Towards the end of September (2014) we met to reflect and pray on Peace and Unity. We now seem to be at a moment in history when the world is on high alert.
Forty years ago, Ebola was just the name of a river. It was a small waterway of no particularly sinister character that flowed through northern Zaire, not far from the village hospital where the first known outbreak of a new viral disease was centred. The Ebola virus is currently a global concern with many deaths. Each day seems to bring news of Ebola cropping up in different places. There is no standard treatment (other than isolating the infected and quarantining those at risk); nor is there yet an official vaccine. While there is panic, the Christian Church is active with the Anglican Church in Sierra Leone has provided land in Freetown for a specialist Ebola Isolation Unit.
The Black Death in Europe in the 14th century killed as much as half the population of the continent, somewhere between 75 and 200 million people. The Spanish flu of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people; many more than died in the First World War.
Ebola is very unlikely to become the next Black Death. Even with modern medicine, we haven’t rid ourselves of pandemics. HIV/Aids is the most recent pandemic – and avian flu was even more widespread.
Simultaneously, the terrorist movement known as ISIS continues its aggressive campaigns to conquer Iraq, Syria and other nations. The world is witnessing horrific events unfold and global leaders consider that ISIS poses a very real threat to international security. The governments of many nations have wrestled with engagement in a mission to bring this terrorist movement to a halt. Australia is among the nations engaged in this mission.
There are significant debates among people of faith in relation to “just war,” I do not propose to enter that discussion but rather to call us to prayer.
I ask your prayers for all people are victims of both the Ebola Virus and this conflict, all those who have been displaced and seeking refuge.
Like we did on the Day of Peace and Unity, let us turn to God and pray,
You love justice and you establish peace on the earth.
We bring before you the disunity of today’s world:
The absurd violence, and the many wars, which are breaking the courage
of the peoples of the world; militarism and the armaments race which are
threatening life on the planet;
Human greed and injustice which breed hatred and strife.
Send us your Spirit and renew the face of the earth;
Teach us to be compassionate toward the whole human family;
Strengthen the will of all those who fight for justice and for peace;
Lead all nations into the path of peace and give us that peace which the world
Who formed the world and all that is in it; who created humankind and offered
us your love for all time, call forth in us the desire for peace, the ability to live
together in unity, offering the hand of friendship over hatred, doing the work
of peace not war, speaking the voice of love not enmity, the desire for the
wellbeing of others before ourselves. We ask for the courage to speak out
against injustice and to see You in all humanity as we work for the common