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Prayers for Ethiopian Airlines flight crash victims

The World Council of Churches (WCC) held Midday Prayer for those grieving after Ethiopian Airlines flight disaster on 20 March. Prayers focused on grieving families, friends and colleagues who lost loved ones from UN agencies, the WCC and other organizations who perished in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on 10 March.

20 March 2019

*Prayer for International Organizations (Fr. Professor Dr. Ioan Souca)
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, you make nothing in vain and love all that you have made. Look in tender mercy on the leadership and staff of the international organizations and organizations that we lift before you on this day….… (1) the International Organization for Migration, (2) the World Food Program, (3) the UN Refugee Agency, (4) the International Telecommunications Union, (5) the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, (6) the UN Environmental Program and (7) the World Council of Churches. In our loss, enable us to find in you our refuge and our strength, and a very present help in trouble. Sustain us and deliver us from bitterness, despair and doubt of your love. Comfort us in our sadness. Uphold us with your strong love. Help us to face the future without fear, knowing that those who perished, and all whom they love, are in your hands; and that nothing in life, not even death itself, can separate any one of us from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

*Prayer for Spouses and Children (Rev. Nicole Ashwood)
O God, you lead us all in this life through the changes of time taking us eventually to the rest and blessedness of eternity. We ask, in your mercy to be near to the spouses and children of those whose lives were taken away in an instant. Holy Spirit, give comfort to each spouse and each child as they struggle to accept the deep loss of a husband or wife, a mother or father. Uphold these families in their moments of grief. Cause them to know that their loved ones are precious in your sight and that they live evermore with you. Cause them to be thankful to you that they were able to share in the lives of their loved ones, and help them to trust you at this time of sudden parting. We ask for you to be a father and mother to the fatherless and motherless and to be a constant companion through the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit to those who have been left without their life’s companion, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

*Prayer for Parents and Extended Family Members (Rev. Jin Kim)
God of all mercies, we ask of you this day to deal graciously with all the parents and extended family members who mourning because of the events of that fateful day. Help them to cast every care upon you so that they may know the consolation of your love. As we bring before you the mourning fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, we bless you still for the gift of each life was taken; for the precious memories of that will always abide; and for the assurance that for them death itself is past, and that they live evermore in your presence where there is fullness of joy. Lord Jesus Christ, as you took children into your arms, and lay your hands upon them and bless them; work in the hearts of each parent so that they may be comforted with the knowledge that you have called their adult children to yourself, and that you will keep them always in the arms of your love, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Prayer for Work Colleagues (Dr. Manoj Kurian)
O God, we were created to be in community, to work and live together. We thank you for giving us each other as a gift so that together, living in community, we can navigate the vicissitudes of life, with all of its changing scenes, moments of joy and moments of pain and heartache. In life, there is the sting of death which leaves us feeling robbed. As we mourn the loss of our colleagues, may our hearts not become embittered. As we struggle to find answers, might our struggle not be a moment for loss of faith but a moment for our faith in your divine providence to be deepened. In the midst of our tears, remind us that your son and Lord Jesus wept too at the death of his close friend. As we remember our colleagues, give us of your strength that we may take up our lives more bravely and seek to be more faithful in duty and more loving and helpful to others, following the examples of those who are no longer with us here on earth. And may we in our turn find in your great mercy the perfect and unending rest of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

*Prayer for Trauma Healing (Dr. Fulata Mbano-Moyo)
God of all, you are the giver of all comfort. As we recall the events of Sunday March 10, 2019, we shudder to think of what those final moments aboard that aircraft would have been like. When our imaginations seem to be getting the better of us, bring back to our memory the truth of your written word where we hear you saying to us ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you’ says the Lord. Open our mouths, and cause us to boldly declare this profession of faith: ‘He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom.’ We acknowledge that in the midst of life death is a traumatic event. It is a bitter taste in our mouths. Yet even as we taste the bitterness of death as we contemplate the death of our brothers and sisters, we also await that day when the bitterness of death will give way to the sweetness of the resurrection as we feast at the Lamb’s table. Until then bring healing to our scared souls whenever we remember the events of that day and our thoughts linger on those whom we love but see no longer. We pray you, grant them your peace; let light perpetual shine upon them, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Nation of Ethiopia, Kenya & Ethiopian Airlines (Mr. Lokiru Yohana)
Eternal God, you love us with an everlasting love and can turn the shadow of death into the light of a new dawn. We pray for the citizens of Ethiopia, the members of the local community surrounding the field where the plane crashed. We also pray for the nation and citizens of Kenya, the intended final destination. We lift before you the executives, leadership and staff of Ethiopian Airlines, especially the pilots and cabin crew members. We offer our prayers today too for all of the other nations whose citizens also perished. With each passing day, might the gift of time bring healing to the wounds caused by this tragedy. Grant divine wisdom to the leaders of these nations and airline that in this moment they will be overtaken with such compassion that they will weep with those who weep and seek to bring comfort and assistance to all those whose lives have been directly and indirectly impacted. We remember too, the engineers at Boeing and investigators, that their working together will result in improved air safety for all who travel and work in this industry. Hear us as we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

*Closing Prayer (Rev. Dr. Mikie Roberts)
Gracious God, we thank you that in the silence of these moments you have spoken to us of eternal things, that we have been comforted by your presence and your Holy Word. Help us to embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of eternal life which you have given us in your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask of you to support us each day of this earthly life, until the shadows lengthen and evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life over, and our work done. Then, O Lord in your mercy, grant us and those we love, safe lodging, holy rest and peace at the last; through our Lord Jesus Christ. And may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon us and remain with us always. Amen.


*The source for these prayers is the Burial Liturgy of the Caribbean Moravian Praise Liturgy Book (© 2016), adapted and expanded to reflect the prayer focus for this day.