Prayers for World AIDS Day (part 2)

•December 1, 2009 • 1 Comment

Click here for Part 1, with links to various liturgies and other resources.

Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them.  Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy.  Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

- “For the Poor and Neglected”
 from The Book of Common Prayer

Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.  Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ, rest your weary ones.  Bless your dying ones.  Soothe your suffering ones.  Pity your afflicted ones.  Shield your joyous ones.  And all for your love’s sake, amen.

- Augustine

When all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love and your strength.  Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things.

- Ignatius of Loyola

Lord, I would pray for the Church; help us to love one another.  Help us to be family, your body.  Help us to show your love within and without the Church.  Help us to communicate your love, your gospel, your mercy and justice.  Help us to sacrifice our comfort for your will and truth.

- Anonymous member of 2006 Rhetoric of AIDS class, Wheaton College

 

Prayers for World AIDS Day (part 1)

•December 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Oh God, you are the creator of all. Today we your creatures prostrate ourselves before you in supplication. We have no strength. You who have created us have all power. We bring you our seed and all our implements, that you may bless them and bless us also, so that we may make good use of them by the power, which comes from you, our Creator.

- A Zambian prayer (from, A CRS Prayer Service)

The following are some links to resources on prayer for HIV/AIDS.  Several have been specifically designed to be used by individuals or groups on or around World AIDS Day.  There are a few short liturgies, texts of written prayers, and some guides to information and more resources.

I find these types of material helpful, because it can be so hard to pray about something as big, broad, and diverse as the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  It can help to have the words of others to reflect on and internalize.  And as I do so – even as millions of people around the world pray on this World AIDS Day – there is this encouragement, this comfort:

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believersin harmony with God’s own will.

- Romans 8:26-27 (New Living Translation)

Advent in a Time of AIDS: “Keep the Promise” Advent Calendar - available in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian
(Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)

World AIDS Day Liturgy - available in English, Spanish, French, German
(Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)

A Service of Wholeness for World AIDS Day  (PCUSA)

The Picture of Compassion: A CRS Prayer Service (Catholic Relief Service)

World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil of Hope (Catholic Relief Service)

Prayers for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (Church World Service)

Prayers for women living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS (Church World Service)

Prayers for children orphaned and made vulnerable to HIV/AIDS (Church World Service)

HIV/AIDS Prayer (National African American Catholic HIV/AIDS Task Force)

Global AIDS Prayer Points (World Vision)

Resources (Global AIDS Prayer Partnership)

AIDS-Related Worship Resources (Program Committee on Education for Mission, National Council of Churches)

(See part 2, with a few favorite prayer texts.)

South Africa Unleashes Plan to Slow AIDS Crisis – NYTimes.com

•May 1, 2010 • 1 Comment

South Africa Redoubles Efforts Against AIDSBy CELIA W. DUGGERSOVANE, South Africa — South Africa, trying to overcome years of denial and delay in confronting its monumental AIDS crisis, is now in the midst of a feverish buildup of testing, treatment and prevention that United Nations officials say is the largest and fastest expansion of AIDS services ever attempted by any nation. The undertaking will be expensive and difficult to pull off, but in the past month alone the government has enabled 519 hospitals and clinics to dispense AIDS medicines, more than it had in all the years combined since South Africa began providing antiretroviral drugs to its people in 2004, South African health officials said.

via South Africa Unleashes Plan to Slow AIDS Crisis – NYTimes.com.

Speak out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 on Facebook

•December 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

From Chicago speaks out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=195596417907&v=info):

The Ugandan Parliament has tabled a bill called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, and will be voting on it in the near future. A wide cross-section of people, including people from many faiths, sexual identities, and nations are opposing this bill because it criminalizes consenting behavior between adults, and calls for life imprisonment and even the death penalty for some homosexual “offenders.” We want to speak out in a civil but powerful manner to reinforce that all people are created in God’s image and deserve respect and liberty.

Christians are encouraged to add their voice in opposition to this bill by joining this Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=198541255168.  It may be doubtful how much influence such a group can have, but in my opinion it is very important for Christians to express their values at times like this, especially when the actions and statements of some may cause non-Christians to misunderstand the positions and priorities of our faith, or of God.

Speaking out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

•December 10, 2009 • 3 Comments

This is truly appalling.  According to TIME magazine’s Zoe Alsop, an exceptionally harsh “anti-homosexuality bill” is being proposed in the African nation of Uganda, with frightening consequences.

The medic shifted a battered fedora over his eyes. “I am the gay doctor,” the physician whispered to me, making sure nobody around heard. [...] In a matter of weeks, the Ugandan doctor’s admission to TIME could land him in jail and his patients on death row. An anti-homosexuality bill now before Uganda’s Parliament would include some of the harshest anti-gay regulations in the world. If the bill becomes law, the doctor, who asked that his name not be published, could be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting homosexuality.” In one version of the bill, his sexually active HIV-positive patients could be found guilty of practicing acts of “aggravated homosexuality,” a capital crime, according to the bill.

I would hope that it goes without saying that this is a cruel and dreadful idea.  It should also go without saying that this would be a disaster for anti-AIDS efforts in Uganda.  Time and time again it has been demonstrated that oppressed or marginalized groups — people who have to hide within their society — are at special risk for HIV, especially if they are already at increased risk for other reasons.  A law like this has disaster written all over it, even aside from the immense moral objections.

Disturbingly, these political developments in Uganda seem to have been supported by certain American Christians.  Put bluntly, that horrifies me.  While I only recently heard about this story, apparently it’s been brewing for months now.  Rick Warren of Saddleback Church — who has been very involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS among American evangelicals (admirable) and has developed a great deal of social and political influence in some African countries (more problematic) — only recently spoke out against the bill, after coming under considerable pressure.  I could say all kinds of things about my thoughts on Warren’s political involvement, but I’ll confine myself to this: as someone who has been and continues to be extremely vocal, this was not the time to be silent.  (You can read a message Warren gave to Ugandan pastors, condemning the bill, on another blog.)

I hope that other Christians will join me in speaking out against this bill, and praying for God’s love to prevail among His people around the world.

Changing advice on HIV treatment

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

According to BBC News:

The World Health Organization is changing its advice on HIV drugs, asking that they be given sooner and to breastfeeding mothers with the virus.  Experts say the advice is based on the most up-to-date information available and will cut infection rates and save lives.  But it will mean many more people needing treatment, which will cost more money and time.  An estimated 33.4 million people are living with HIV/Aids. …

>> BBC News – The World Health Organization changes HIV ‘drug advice’

Progress to universal access: maps from UNAIDS

•November 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

UNAIDS has produced a very cool set of interactive maps that showcase various AIDS-related trends and statistics around the world, focusing on progress to universal access.  The image below is just one of the many fascinating displays.  Find more here.

 
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