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Lifting up Prayers

Recently, I attended the Coldplay concert with 60,000 other fans at Levi Stadium. In the middle of the show, the lead singer, Chris Martin, asked the crowd to look at the moon slowly rising above the stadium and say a prayer for Ukraine and the tragedy in Buffalo. Sixty thousand raucous fans went quiet. I do not know how many in the stadium may have any faith in a higher being, but I felt at one with them, praying to God for several minutes for the tragedies around us. Prayer is so needed these days.

A few Sundays ago, in the Gospel Lectionary passage, Jesus tells his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The daily news reminds us just how far we are as a people from following Jesus’ words. As I was writing this note to lift up prayers for mass shooting tragedies two weekends ago, news of another mass shooting at an elementary school popped up on my computer screen. So far, 19 kids and several adults have died from a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I can’t imagine what that community is going through. Less than two weeks ago, in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, ten people were shot by a hateful, racist 18-year-old. All ten who died were Black. On the same weekend, a gunman entered the Irvine Taiwanese American Presbyterian Church and began shooting as the congregation members enjoyed a fellowship lunch together after worship. This church is one of our PCUSA sister churches in Los Ranchos Presbytery in Southern California. One member died, and several others were injured. Around the country, hate and violence against Asians continue to grow.

As we commemorate the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, we as a country and society still view Black bodies with disdain and not as equals. There is much suspicion and prejudice against asylum seekers, especially those from Mexico and Central America. We have much work to do as the presbytery, the church, and as disciples of Jesus Christ to live into love as Jesus asks of us.

So even as we work on these issues together as a presbytery to transform ourselves and our communities, we ask you to pray and go where God moves you. And continue to love one another, your church, your presbytery, and the world. It continues to be a joy and privilege to serve alongside you in our presbytery.

With much love and prayers,
Partner for Congregational Vitality and Clergy Support