Headlines from NPR Online for Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The Bible reading for today is the first Beatitude from Jesus’ most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount. There are pockets of intense suffering in our world. One of those is an area of northern Nigeria. This area has suffered intense pain and deprivation because of the actions of Boko Haram. The residents certainly qualify to be Jesus’ “poor in spirit.”
What It’s Like To Come Home After Fleeing From Boko Haram
In 2014, Boko Haram seized the town of Gwoza in northeast Nigeria, killing hundreds of people. The insurgents declared that Gwoza would be the seat of their self-proclaimed caliphate. It was a perfect place for them, protected by a mountainside, with caves and tunnels for hiding out.
The terror network’s fighters held the town for only a few months before the Nigerian army drove them out. Gwoza is now firmly under military control. Some residents who fled have returned. And there’s been an influx of newcomers who’ve been uprooted, often multiple times, by the violence of Boko Haram.
Even though their hopes of controlling a swath of land across the northeast have been dashed, the eight-year-long Boko Haram insurgency has driven more than 2 million people from their homes in northeast Nigeria and killed an estimated 20,000. And the suicide bombings continue.
Uwani Musa Dure, 25,fled Gwoza after the first Boko Haram Raid of 2014, and recently has returned. She is one of the scores of mostly women and children who are living at a settlement for the displaced in Gwoza, called 20 Houses camp.
Her return is tinged with great sadness. During the first Boko Haram attack on the town, Musa Dure’s 10-year-old son, Umaru, and eight-year-old daughter, Hadiza, were both abducted by the group, she says. Also missing are Musa Dure’s mother, her brother Ibrahim and her sister Fadimatu, then 14. She says these family members were kidnapped.
Readings from Sermon on the Mount for Wednesday, July 12, 2017
My plan is to alternate readings from the Sermon on the Mount with those from the prophet Jeremiah in the blog. Chapters five through seven of Matthew’s Gospel contain Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5.3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
As we pray God’s promises of God, let’s pray for the millions who are living in unimaginable suffering as a result of war and conflict. Let’s ask that God intervene on their behalf with blessings that can only come from him.
Prayers for Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Dear God, you have always been the hope of the poor and vulnerable. Please bless the people of northern Nigeria, as only you can do.