Gospel records that people, many of them women, follow Jesus even as he carries his cross to Calvary. Jesus recognises their struggles and the suffering that they will have to endure in faithfully carrying their own crosses.
Thanks to the ecumenical movement, Christians today share hymns, prayers reflections and insights across traditions. We receive them from one another as gifts borne of the faith and loving discipleship, often enduring struggles, of Christians from different communities than our own. These shared gifts are riches to be treasured and give witness to the Christian faith we share.
Challenge. How do we raise up the stories of ancestors and saints who lived among us and have sung songs of faith, hope, and liberation from captivity?
Pray the Christian Unity prayer and the Laudato si’ prayer. for the Presbyterian/Congregational churches.
SA CHRISTIAN UNITY PRAYER. ENGLISH
Righteous and merciful God; we come to you in repentant hearts, teach us to do good, give us courage to seek justice for all and to seek a meaningful unity of the church, so that: the oppressed may be liberated, the orphan and the widow may know justice so that: peace, justice and love may prevail; through the one who is love, Jesus our redeemer, and in the power of the one whose fruit is love, the enabling Holy Spirit. Amen.
DAILY PRAYER FOR CREATION.
Creator, Redeemer, Holy Spirit,
thank you for the gift of Laudato Si’, which teaches us that the Creator does not abandon us;
he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.
Humanity still has the ability to work together in building and caring for the common home of all creation.
Creator, you give us life. Help us to honor you as we care for your precious creation.
Redeemer, you give us hope. Help us see new ways of living as we turn from the path of destruction.
Holy Spirit, you give us unity. Help us find strength in the love between us as we seek healing for the Earth. Amen.