Sunday, September 24, 2023

Laborers and the Vineyard


Today’s Gospel is a most familiar one. Many people have the reaction “that’s not fair” when listening to it.  But the story told is not the whole meaning.  This Gospel tells us of God’s goodness.  God accepts us as we are, for who we are, never asking us to be something we can’t.  We need to seek the Lord while He may be found, we need to call to him as we are.  God invites us, gives us opportunities, God gives us hope.  We are on the way; we need to show up and do God’s will and follow God’s way.

Whenever I hear the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah I recall the song Seek the Lord by Roc O’Connor

Seek the Lord whose mercy abounds; call aloud to God who is near. Today is the day and now the proper hour to forsake our sinful lives and turn to the Lord.

Seek the Lord whose mercy abounds; call aloud to God who is near.  As high as the sky is above the earth, so high above our ways, the ways of the Lord.

Seek the Lord whose mercy abounds; call aloud to God who is near. Open your heart to hear the voice of God, whose words, whose ways lead us to life.
Seek the Lord whose mercy abounds; call aloud to God who is near. Some day we'll live in the house of God; hearts full of praise for God's gracious love.

May we always seek the Lord whose mercy abounds and call to our God who is always near.


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Forgiveness and Repentance

 As we continue celebrating the Season of Creation let us follow our gospel's theme of forgiveness this day as we pray...

Litany of repentance

God of light, life and love, God of land, and sea, and sky, Who called creation into existence and wove it into a rich tapestry, a fine mat, a web of life

Your Spirit hovered over the face of the primordial waters, and was breathed into humankind after You made us equally in Your image. Your Word was made flesh and embodied Your divine love as it took root and bore fruit in us, restoring our relationship with You.

Yet we have not honored this relationship with You and the rest of Your Creation. We have disrespected the web of life We have devalued the fine ecological mat that You wove with so much love. We have uprooted Your tree of life and sold it as logs. We have forgotten that we sweat and cry saltwater and have polluted Your oceans and rivers… oceans that cry for justice and rivers that call to righteousness.

Instead of everything that has breath praising You, all creation groans in pain as trees and phytoplankton choke on carbon belched from our desire for more, and our care for less. All around we see the consequences of our ecological sin as we extract and exploit, as we defile and pillage our sister and brother creation: Heatwaves and wildfires, bitter winters, droughts and floods, rising sea levels and rising ocean temperatures, more extreme cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes

Yet we are blind Creation roars in pain Yet we are deaf You call us in Christ, to speak truth to power and peace to this planet, our common home Yet we are silent.

God of hope and healing, May your Rivers of Righteousness Wash away our apathy, our greed and selfishness and reveal the deep relationships You created for us with all creation. Nourish us with the water of life that restores, turning deserts of despair into oases of hope.

May the waves of Your embrace Transform us back into guardians of Your creation. May the currents of Your justice Carry us to Your lagoon of peace Where all creation may enjoy Life in abundance

We pray in the name of the one who came so that the whole cosmos may have everlasting life, Jesus the Christ, Amen.

(Rev. James Shri Bhagwan, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches)

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Remember and Pray


Tomorrow marks the 22nd anniversary of that day that changed the world forever – the 911 attack.  It was an occasion of hatred, deep pain, suffering and tremendous loss. Most people who experienced that fateful day could tell you every minute of that day.  They can tell you where they were and what they were doing.  I remember walking down the hall when a friend told me she just heard it on the news – the first attack at which our school went into a lockdown.  No one was to leave or allowed to enter.  I remember the fear my students experienced.  All were desperately trying to connect with their loved ones.  Many parents came to pick up their child since there was so much uncertainty and fear.

Each year the lights shine in Manhattan – two single beams representing the Twin Towers that were lost that day.  We take time this day to pause, reflect and pray for those who died, who were there, who were first responders and now there is a call to service on this day.  The effects of that fateful September morning continue to impact our world.  There are many who have perished since that day with 911 related illnesses.  Those who spent months on the pile looking for remains, possessions, evidence.

Tomorrow, whatever you do, take some time to pause and pray for those who perished that day.  Let us remember and pray for an end to all violence.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Season of Creation

         From our USA JPIC Team 

September 1: Day of Prayer for Creation


October 4: Feast of Francis of Assisi


Prophet Amos cries out “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24) and so we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out with and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity.

Our prayers, sermons and liturgies must call for justice not only for humans but for all creation. Justice, allied with peace, calls us to repent of our ecological sins and to change our attitudes and actions.

Righteousness demands that we live in peace, not conflict with our human neighbors, and building right relationships with all of creation. ‘Peace’ (shalom) involves not only the absence of conflict but positive, live-giving relationships with God, ourselves, our human neighbors, and all creation.

 Those Indigenous communities that recognize the sacredness of natural elements and so live as an embodiment of an interconnected way of life, expressing a partnership between people and the life of the Earth, have much to teach the rest of the world.

We are invited to join the river of justice and peace on behalf of all Creation and to converge our individual identities, of name, family or faith community, in this greater movement for justice, just like tributaries come together to form a mighty river.  As the people of God, we must work together on behalf of all Creation, as part of that mighty river of peace and justice.


Creator of All, From your communion of love life sprung forth like a mighty river and the whole cosmos came into being. On this Earth of overflowing love, the Word was made flesh and went forth with the life-giving waters proclaiming peace and justice for all creation.

You called human beings to till and keep your garden. You placed us into right relationship with each creature, but we failed to listen to the cries of the Earth and the cries of the most vulnerable. We broke with the flowing communion of love and sinned against you by not safeguarding the conditions for life. 

We lament the loss of our fellow species and their habitats, we grieve the loss of human cultures, along with the lives and livelihoods that have been displaced or perished, and we ache at the sight of an economy of death, war and violence that we have inflicted on ourselves and on the Earth.

Open our ears to your creative, reconciling and sustaining Word that calls to us through the book of Scripture and the book of creation. Bless us once again with your life-giving waters so that the Creator Spirit may let justice and peace flow in our hearts and overflow into all creation.

Open our hearts to receive the living waters of God’s justice and peace, and to share it with our suffering brothers and sisters, all creatures around us, and all creation.

Bless us to walk together with all people of good will so that the many streams of the living waters of God’s justice and peace may become a mighty river all over the Earth. In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ. Amen.