Saturday, September 13, 2008

Praying Against the AIDS Pandemic

Last night I had the privilege of being asked to introduce the Prayer and Worship night and Princess Zulu which capped off a week of World Vision's AIDS Experience here in the western suburbs. Below is my intro.

Tonight we are coming together from many different traditions around some simple truths- that there is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

We are one body staring in the face of one great human tragedy, the pandemic of AIDS that has devastated our neighbors across this globe of ours.

The numbers are staggering- 8,000 people die every day because of AIDS. AIDS has created 15 million orphans worldwide, 11 million in Africa alone.

But the good news is that we are called to one hope and that is what this gathering is about…hope.

Tonight we stand united in prayer that God will intervene on behalf of those struggling with this disease. That he will awaken the church to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who scripture tells us was moved with compassion to bring a touch and healing to the hurting, the afflicted, the outcast.

Tonight we stand united in worship to sing praise to our sovereign God of compassion, love, mercy and justice. We worship him knowing that he alone can bring change and healing to this world as we are simply instruments of his peace.

Tonight we stand united to not simply come to a feel good service or an experience that breaks our hearts. But we stand united to develop compassion permanence that will move us to action to make a tangible and lasting difference in the battle against AIDS.

And we have with us a woman that knows all too well about the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic. Princess Kasune Zulu has not simply watched this tragedy unfold in her native country of Zambia, she has been personally touched when she was orphaned as a result of AIDS and finding out that she too is HIV positive. Her life now is committed to do everything she can to fight the disease.

Because of her tireless efforts, she now speaks around the world to encourage people to make a difference for children and families affected by the virus. She has taken her message to the United Nations, international AIDS conferences, the national political conventions, to President George Bush and other global leaders.

Her story is powerful and her message is clear, we must all do something to turn the tide.