Monday, May 28, 2007

Global Day of Prayer

Yesterday was the Global Day of Prayer, in which Edmonton joined with other countries throughout the world to pray for common goals. It was also intended to bridge gaps between denominations and build unity in the Body. Representatives from many different churches were there, including Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical, Charistmatic, Salvation Army, and other mainstream Protestant groups. Numerous requests were prayed for, including those affected by poverty and homelessness. As my companion pointed out, one major element was missing from the prayers: to root out the causes of homelessness and poverty (in many cases, being our corporate and materialistic society).

Peace was also prayed for. A chaplain from the armed forces led those prayers. While certainly it is appropriate for someone serving in the military to pray for the protection and safety of his fleet, I wonder if this was a right-wing ploy to get people to be rah rah government, and to support the current mission in Afghanistan (don't even get me started). Only having a military person pray for peace is somewhat of an unbalanced perspective. What about the Quakers and Mennonites, or members of the faith-based peace groups like Christian Peacemakers or Project Ploughshares? You know, the ones who come to the peace marches -- marching against military occupations in other countries. Global Day of Prayer, while valuable, is not really as all-inclusive as it claims to be.

On the other hand, people who are involved with peace churches and related organizations need to have more of a presence at these events, if only to have a dissident voice. After all, prayer is an important part of faith life. Just like the more conservative churches do, we also have to be careful not to always be preaching to the converted.

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