Yesterday Colombia’s government and Farc rebels signed a historic peace deal, bringing to an end a 52 year conflict, which has claimed 260,000 lives and displaced eleven million people. It’s a day of celebration in the Sanctuary, as well as in Colombia, because for the last four years this peace process has come onto our prayer board again and again…. at first it seemed to voice only an unlikely, left-field hope but now…
On Sunday, the general population will vote on whether to ratify yesterday’s peace-deal and – if they do – then the hard work of national forgiveness and re-building can really begin.
Colombia want to send a message to the world – fighting is not the way to win, and we pray that they will be heard in the places that most desperately need to grasp this truth and to believe that peace is not only possible – but essential – for the nations experiencing the most entrenched conflicts of our time.
We also pray that all Colombians will be able to do the hardest thing of all, described so poignantly by the Farc rebel leader – that they will be able to ‘disarm their hearts’. It is these words that have inspired our prayer for Colombia today – one, we hope you will join us in at this key time:
A prayer for Colombia
Oh Lord our God, source of all life
and every gift that is good –
how can we praise you for this?
For weapons laid down
and pens taken up to draw out
a clear and peaceful path ahead;
for fists unclenched
and opened out
to shake the hands of those they once threatened.
Oh Lord our God, source of all wisdom
and every decision that brings shalom –
how can we thank you for this?
For leaders who realise
that the hardest work lies ahead
as Colombia seeks to forgive and re-build;
and for a nation longing
for a fighting, competing world to hear
that their long years of conflict only made everyone lose.
Oh Lord our God, source of all reconciliation
and every relationship that is right –
can we raise our faith to ask you for more?
Let every vote marked down
by a precious, Colombian hand
be matched by a disarmed heart
ready to voice the mourning that must be heard;
to be generous with forgiveness, repentance and restitution;
and most of all, to move towards “enemies” with love.