Thank you for collecting an offering that changes lives by giving marginalized people a place to belong in your churches and in your communities!
In this page you will find a few PowerPoint slides that you can use during the offering time as well as a litany and a prayer.
If you are a recent immigrant from Latin America studying in the United States, and if you are listening to the American political campaign, you might begin to think you are unwelcome here; that you are a burden on society. If you are a refugee coming to Canada, you might become overwhelmed with the process of figuring your new life in a new country.
Imagine your surprise and joy when you discover at a community event that your denomination, the CRCNA, boldly asserts that you, an immigrant, are a blessing and not a burden! One such student was recently moved to tears, because until that Blessing Not Burden community gathering organized by the CRC’s Office of Social Justice, no one had recognized her contributions as an immigrant and made her feel that she belongs. Imagine your joy and relief when you discover that a CRC church in your new home has been through a workshop titled Journey with Me that has served as a toolkit to help them learn about welcoming refugees like you.
As the tears of a future pastor and the joy a new refugee show, loving our neighbors by working towards a more just world adds something essential to our ministries - and changes lives. In addition to Ministry Share support, it is the yearly offering from CRC churches like yours in the U.S. and Canada that makes this possible.
Below are a few PowerPoint slides that you can use during the offering time as well as a litany and a prayer that your congregation can read and pray.
God of our past, we know all too well that history is riddled with stories that break our hearts, that break your heart. We remember not only the glaring horrors of history that come easily to mind--Auschwitz, Rwanda, Hiroshima--but also the subtler wrongs that hide in the dark corners of the world’s imagination, wrongs that have gone largely ignored and forgotten. But in the midst of our lament, we remember that you have seen and heard these injustices and have chosen to do something about it. You sent your Son to enter into the mess and filth of your broken world in order to wrench it around from the inside and to finally turn it back to you. We remember this, and we give thanks.
God of our present, we know all too well that the world is still not all that it is supposed to be. Our jail cells burst their seams as entire communities continue to live in the midst of violence and fear. Ever cheaper labor is demanded by consumers and producers alike, even as the people who are desperate enough to work at providing it are dehumanized and devalued. Desperate migrants around the world find themselves enmeshed in massive networks of human traffickers who are utterly indifferent to the humanity of disadvantaged and displaced persons and are eager to capitalize on their suffering. But in the midst of our despair, we remember the “everything new” promise of Christ, and we rest in his presence in the midst of our pain. We trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to unite us to Christ and to each other in our journey toward justice.
God of our future, you have shown us your glorious plans for your creation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You have wrapped heaven and earth inextricably together, and you assure us of a future when sin, evil, pain, and injustice will be no more. We know the end of the story, but we confess that it can be hard to believe that all that is wrong will one day be made right. We confess our propensity toward apathy in the face of injustice, indifference in the face of suffering. We confess that we all too easily live as if we do not believe the end of the story. But in the midst of our doubt, we rest in the hope of the coming kingdom of justice and peace, and we roll up our sleeves. We join you as you dismantle systems of oppression. We raise our voice alongside those whom the world has long forgotten to pay attention to. We sow seeds of justice that others may reap, trusting that you are the God of the harvest.
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
We long to see your love, O Lord, in our world today. We look at places of brokenness and suffering and cry out for your salvation—save us, O Lord. In places where children duck from bullets, show your steadfast love. In places where droughts and fires destroy homes and habitats, show your steadfast love. In places where mothers carry children over miles to seek safety, show your steadfast love. In places where jobs are scarce and handcuffs are plentiful, show your steadfast love. In places where pregnancies are lamented instead of celebrated, show your steadfast love.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Speak peace to us, Lord. Not just peace in our own hearts, but peace in our world. Let us hear when you call us to be makers of that peace. Empower us to forge foundations of justice. Where systems discard and prey upon the vulnerable, may your Spirit discomfort us. Help us wisely raise our voices to be agents of that promised renewal for which we hope.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
We want to see your glory right here, Lord. In this town, in this nation, in this world. We lift in prayer our leaders—may their votes and policies reflect your glory. We lift in prayer our communities—may our businesses and watersheds and jail cells and classrooms reflect your glory. We lift in prayer the people we are quick to forget—may our eyes be renewed to see your glory in those we have overlooked so that we might better honor your image in them.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet;
righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
God, may we be marked by a faith that seeks not to escape your world but to engage it. May we engage with curiosity—loving people enough to explore the “why” behind their suffering. May we engage with vulnerability—seeking to hear voices we have previously ignored because they are different, threatening, or make us uncomfortable. May we engage sacrificially—with the courage to consider the ways that we comply with, and benefit from, that which that brings suffering to others. Inspire us with new ways to live together so that all people may flourish.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him,
and will make a path for his steps.
God, you have given us so much—may we be good stewards of those good gifts. May we steward our time, our talents, and our treasure. And may we, too, steward our power. May we take seriously our responsibility to influence systems and structures for your kingdom. May we respond to your call to know and bear the burdens of those around the world who suffer, and may we have the wisdom to advocate for their good. In true justice and righteousness, may we follow the path you walk, O Lord.