Peace for Nigeria
First Sunday in Lent, February 21
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. — Ephesians 2:14
Jesus is our peace. He gives us the ability to overcome those things which divide us. Hostilities exist all over the world. They occur not only between different nationalities and tribes, but also between people of the same group.
The word for peace in Igbo (Nigeria) is udo. The African country of Nigeria has been terrorized by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. According to the United Nations, over the past decade 36,000 Nigerians have been killed and two million resettled. In December 2020, the group abducted 300 boys from a secondary school in northwest Nigeria. That Christmas Eve, the terrorists killed 11 people in the Christian village of Pemi, burned a church, kidnapped a priest, stole Christmas gifts and medicines, and set fire to a local hospital. Six years ago, it kidnapped 200 schoolgirls on Christmas Day. In his 2020 Christmas message, Pope Francis prayed for international support for peace in war-torn regions of the world, including Nigeria.
Nigeria needs our prayers for peace.
Peace calls for an absence of violence. Peace cannot be brought into existence by force. Peace is the result of justice and the establishment of just relationships.
Almighty God, who loves justice and gives peace, help us live according to what you have revealed to us. Bless the people of Nigeria with an end to violence and the capture of innocent children. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.