ELCA commemorates 25 years with ‘God’s Work. Our Hands. Sunday’

Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are called to pray Sept. 7 for the people of Syria, the Middle East and throughout the world. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — one of the ELCA’s six full communion partners — offered prayer petitions supported by the ELCA and other Christian denominations.

The prayer is for the protection of people “affected by the fighting in Syria” and for “all who are working for peace: international leaders, politicians, religious leaders and ordinary citizens” and that “all of us be strengthened by the hope of a future built on love and justice for all.”

“In the midst of the complexities, volatility, uncertainties and tragedies in Syria and the surrounding region, let us join together in praying for peace,” said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop.

“We can have deep differences about the responsible way forward,” said Hanson. “Our religious convictions may be different. The public debate is intense and so much is at stake. What better time to pray? God has entrusted us with just one creation. We are all created in God’s image for relationships that reflect God’s desire for harmony, dignity and peace with justice. Let our prayers be cries of lament. Let us listen for God’s word of promise. Let the diverse languages and petitions of our prayers reflect the beauty of diversity in the midst of our one God given humanity. Yes, may we humbly confess our sinfulness and gratefully receive God’s gift of mercy and strength to be about God’s work of peace and reconciliation.”

Earlier in the week, Hanson sent letters to the U.S. president and Congress urging for more diplomatic efforts over pursuing military action in response to reports of the use of chemical weapons against the people of Syria.

ELCA members and congregations, through this church’s Washington Office, are invited to write to Congress and to the president to “vote against an authorization to take military action against Syria” and to ask the president “not to take such action.” ELCA members are also committed to keeping decision-makers in prayer, asking that “God will continue to give them wisdom as they discern the best path to avoid atrocities while pursuing peace.”