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World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year, is an important opportunity when governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals around the world bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic and emphasize the critical need for a committed, meaningful and sustained response.

The global theme for World AIDS Day from 2011-2015, as selected by the World AIDS Campaign, is “Getting to Zero.” Backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

How to get your Faith Community Involved in Worlds AIDS Day

  • A 2014 World AIDS Day Liturgy, developed by the EAA, will soon be available in English. The liturgy will contain scripture readings and prayers that may be adapted to your local context.
  • Other EAA liturgies and worship resources from past World AIDS Days are available in the EAA’sHIV and AIDS Campaign resources page
  • Some EAA members and partners develop their own resources for World AIDS Day that may inspire your World AIDS Day events this year. They include:
    • The Christian AIDS Bureau of Southern Africa (CABSA) and the CARIS programme in South Africa highlight resources focusing on the Christian response to HIV at their website. These include Bible messages, prayers, poems, stories and liturgies.
    • The Balm Gilead has developed a number of resources around the National Week of Prayer for Healing of AIDS, observed in the United States in March each year. These resources include a guide on how to develop a sermon around HIV and AIDS and an online worship book containing liturgy, prayers, and hymns that may be used in World AIDS day services, Both resources may be downloaded here
  • Congregations and faith communities may also consider inviting a person living openly with HIV to be a guest speaker at a World AIDS Day service or event.

Reflect and pray with the ‘Live the Promise’ Advent Calendar

Continue your World AIDS Day reflections into Advent with an online devotional calendar in English, Spanish and French. Written by EAA members from around the globe, short devotions on current HIV issues will lead leaders in daily Biblical reflection and prayer from 1 December until 6 January.

You can visit the site daily at http://advent.ecumenicaladvocacy.org

This prayer follows the theme for the World AIDS Campaign (www.unaids.org), TAKE THE LEAD for World AIDS Day 2007. World AIDS Day is an appropriate time to consider the effects of this disease, apocalyptic in its scope, and how we as Christians are called to TAKE THE LEAD in becoming part of God’s promises in its midst.

Leader The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise

Come, Emmanuel, come.

             I will bring about justice and righteousness in the land.

Come, Emmanuel, come.

 My people will be saved and they will live in safety.

Come, Emmanuel, come.  Fulfill your promise.

adapted from Jeremiah 33:14-16

Song   O Come, O Come Emmanuel

As the group sings this song, a person brings forward a basket of empty pill boxes.  Or this could be one person with a basket of pill boxes and several others coming forward empty handed.  

 

Lament

A reader lifts up an empty pill box.

God of hope,

when are the days coming

in which everyone living with HIV

will have access to the treatment, care and support they need to live a productive life?

 

A second reader lifts up another empty pill box.

When are the days coming in which no newborn will enter the world already infected

because the mother couldn’t get the anti-retroviral drugs,

which prevent transmission of HIV from mother to fetus?

 

The first reader lifts up another empty pill box.

When are the days coming in which children don’t have to watch their fathers and mothers die because there was no nurse to administer his medication?

 

All:      When will governments keep the promises they have made in the declaration of                                commitment to overcome the AIDS pandemic?

When will our leaders keep the promises our governments have made?

When will take the lead to pressure for the keeping of the promises and to loving my neighbor as I love myself?
When will you keep your promise, God, for justice and righteousness?

 

The basket of pill boxes is placed on a table.

 

Sung Response            O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,

                                    that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

Reader 2:  Do you hear the lonely, mourning in exile,

the cries of a young girl in Lesotho who will never know her father’s hand,

the plea of a teenager in school at ‘Mabathoana forced to raise his sisters and                                    brothers,

the desperation of a grandmother near Little Flower school with 10 grandchildren                 to feed for whom there is only loss, only grief, only empty promises?

the cries of all God’s people, everywhere who suffer because of HIV and AIDS?

 

All:      When will drug companies keep the promise?

When will doctors and nurses keep the promise?

When will donors keep the promise?

When will we take the lead to pressure that these promises be kept?

When will you keep your promises, God, that your people will be saved?

 

The reader picks up a couple of pill boxes and hurls them angrily in a safe direction.

 

Sung Response                       

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer 
our spirits by thine advent here;

disperse the gloomy shades of night
and death’s dark shadows put to flight

 

Reader 1:         Can you see the dark shadows of death,

those daughters selling themselves to buy food,

those worrying about what will happen to their children,

those weeping in the night waiting for redemption?

 

All:                  When will the pastors and priests keep the promise?

When will churches keep the promise?

When will I take the lead to keep the promise?

When will you keep your promises, God, that your people will live in safety?

 

The reader sweeps some of the pill boxes from the table onto the floor.

Sung Response                        O come, thou Staff of Jesse, free

                                    thine own from Satan’s tyranny.

                                    From depths of hell thy people save

                                    and give them victory o’er the grave.

                                    Rejoice, rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

 

Reading:

The AIDS epidemic is more than 25 years old and we have never cured a single case.  Most people infected with HIV and AIDS are unaware that they are infected in spite of the ease of testing.  40.3 million persons are living with AIDS. Of these, 17.5 million are women and 2.3 million are children under the age of 15. Every day 8,500 people die of AIDS.  That means that each minute 6 more people die from the disease.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where our Basotho Sisters live, there are fewer than 10% of the world’s population but more than 60% of all those living with HIV live there   – 25.8 million people.

In 2005 alone there were 3.2 million new infections and 2.4 million adults and children died of the disease.

In Lesotho, the population has decreased from 2.2 million to 1.8 million because of the disease.

1 of every four adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are living HIV + or have full-blown AIDS. More that 97,000 children are AIDS orphans.

Sister Bathilda, the provincial of Lesotho, has said: “My country is dying.”

So, in solidarity and interdependence we SNJMs have been challenged by the Acts of the 32nd General Chapter to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Lesotho in ways suggested by our Sisters there.  This is our promise as a Congregation as individual Sisters.  How will we fulfill this promise?

Some time to reflect on the situation of HIV and AIDS in our world today

 Prayers of Intercession:  Spontaneously from the group

 Psalm of Response:   Psalm 25   (slightly adapted)

To you, O Lord,

I lift up my soul.

O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame;

do not let me be put to shame;

 do not let me be put to shame;

do not let my enemies exult over me.

Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all day long.

 The reader waits at this point for a couple of moments and then continues.

 for you I wait all day long.

for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord,

your mercy

and of your steadfast love,

your steadfast love

for they have been from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

according to your steadfast love remember me,

for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore God instructs sinners in the way.

God leads the humble in what is right,

and teaches the humble God’s way.

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,

for those who keep God’s covenant and decrees.

Suggested conclusion:

Leader:  Invitation to use the empty pill bottles on this World AIDS Day to in some way to assist in the crisis in Lesotho during this Advent.

Some examples

  • Commit to making a monetary donation to assist in one of the projects being supported by our Basotho Sisters;
  • Put in your pledge to lobby the government to increase its support of the various funding that is being raised world-wide to assist in responding to the pandemic;
  • Pledge to lobby the pharmaceutical companies to appropriate AIDS medications for children rather than simply dividing adult dosages;
  • Pledge to raise money through a March for AIDS in your local area,… etc.
  • Make a Christmas decoration out of the pill bottle with prayers for people living with HIV;
  • Put the pill box alongside the Advent wreath or Advent candles to serve as a center for prayer during Advent.

Closing prayer:

All:

God of abundance,

God of life

In your righteousness you make us part of your promise.

In your justice you call us to witness that your day of redemption is near.

As we fill these pill boxes with gifts   (or whatever people are asked to do)

make us signs of love coming near to those who need medicine,

to those for whom pills would be a deliverance,

deliverance to work on a job,

deliverance to dream of a future,

deliverance to bring up ones children,

deliverance to embrace, to kiss, to touch,

deliverance to love, deliverance to live.

We pray in the name of our redeemer, Jesus Christ, Amen.

This prayer service is adapted from one prepared by the Rev. Terry MacArthur for the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance www.e-alliance.ch 

 

 

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