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“The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Rom. 8:26

Saturday, November 2

Syria, continued

The disciples are just back from a mission trip where they preached repentance, cast out demons, and anointed many sick people. Tired and excited, they were probably eager to enjoy some time alone with Jesus. Yet they were followed by a crowd, and frustration crept into their souls. Jesus expected more of them. It was as if he wanted to say, “Your job is not yet finished. As long as people are in need of food and guidance, you are on the job.” Sometimes, when tired, we think it unreasonable to be expected to do more; this is not the way of Jesus.

The world needs food, justice, and reconciliation. Peace and order need to prevail. What is the mission of the church, and when can it rest? As long as there are needs in the world, the church is on the job. Jesus knows what the church can do, and Jesus will provide. We must not lose heart but have faith.

Our Christian friends in Syria are enduring great suffering, along with all the Syrian people, under the escalating violence of the Assad regime and the counterviolence of armed resistance groups. Visiting my mother there, I learned firsthand of the horrifying situation. I asked, as many Syrians do, what has happened to our sense of security? What went wrong in this country? Reform? All want reform, but should it be baptized with blood?

Syrians are puzzled and cannot explain or even understand the reason for the violence or where all the weapons and all those who use them criminally come from. This is a source of deep sadness.

I solicit prayers for Syria—that God will intervene, bring peace, and protect life. The Syrian church is deeply concerned and needs the solidarity of churches around the world.

—Dr. Mary Mikhael, former president, Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon


Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Elaine Shilstut, OGA
Natalie Shilsut, OGA
Effie Shipp, PILP

Let us pray

May the Syrian church be the element of reconciliation, and may the love of God, and God’s light and hope, fill all hearts. May God’s forgiveness overshadow those who acted violently and lead them to repentance. God is able, and we trust in God. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 63; 149
First Reading Nehemiah 4:1-23
Or alternate First Reading Lamentations 5:1-22
Second Reading Revelation 7:(4-8) 7:9-17
Gospel Reading Matthew 13:31-35
Evening Psalms 125; 90

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