Prayers in the bushfire crisis

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Circulated by the Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn.

A prayer written by the Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral. The Very Reverend Kanishka Raffel.

Lord of all days and years, and time and eternity, You made this land and have blessed us with its riches and beauty. You are a refuge to all who seek your shelter, our strong defence in trial and tribulation.
Send rain we pray to extinguish flames and heal our land. Mercifully protect life and property. Give help and hope to our neighbours assailed by fire. Comfort and provide for those who grieve. Uphold those who suffer loss, Give peace and hope to those bewildered and broken-hearted.
We thank you for men and women of courage and selflessness. We thank you for brave communities of care and support, We thank you for those who share your comfort and hope, We thank you for those at a distance giving and praying.
Lord, you sent your Son so that we would know your power to save, your presence with your people in this world of turmoil, and your promise to renew the whole creation. Turn our hearts to you, that we may have faith for this day and hope for eternity. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Intercessions prepared by the Dean of St Saviour’s Cathedral, The Very Reverend Phillip Saunders

At this time of bushfire emergency in Australia we cry out to God calling on his mercy, saying, Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in the bushfires. When they are weighed down by grief and loss, uphold them in your love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those have lost loved ones in the fires and the families of fire fighters who have given their lives for others. Surround them with supportive family and communities to comfort them. Give them the assurance of your constant care. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for emergency workers, volunteers, and chaplains who are giving their time and resources so freely, and who often feel overwhelmed and depleted of energy by the demands of these extreme circumstances. Grant them renewed strength and hope. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the work of Anglicare and other caring agencies as they strive to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the fires. For our church, that we may respond effectively to the crisis giving generously and compassionately. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for our bishop Mark, Archdeacon Carol and church leaders in fire ravaged areas. Give them wisdom and energy they need to respond with the love of Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of our nation. Give them a desire to lead us in this time of crisis with integrity and compassion and to make available the resources necessary to respond effectively. Give them the desire to work to restore balance in our environment. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, the magnitude of this emergency overwhelms us. Remind us of the One we follow, who suffered and died for us and rose to bring us new life. Bring new life and hope in this dire situation. Bring rain, restore your creation and heal our land. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A prayer request from The Reverend Doug Newman, Rector of Bateman’s Bay Parish

Pray that as a faith community we can exhibit the peace of Christ in these very challenging and anxiety causing times. That we can care for those who God gives us the opportunity to serve with love, grace and patience. Give thanks for the love of God that we have experienced, continue to experience and have seen as we walk among the community in these days of challenge.

Vocation

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“By and large a good rule for finding out is this: the kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. … The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. ” — Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC. Revd and expanded edn. (Harper One, 1993), 118–19.

Climate change affects global food supply

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Last month, a Rabobank report said that global weather continues to be “highly unusual”, with drought forcing Australia to import wheat for the first time in more than a decade. “In the US we have had the wettest planting season on record with record prevent plantings for corn and historically poor conditions that could cut stocks substantially,” Rabobank head of agri commodity markets research Stefan Vogel said. “In India the monsoon took two weeks longer than usual to reach key sugar areas, Côte d’Ivoire is experiencing dryness that is threatening the main cocoa crop and in Australia we have had a severe drought that has resulted in the first wheat imports since 2007.”

In May, the United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) found that global food security was at risk, with human-induced climate change to blame. Its Global Assessment painted a picture of a planet in peril, with life on Earth being wiped out at an unprecedented rate. IPBES chair Robert Watson said the health of ecosystems on which “we and all other species depend” is deteriorating “more rapidly than ever”. “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Urgent action on local and global levels is needed to preserve life on Earth. “It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global.” “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably”. That means a “fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

Why “Pride”?

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In the Northern hemisphere Summer, it’s “Pride” month. It’s important politics and good fun. But the name “Pride” has always grated on me. Isn’t pride a sin, after all?
My friend Dan Sloan has an answer: “Well, actually in the Koine Greek of the New Testament, the sin of Pride is either ὑπερηφανία (Mark 7:22) or ὕβρις (2 Cor 12:10) which mean ‘arrogance’ or ‘hubris’ respectively. The way we’re using ‘Pride’ is closer to πεποίθησις (2 Cor 3:4) or παρρησία (Phl 1:20) which mean ‘confidence’ or ‘courage/bravery’. Gay Pride started because gay people found the παρρησία to fight back when the police tried to raid a gay bar simply because it was a gay bar. If you read the New Testament carefully you’ll see that πεποίθησις and παρρησία to face adversity are consistently depicted as good traits rather than sinful.”
I’m a passable theologian but hopeless Bible scholar, so that’s helpful, thanks Dan.

Death

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“Death is not the extinguishing of the light,
but the blowing out of the candle
because the dawn has come.”
— Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).