Every week in Friday Chapel, we pray…
Heavenly Father, thank you for all you have given us. Accept these gifts and use them to help others. Amen.
When we gather to worship, Christians believe that God comes to us and serves us through his Word. Wherever the Bible is heard, the Holy Spirit is calling, gathering and enlightening us. We respond with prayer, singing and offering gifts which he has first given us – these include gifts of money. Christians believe that this offering is a free will gift, made in response to God’s unconditional love for us and that whether or not you give – or how much you give, is deeply private and between you and God.
These free will offerings are used by the Church to help others. This term, our offering is helping refugees through Australian Lutheran World Service and its partner Lutheran World Federation. The world has now the largest displacement crisis of people since World War II. The UNHCR reports 65.3 million people are either refugees or internally displaced. The average time refugees are uprooted from their homes is 17 years and 86% of people who have fled seeking safety are hosted in developing countries. Together with ALWS and LWF, St Peters echoes the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance with an excerpt from their joint statement:
“Our faith calls us and all Christians to love and welcome the stranger, the refugee, the internally displaced person, the other. “
Through ALWS, St Peters can share the message that God loves ALL people, regardless of religion, values or culture. ALWS cares deeply about helping people see real unconditional love in action and about ensuring that there is no expectation for anyone to say ‘yes’ to God in order to get something. Rather, we all want people to know that we are giving simply because others are in need and are human and therefore made in God’s image.
This term, our offering will help refugees from Syria, Iraq, Somalia and other places of pain, so that people far from their homes may know they are not alone. At the same time, we can raise our voices on behalf of those whose own voices are silenced, and we can pray. In Romans 12:12, Paul reminds us to ‘pray at all times’ … so we can pray for:
- wisdom, grace and kindness for our leaders
- comfort for people in refugee camps or displaced in their own countries
- safety for those still seeking a place of safety and welcome
- courage for the team members we support working in the front line.
Julie Krause from ALWS has been invited to speak in next week’s Whole School meeting about how our offering is used. Any interested parents and friends are welcome to attend. Our meetings are held in the Church on Wednesdays at 1.45 pm and usually finish at 2.10 pm. Julie will be here on Wednesday, 29th March.
On Tuesday, 4th July, 2017, ALWS are hosting a 26 km walk in the Adelaide Hills to commemorate the work of past Lutheran refugees in Australia and to raise money for refugees now. Anyone is welcome to participate. Details are at the following link.
How wonderful it is to have the great privilege of sharing God’s love with others from all walks of life and from all places across the world.