25 DECEMBER 2011. In the news today are stories of bomb attacks at churches and Christians living in fear in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, even in the Holy Land--Bethlehem, Jersulaem, Nazareth. These are places where every believer--no matter their creed--has a patrimonial right to live and be in peace. Those who would deny peace to anyone in these places or anywhere--on the basis of some faith system, indeed misuse the very notion of faith and religion. Religion is not hatred. Religion is not destruction. Religion is not violence. Religion is not enmity. These are human things, brought about by sin: our sin; our selfishness; our desire to make the world what we want it to be, driven by false pride and conceit.
So, please pray for Christians and all those who struggle for peace throughout the world, especially in Iraq, the Middle East, Sudan, Afganistan, Pakistan, any everywhere that conflict finds a home. Pray that by the power of God, all conflict may be rooted out and destroyed by the power of God's love, joy, peace, and grace, which overcomes all that opposes it.
Everywhere that Muslims and Christians live, there can be peace. Pray that it may be so!
Let us pray:
God of heavenly light, Father of your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin
to bring Good News to the World,
our world is so greatly in need of Your peace.
Fill the hearts of all men and women with Your love,
poured out on us so abundantly,
place within us all, through the gracious gift
of sanctifying grace, your joy, love, and peace,
so that each of us may receive You
willingly and lovingly into our hearts.
May your Holy and Divine Will reign here, as in heaven;
And, may our world be peace-filled this Christmas season,