The PCUSA is preparing for one of the high points on its church calendar: United Nations Day, celebrated this year on the Sunday nearest October 24. In anticipation of this great church festival, it has made some resources available to enhance your congregation’s worship (what of is for you to judge). For instance, we have this “Prayer for Peace in our Time,” from Peacemaking Through Worship, Volume 1 (it’s not ascribed to any author, though it might be from Neville Chamberlain):

O God, Our Father, O God, Our Mother:
we pray for all your children on earth,
of every nation and of every race;
that we may be strong to do your work.
We pray for the Church in the world.
Give peace in our time, O God.
For the United Nations, the World Court, and for all governments and their leaders,
give peace in our time, O God.
For worldwide agencies of caring which bind wounds and feed the hungry:
give peace in our time, O God.
For all who seek to transform systems that wound
give peace in our time, O God.
For all who work for justice and peace:
give peace in our time, O God.

Then there’s Satish Kumar’s “World Peace Prayer,” which isn’t actually addressed to anyone, and so may be more of a mantra than a prayer:

Lead me from death to life,
From falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
From fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
From war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world, our universe.

Shannon Parks-Beck of the Seattle Presbytery has a “Prayer for United Nations Day”:

Merciful and life-giving God,

We long for a world where justice and peace thrive
We want to be proud of our communities, our countries, our world
And, we know that we are your instruments in bringing that peace

Ground us in a counter-cultural hope that has power to transform us and our world
For we are a generation prone to skepticism and self-centeredness
We are overwhelmed with our over-scheduled lives

Remind us that we are first humans on this planet
Then nations, tribes, religions, families
Help us to plant and water the seeds of peace
From our personal spirituality to our engagement in civic and political life

We give thanks for those leaders who call us to our best selves,
Who offer a vision of an involved and compassionate world
Who do not run from sacrifice or dismiss the powerless
And who call us lift our gaze to see find you and ourselves in the other

Return the church to our prophet, Jesus, who called us into community
to care for the poor, to welcome the stranger, and to set the oppressed free.


There’s more, but you get the point. The interesting thing to me is both how vague all these prayers are, how devoid of any particularly Christian content, and how child-like in their faith in the UN. The UN has, as anyone who actually follows what goes on there knows, become an extraordinarily corrupt institution whose primary purpose, aside from providing perpetual employment for a coterie of international dandies, is to offer a platform for the world’s demagogues, anti-Semites, and haters of freedom. Yet folks like this still act as if all good things will, if we just wish for it hard enough, flow from the largess of Turtle Bay.

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