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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Global

We’ve all heard that maxim: think globally; act locally! Then there’s the whole wonderful ideal of the world-wide church, the global family of God that we aspire to. We love stories and pictures shared in the Herald and on the facebook pages of our favourite world ministers.

But what does it mean when our media is loaded with the latest, most troubling images? What to do with whatever is happening in Egypt? Or how shall we deal with the political upheaval that’s been piled onto the terrible natural disaster and horror in Haiti? How do we respond to the corruption or revolution or authoritarian repression if we pay attention to our global news at all? These are tough questions.

Now what does it mean to “act locally”? Can any small Canadian congregation even address those huge global questions? Can’t we just ignore them and go about our own local business and leave distant news items for the “news junkies” or the “peaceniks”? Can’t we just turn off the news and turn our local attention to things that matter most to us? Next week’s priesthood meeting, or this year’s budget, or planning our coming anniversary or vacation Bible school? Isn’t there enough to deal with without worrying about what’s happening on the other side of the globe?

I read a story of a young woman who’d been post-congregational for years, who went to church on the Sunday after the 9-11 disaster. She thought she’d turn to the church in search of some way to make sense or find meaning in this unsettling event. When nothing was mentioned at all, either by the minister in his remarks or in any prayer or other part of the service, she left and has never returned to church again!

Friends sometimes forward “flaming” e-mails, asking for a suggestion about how to react or respond to the person who has circulated a hateful message to them about a terrorist (usually Muslim) conspiracy citing current spectacular news as proof of their truth. It does matter how we think about global issues and news. And it is at church that we should be able to find some way of putting God’s meaning into our responses to such challenges, I believe.

Our World Church efforts at peace have led us to institute the Daily Prayer for Peace ( among other things) that many congregations implement. We have plenty of opportunity to learn from those prayers and the background shared. The pattern however also suggests a need for us to educate ourselves about those places and those issues and events. Don’t let yourself remain in ignorance. Find someone who knows! Invite a speaker, or take a class or join a discussion group. Being educated and informed is one of the best and first things we can do.

Consider what the practice of prayer can do to change and shape you and your congregation. If praying for our enemies is a powerful practice, imagine what might be accomplished if we get to know our brothers and sisters in the global community and truly pray for them. Put faces on the Haitian voter or the Egyptian protester or the Sri Lankan sex-slave. How now can your congregation address those issues?

Maybe all you can do is pray for them. If so, be sure to do that. But maybe there’s more. How will you find out and what will you do?

Posted by Marion

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