A CLWR prayer for the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Gracious God, we have many human concerns which prevent us from serving you.

We look for comfort and convenience and are blind to the costs to others.

Help us to focus on your kingdom come, and give us strength to deny ourselves for the sake of your world. Amen.

Many thanks to Rev. Steve Hoffard, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON, for contributing this month’s prayers.

A CLWR prayer for the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

God of Revelation, your good news comes to us in the midst of ruling empires and false gods.

You created this world and everyone and everything in it belongs to you.

Often it is a broken world because we have messed it up. You are on a mission to make it whole again.

Allow us to partner in that mission. Have us show the world that you want enemies to be friends, the hungry to be fed, and walls we have built torn down.

May we reveal you by our actions to free whatever binds and holds the world from being all that you created it to be. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Steve Hoffard, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON, for contributing this week’s prayer.

A CLWR prayer for the tenth Sunday after Pentecost

God Incarnate, you came into the world so that all people might experience wholeness and abundance.

Help us to set aside the need to lift ourselves above others.

May we instead recognize the identical love in your eye for each of us.

When we cannot, bring us to your table anyway, and show us healing. Healing—possible from even the crumbs.  Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Steve Hoffard, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON, for contributing this week’s prayer.

It is Enough for Today

Please read this message from Dina Khoury Nasser a nurse from Augusta Victoria Hospital volunteering in Gaza. You can support these brave health professionals from AVH at http://clwr.donorshops.com/product/F261499/emergencymedicalcareforgazacivilians.php

She writes:

Today is day 6 in Gaza, it all starts getting to you. Yesterday we finally had some time to go out for a tour with friends of AVH. Homes were destroyed, our friends’ homes were destroyed, pharmacies, schools; a blatant violation of the Geneva conventions. I was looking out of the car window at all the damage, but was not comprehending all the devastation I was seeing yet. I so tiered from working in the operating rooms I still could not engage. I was decompressing after all the stress, I was still detached.

I went around with my colleague Dr. Haytham accompanied by our friend Dr. Yahia from Gaza. We started the Shajaieh neighborhood and Hay Al-Tuffah. The destruction the smells, I could see his pain. He showed us where he was born and where all is children were born. He said “they wiped out our memories of our own homes and childhood”. I could see him take in a deep breath: “it is enough for today”, he added and went silent for a good while.

All of a sudden, I was back in reality again, I was in the scene, living the scene. Now I can see the destruction all around and even beyond. What will this mean to families and people who lost so much; so much beyond compensation or repair.

Only today I realized what was around the corner from where we worked. We drove past to see the site of a Wafa Hospital: total destruction unrecognizable. The site included the old hospital building , the new hospital building, an old peoples’ home, a disabled children centre, and a nearby a school shelled . What in the world is this? How can it be happening? Next to all this a huge home with the family sitting outside looking, hoping, talking, but the smell of rot and flies is all around. Their faces look anxious reflect bewildered minds: could it be that someone is still under all this? And then mumbling words of denial: maybe it’s the smell of cats or animals crushed beneath.

We reached Shajayieh. It looked like images of Hiroshima. No words can describe the scale of the devastation. I could not focus anymore. It is a scene of human heroism having to withstand the shelling of this civilian area. But it is also a crime scene sanctioned by international silence, complacency, and mediocrity.

As we approached a group of people mostly children ran up to our car thinking we are the ambulance coming to the rescue as they needed to identified body parts. We got out of the car and faced the public we did not dare take out our cameras, people started telling us their stories the children the women until we came to the home of one great-grandmother who had lost her son and all his family. Now they were digging up her daughter who herself was a grandmother. They were sure probably the body of her daughter is next to her; it was: pieces of a body. Hearing the great grandmother relate her story moved the emotions and made me realize that this is the reality of Gaza for the coming weeks. In the OR it was easy to shut out emotions and let the adrenalin work its way into action.

We waited with the people until the ambulances arrived the stench of the site was cruel. I remembered a man sleeping in the hospital who had told me on the first day of arrival: Where do I go? Have you seen Shujaiyeh? Now I have seen, and he will not find a house

The children were proud. One did not have shoes on his feet, but they related the heroic stories of this fight, and how the Israeli army went running and leaving their carriers behind . In fact the borders were just there in front of us, and the camera in the sky was watching us.

We were taken later to a hill in the liberated part of Gaza were Gush Katif once stood. We were thanked for our efforts by the local teams and offered lunch. We met up with our AVH colleagues from the south who had done a similar tour visiting Khuzaa were the many assassinations by the Israelis took place.

We were sweating from the heat in the bus, all we could see was destruction to our left. To our right was the beach of Gaza. It did not look as refreshing and happy as I remember it. The coffee shop was there on the beach, but now it was a site in memoriam to the youth killed while watching the world cup.

We finally got back to Shifa Hospital. I asked my colleague Shabaan to come and meet us as we went out to get something for injured child Hanin to cheer her up . We went to a toy shop, a lady there asked if she could buy something for the hospital children to cheer them up. I showed her what I got. She bought some an gave them to me and to deliver them to the hospital .

We went to see Hanin. Her face looked more swollen and her hands warm. She had a fever. She thanked us for the colorful poster. I hung it up so she can look at it with a balloon hanging there, and a teddy bear, some toys were already there. Once more she asked me about my daughter and wanted to see her picture. I could not pull up one of Haya’s (my daughter) so I promised her to come tomorrow and show it to her. Her dad arrived and she asked him about her injured mom. She said to me: I hope she will be OK . I later found out that Hanin still has a third sister in the hospital being treated from shell burns and she was undergoing surgery tomorrow for a muscle transplant. I hope she does not lose her arm. I asked her dad what is happening. He said they will send her to Scotland for surgery.

I went to say goodbye to my colleagues in the OR and met a boy being brought in for wound debridement. He was in a lot of pain. I looked at his foot; it was gangrenous. I am scared he told me. I asked if it was painful and he said yes. When I asked him his name, he said: Omar (same as my son’s name). I said to him: I am Um Omar 9mother of Omar). I myself a few seconds to recollect my emotions, and I knelt closer to him and assured him that they will give him some medicine in the vain that will put him to sleep and he will not feel the pain.

I stepped out of the theatre and called my friend Shaban hoping he will bring me a balloon and toy for Omar , as soon as Shabaan answered the phone the tears choked me. It was too much too bear. These kids survived the shelling: Omar will lose his limb; Hanin might too. Their pains and disabilities have just started.

I asked Shaaban about Scotland. It will take 6 months for any transfers. I hurried to my computer to find Magda my colleague a surgeon from Scotland I know she will help.

It was time to go back home. Can I really leave? Do I want to leave. Will I ever be able to leave? Will these scenes from Gaza ever be behind me or will they be ahead of me, in my mind’s eye. Everywhere I will see injustice, I will relive my experience in Gaza.

Dina Khoury Nasser, MPH, RN

Posted by: Tom Brook
Community Relations Director

A CLWR prayer for the ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Daring Jesus, you call us to reach out and venture into unknown territory.

You do not promise smoothing sailing, but you do promise that you will travel with us through the storms and that we will find calmer water.

Give us the courage to step beyond our fear to discover “truly you are the Son of God.” Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Steve Hoffard, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON, for contributing this week’s prayer.

A Noble Mission

Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) on the Mount of Olives is a Lutheran World Federation sponsored program. AVH has been a significant Lutheran presence in Jerusalem for nearly seventy years. The facility treats patients from the West Bank and Gaza in a variety of specialty health care fields. AVH CEO, Dr. Tawfiq Nasser reports what volunteer medical teams from AVH are finding during their humanitarian visits in Gaza.

From Gaza our team writes:

07:30 am:

The ambulances kept arriving last night, shelling shuddering the still air of Gaza. Fifteen dead, and over 50 injured arrive. There are people sleeping all around us in the hospital, on the floors, in the corridors, homeless, hopeless, with no families.

Volunteers in the hospital do nothing but mop split blood covering the floors. The smell of blood is the only odor. The atmosphere is overwhelming as you encounter the massive stories of sorrow, pain and loss. But our presence with them and next to them gives us a sense of strength and fulfillment.

A lady approaches us who knows AVH well , her son is on dialysis and was treated at AVH. The child is having kidney problems, and is in the hospital. Her brother and his three sons are war injured, she is here attending to them and to her sick son. Next to them in the ICU lays their uncle who is also injured and lost his 7 children to this cruel war.

07:40 am: in 10 minutes we lived a human tragedy you do not encounter in a lifetime.

Today, two of our doctors are in Khan Younes south of the Strip, heavy engagement, shelling, bombing. We are attending to 11 severely injured casualties in the ICU at Nasser Hospital but cannot move them anywhere. It is too dangerous.

In the hospital:
Two casualties await yet another surgery, one of them a 19 year old and the other is a 37 year old lady whose father was a cancer patient at AVH. A 9 year old boy is in the ICU attended by our pediatric surgeon. A new case arrives today.

Pharmacy, finance, and staff volunteers prepare another load of medications to go to Gaza awaiting coordination to cross the border. In the meantime, more staff are calling the Director of Nursing requesting to volunteer.

This is a snapshot of AVH and its staff in Jerusalem, fulfilling the noblest mission to the poor and oppressed as a flagship program of the Lutheran World Federation in the war-torn occupied Palestine.

You can help Augusta Victoria Hospital in its response to this humanitarian crisis. Donate today. http://clwr.donorshops.com/product/F261499/emergencymedicalcareforgazacivilians.php

Tom Brook
Community Relations Director

A CLWR prayer for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost

God of abundance, you have created a world with plenty for all, giving us all that we need.

You say, “Do not fear,” and we do not listen. We let fear convince us we live in scarcity, and that there is never enough. We take more than our share.

Give us ears to hear Jesus’ words: “give them something to eat.” May that Word inspire us to action, feeding all who hunger without fear. Then amaze us with all that is left over. Amen.

Thanks to Rev. Steve Hoffard, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kingston, ON, for contributing this week’s prayer.