November 18 – International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

PersecutedChristians

Father God,

As one Church, united under your holy headship, and knowing that we are all one family in Christ;

We pray for those who suffer in your name all over the world, our brothers and sisters, who share in that same great gift of salvation through your Son, but who face injustice, oppression and even death because of their faith in you.

We want to walk with them as they journey through the valley of darkness, and we pray knowing that you are a God of compassion, comfort and justice; who always hears their prayers, never leaves them and will forever be their fortress and shield, whatever they face.

 

We pray that you will grant them strength, courage, and protection from those who seek to harm them because they follow you;

Guidance and wisdom for when their path seems impossible to tread, 

And hope for a future where they have the freedom to worship you without fear.

In the name of Jesus, Amen

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Richard Rohr – Persecuted for My Sake (Oscar Romero)

Saint Oscar Romero
Saint Oscar Romero

Persecuted for My Sake
Sunday, October 14, 2018

 

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. . . .  And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. —Matthew 5:10,12, The Message

Today Óscar Romero (1917–1980) will be named a saint by the Catholic Church. As Archbishop of San Salvador for the last four years of his life, Romero was a strong, public voice for the many voiceless and anonymous poor of El Salvador and Latin America. When he preached in the cathedral on Sunday mornings, I’m told that the streets were empty and all the radios where on full volume, to hear truth and sanity in an insane and corrupt world.

Here is a man who suffered with and for those who suffered. His loving heart shines through clearly in his homilies:

The shepherd must be where the suffering is. [1]

My soul is sore when I learn how our people are tortured, when I learn how the rights of those created in the image of God are violated.  [2]

A Gospel that doesn’t take into account the rights of human beings, a Christianity that doesn’t make a positive contribution to the history of the world, is not the authentic doctrine of Christ, but rather simply an instrument of power. We . . . don’t want to be a plaything of the worldly powers, rather we want to be the Church that carries the authentic, courageous Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when it might become necessary to die like he did, on a cross. [3]

In his homily on March 23, 1980, the day before he was murdered, Romero addressed the Salvadoran military directly:

Brothers, we are part of the same people. You are killing your own brother and sister peasants and when you are faced with an order to kill given by a man, the law of God must prevail; the law that says: Thou shalt not kill. No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. And it is time that you recover your consciences. . . . In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise up to heaven each day more tumultuously, I plead with you, I pray you, I order you, in the name of God: Stop the repression! [4]

The next day, following his sermon, a U.S.-supported government hit squad shot him through his heart as he stood at the altar.

Only a few weeks earlier, Romero had said:

I have often been threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. . . . A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish. [5]

Romero’s epitaph reads “Sentir con la Iglesia” (“To be of one mind and heart with the Church”); these words were his episcopal motto, his promise to share the suffering and strength of the people he served.

Watch Father Richard’s reflection on Óscar Romero in this 3-minute video.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Week of Prayer for Pakistan

pakistan1

Christians and other minority faiths in Pakistan not only face the prospect of being targeted in a violent attack, but also face everyday institutional and social discrimination. A general election is scheduled for 25 July – please pray that the election is free and fair, and takes place peacefully.

Sunday
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws make it a criminal act to insult another’s religion. The blasphemy laws are widely misused to settle personal scores and target religious minorities. Though the majority of accusations are made against Muslims, in some cases where non-Muslims are accused, their entire community may be attacked. Pray today that the blasphemy laws would be amended.

Monday
Last June, Taimoor Raza was the first person to be sentenced to death by the Anti-Terrorism Court for allegedly committing blasphemy on Facebook. Please pray for justice in his case, and that this ruling does not lead to more accusations of blasphemy on social media.

Tuesday
Today please pray for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. She has been on death row since 2010. Pray today for her unconditional release.

Wednesday
In March, 20 men accused of being part of the mob that burned Shama and Shezad Masih to death were acquitted of any wrongdoing. Pray that justice would be done in the case of Shama and Shezad, and that all those involved in their murders would be punished.

Thursday
We’ve seen a worrying increase in the forced marriage and forced conversion of Christian and Hindu girls. These girls, usually just barely teenagers, are abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men who are strangers to them. Often, their families never see them again. Pray that the government and police in Pakistan would take decisive action to stop these abductions.

Friday
Students in Pakistan are exposed to biased curriculum, which breeds discrimination against religious minorities. Religious minority students face discrimination as well as physical and mental abuse from fellow classmates and teachers. Pray today for a change in the education system, and for the introduction of unbiased textbooks and non-discriminatory curricula.

Saturday
Lord, we thank you for the work of our partners in Pakistan, especially the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation and the National Commission for Justice and Peace. Thank you for their calling to work with religious minorities and seek justice for the oppressed: please bless their work and grant them the physical and spiritual resources they need.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Prayer for Eritrea

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for Eritrea over the years. It’s often difficult to keep faithfully petitioning God during a situation which doesn’t change or worsens; so your perseverance means the world to us and, of course, to the Eritrean people who are suffering under one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

Sunday 20 May
Patriarch Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church has been under house arrest since he was illegally removed from office in 2007. He is allegedly under pressure to resign and make way for a pro-government bishop. He’s in his 90s, surrounded by enemies, and severely diabetic. Ask God to encourage Patriarch Antonios in his imprisonment, granting him strength, faith and perseverance.

Monday 21 May
Patriarch Antonios is one of over 10,000 prisoners of conscience in Eritrea, including many from recognised and unrecognised faith groups who have been detained without charge or trial, in life threatening conditions. Please pray for all those who are imprisoned in Eritrea: for God to comfort them, grant them endurance, and for their unconditional release.

Continue reading “Christian Solidarity Worldwide – Prayer for Eritrea”

Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunitatilor protestante romanesti

Dragi prieteni,

Vă anunț, cu un sentiment de mare ușurare, că astăzi, înainte de prânz, „după lupte seculare”, care au durat mai mult de… zece ani, am predat la Polirom textele definitive și am semnat contractul final pentru volumul Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunităților protestante românești. Este vorba de un volum masiv, de circa 650 de pagini, format mare, ce include texte elaborate de 19 autori, din interiorul și din afara mediului evanghelic.

Volumul va apărea în librării cel mai târziu până la începutul lunii septembrie, iar până la finalul aceleiași luni va fi disponibilă și versiunea ebook.

În viitorul apropiat voi voi începe să comunic, din când în când, mai multe informații despre acest proiect editorial.

Până atunci, pentru cei interesați, iată mai jos cuprinsul volumului.

Omul evanghelic – Cuprins

 

Procesul comunistilor din Romania – Cateva consideratii preliminare

Marți 8 mai a avut loc la Palatul culturii din Iași lansarea publică a Proiectului „Procesul comuniștilor”, coordonat de Universitatea Petre Andrei (UPA), împreună cu Institutul de Studiere a Ideologiilor și derulat în colaborare cu mai multe instituții:, Academia Română, Institutul de Investigare a Crimelor Comunismului și Memoria Exilului Românesc, Editura Institutului European, Primăria Municipiului Iași etc.


Georgeta Condur

Proiectul este prevăzut a se desfășura pe durata a doi ani și jumătate, având trei componente: cercetare, judiciară și editorială. Evident, este vorba mai degrabă de un „proces moral”, cei mai mulți dintre cei vizați nemaifiind în viață. Cum însă în România (precum și în celelalte țări foste comuniste) nu a avut loc un proces de decomunizare, asemănător celui de denazificare în Germania, după căderea regimului hitlerist, consider că acest demers este unul salutar și absolut necesar, dat fiind că tinerele generații sunt din ce în ce mai ignorante cu privire la trecutul recent. Mai multe detalii despre proiect puteți găsi pe situl web al acesteia. Continue reading “Procesul comunistilor din Romania – Cateva consideratii preliminare”

Ahed Tamimi – Living Resistance Tour

Ahed Tamimi, presently in prison in Israel, the harsh occupier of her home country, Palestine,  is called ‘the Palestinian Jeanne d’Arc’. She has become, at only 16 years old, the most powerful symbol of Palestinian non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

If you want to understand more about why is she considered dangerous to the heavily armed occupier, you may read this well written article, by Nina Fischer.