National Day of Prayer for Myanmar
Advent Sunday 28 November 2021
Peace and New Hope for Myanmar
This is an invitation to pray during your Advent Sunday worship, for peace and justice with the people of Myanmar and to be part of an Australia wide prayer offering.
Suffering and trauma have accompanied the people of Myanmar for decades. A level of freedom enjoyed in recent times has ended. On February 1 this year, military government was reimposed. This Day is an opportunity to reflect on Myanmar’s struggle for peace. Journeying towards “a common horizon of hope” for all is our challenge. On this Advent Sunday as we await the coming of the Lord, we pray with Myanmar in its yearning to be free. We especially pray for the minority communities, Karen, Rohingyas and Chin and for the churches and faith communities of Myanmar, our brothers and sisters who are very much under pressure. We remember those who have been driven from their homes and are struggling to survive in refugee camps or who live in exile in Australia and other parts of the world.
We offer you these suggestions and resources and invite you to incorporate them as suits you best into your worship on Advent Sunday.
Prayer at the lighting of the Hope Candle on the Advent Wreath.
Lord Jesus we wait for you in hope.
Let your light shine on the people of Myanmar,
Suffer with them and set them free.
Come Lord Jesus, Come.
Oh God we are in great darkness.
When we heard of Jesus we saw a light far off.
Do not let anything put our that light,
but lead us nearer to it.
Come Lord Jesus, come.
Introduction to Confession
As we open our hearts and prepare for Christ’s coming, we confess that we have turned away from the suffering of our oppressed brothers and sisters in Myanmar and throughout the world and failed to be in love and solidarity with them.
Readings; ( Revised Common lectionary, Advent 1 year C.)
Psalm 25 (No.14 in Together in Song.)
1 Thessalonians 3.9-13
Isaiah 2.1-5, Romans 13.9-14, Isaiah 40.1-11 Isaiah 60.1-4
Possible preaching points.
· People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Christians in Australia have it easy. For many people in Myanmar and other parts of the world Jesus grim words are exactly what their world is like. The Rohingyas are being chased from their homes as their villages burn and end up in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh. The Karen and Chin peoples are hunted down and see their world collapse. People who bravely resist are shot down in the streets. Burmese people in Australia and other countries do not know what is happening to their families and loved ones.
· Today’s readings remind us that this is never God’s last word. Jeremiah is writing to people in exile who had no idea what their future might be. In the face of everything that is happening to them, God promises that their will be a future of justice and righteousness. They can look forward in hope even as they struggle to survive.
· In the Thessalonians reading, Paul is urging people to continue to live Christian love in the face the struggle. At the recent webinar on Myanmar we were moved to hear from two Burmese nuns who are doing exactly what Paul asks of the Thessalonians: And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. It is humbling to know that Christians in Myanmar are doing exactly that despite everything that is going on around them. Paul goes on just as we abound in love for you. That is the challenge to us. How will we abound in love for them and what will that look like.
· In the gospel, Jesus warns us to be able to read the signs of the times when the world is going pear shaped. We can look the world in the eye because we abound in hope. These things are signs of the coming of the Lord for those with ears to hear, eyes to watch and above all the faith to wait.
Lord Jesus, you came into a world of oppression, violence and racism,
Have mercy on your children in Myanmar, stay beside them in their distress, help them to care for each other and sustain hope.
Lord in your mercy…..
Lord Jesus you come to us at this time as a sign of hope help us not to despair. Help us to support those people in Myanmar who are resisting, often at the cost of their lives. Help us to be faithful in our solidarity.
Lord Jesus you suffered and died at the hands of a totalitarian empire. We implore you for people in Myanmar who have been imprisoned, tortured and threatened with death. We especially pray for Aung San Suu Kyi, facing trial at this time.
Help us never to forget them and to share their hope and longing.
Lord Jesus you were a refugee in Egypt. Remember and be close to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the Karen refugees on the Thai Burma border, and all who have had to leave their homes and families. We ask you blessing on those who have settled in Australia. Help us to welcome and support them in every way possible.
Lord Jesus you have made us your people and witnesses to your life and presence. We thank you for the faithfulness of the Burmese churches and faith communities and the hope they bring. Strengthen and encourage them. May they know they are not alone. We thank you for the witness of Burmese churches in Australia. Help us to know them as our brothers and sisters and to welcome the gifts they bring.
Goodness is stronger than evil;
Love is stronger than hate;
Light is stronger than darkness;
Life is stronger than death;
Victory is ours through Him who loves us. Archbishop Desmond Tutu
I really have nothing to add to Lisa’s liturgy except to suggest a different reading: Isaiah 25-6-9, see below.
I have attached a sheet which I have prepared with liturgical matrial which churches could incorporate into their Advent liturgy. It relates to the Sunday’s readings, the lighting of the Advent candle etc.
Feel free to use it as desired or incorporate into Lisa’s.
Let’s leave the Vigil at 4 pm but it might be best to take Pax Christi’s
name off it as none of us will be there. Also “Pax Christi and Friends on the liturgy could be expanded. Pax Christi are only one element among many and it would be good to include others.
I am still not clear when the ecumenical/interfaith service will happen. I gather it’s online??
Also what is the webinar about? How will it differ from the one we have just had?
Thanks for all your are doing
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8 he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.