October 24 2021
On this day in 1945, the United Nations Charter came into force. “We the Peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war … to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours …”
From our office you can see the large United Nations flag fluttering in the wind high above the General Assembly building.The flag is a familiar sight recognized around the world. Its two olive branches symbolizing peace are tied together in the shape of the palm of the hand embracing all the peoples and countries around the world. The blue background signifying peaceful environment. For many around the world who have endured war and conflict, famine, natural disasters and more recently displacement from the effects of climate change, the U.N. flag has been a symbol of hope and refuge.
Several years ago, I took a friend on a tour of the U.N. Without any prompting, she said, “Oct. 24 is United Nations Day.” When asked how she knew, she answered that the U.N. troops came and helped her country to end the ongoing war. She was grateful for the intervention. Today, the U.N. is present in many countries around the world — from Afghanistan to Haiti to Syria — distributing aid and vaccines, keeping the peace, protecting and working for dignity of all people.
The United Nations began as a great experiment after the devastation of World Wars in the last century. The world continues to look to the U.N. as a beacon of hope recognizing that it has a crucial role to play in the world.
As followers of Christ, we too have a role to play. We have been given a simple and yet powerful command: Love one another as Jesus Christ has loved us. Be a good neighbor. May we fulfil the Matthew 25 vision to lend a hand to those who are in need and provide refuge and hope that transcends national boundaries. And work for the peaceable kin-dom here on earth.
Sue Rheem, Representative to the United Nations, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 24, 2021, the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Today’s Focus: United Nations Day 2021 – Vision for a Better World
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Creator God, we pray for all your children on earth, of every nation and of every race; that we may be strong to do your work. We pray for the Church in the world. Give peace in our time, O God. For the United Nations, for all governments and their leaders, give peace in our time, O God. For worldwide agencies of caring which bind wounds and feed the hungry, give peace in our time, O God. For all who seek to transform systems that wound give peace in our time, O God. For all who work for justice and peace, give peace in our time, O God. Amen.