Month: November 2021

Prayer for Peace | Nov 28, 2021

Prayer for Peace | Nov 28, 2021

This Prayer for Peace was written and offered by Evangelist David Brock in
the November 28, 2021, Community Connections online worship
on our first Sunday of Advent (HOPE). It was offered as a
Prayer for Peace and Hope for those who struggle during the holidays.

These are holy days, God. This is a sacred time and season.  But that does not always mean it is a happy time, or a joy-filled time or a peaceful time, as you well know.

Death of loved ones happens even on Thanksgiving; a mother dies in childbirth on Christmas Eve.  Divorces are finalized during this season when we long for joy, hope, love and peace.  A baby is born in a manger, yes, and wise men and shepherds and angels herald the birth, but somewhere a child hurts during advent—of malaria, of mistreatment, or struggles with mental or physical debilities.  Someone has lost their job and there is no feast. Someone is so alienated from family that there is no invitation to share the feast. Not one.

Life continues with all its risks and unpredictability, God, even in this sacred season.  The Christian calendar year is finished. A new year Christian year begins with the desire for the birth, the return of the one who we call Messiah and Savior and Teacher and Emmanuel.  Hope springs in this winter season. Come thou long expected Jesus, come and set us free–  All of us.  The rich and the poor. The happy and sad.  All of us.

God, we understandably want our days to end in reconciliation, in an embrace, in a solution to the conflicts of living—like in a Hallmark movie.  Of course we want that and I think you understand.  Of course we want snowflakes falling freshly and presents under the tree, and a table groaning under the weight of a feast. Who wouldn’t want that and why not? Happy Holidays and a Merry Season to us; the merriest of all.

But, we pray tonight for those who mourn and weep at Christmas.  These may not be holidays for them in the traditional sense. But these are holy days, sacred days; these are especially their days.  These are days to declare: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

May all those people, God, especially those people (maybe right here and right now in this service) know that this is their season. This is the season when mourning may or may not lead to dancing, but this is the season of your strength for their weakness. It is the season when our pains are carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.. This is the season when you say to those conflicted or bereaved: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God.”

This is your holy season. These are holy days because they are your days. These are the days when the lonely and those that mourn are comforted. In Jesus name, Amen.

Dialog About Non-Violence

Dialog About Non-Violence

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to the GPNW Mission Center for tackling a very complex topic at its conference on November 6—Non-Violence.  For those of you who may not have been there, the conversation revolved around a resolution brought to the conference by Scott Amos, a member of the Portland, OR congregation.  The text of that resolution can be found HERE.  Ultimately the resolution did not pass.  It failed by a margin (I think) of 58% to 42%.  But I wish to lift up Scott and the rest of the Mission Center because of what I considered to be a real engagement on the topic.

Indeed, the topic of non-violence is a complicated one.  I’ve wrestled with it a lot, and I don’t think I have ever found a complete and satisfying solution.  The topic is so complicated that the world conference of 2018 chose to highlight it by offering world-wide perspectives.  That world conference referred a similar resolution to the first presidency for guidance to the church, and the church is still awaiting a response from the presidency.  I, for one, am anxious to hear that response.  I expect it to answer for us some (but probably not all) of the questions we wrestled with ourselves earlier this month:

  • Are there situations when violence is not objectional?  Like self defense or bringing a population to order or capital punishment?
  • Who can appropriately judge the difference between police violence and the necessary use of force?
  • Does violence done by the state look different between ethnic, social, or cultural groups?  It certainly looks different to members of different countries with different histories of state-sponsored terror.  We heard that at the 2018 World Conference.
  • At what point does a demonstration turn to a riot?  Is there such a thing as a justified riot?
  • Is there such a thing as a justified war?
  • And ultimately (at least for me), can there be peace without justice; and can there be justice without violence?

I am humbled in the face of these questions.  I try to use Jesus as a model to write my moral code, but it’s hard.  He’s such a dynamic figure.  I can’t imagine Jesus participating in a criminal execution.  He actively discourages such an act in John, chapter 8.  Yet he goes into the temple and drives out the merchants with a whip in John chapter 2.  Was that a riot?  Jesus repeatedly refuses to be the military Messiah the people expected him to be, yet he takes mercy on the Centurion in Matthew, chapter 5 (and Luke, chapter 7).

In other words, I am proud of our church for having this discussion.  And Scott Amos, I think we should keep talking about this.  We may not yet all agree, but I believe the strength of a community rests in the ability to ask hard questions and stay united . . . not in its ability to avoid, deflect, or otherwise disengage from the things that really matter.  Let us be grateful we have a community that continues to ask difficult and meaningful questions and rest that we sometimes leave the difficult answers in the hands of God.

Giving Tuesday is Just Around the Corner

Giving Tuesday is Just Around the Corner

As originally posted on Community of Christ Webpage.

Join us on 30 November!

Giving Tuesday is a global event that raises millions each year for a variety of organizations. Community of Christ has participated for several years, and we have watched with gratitude as contributions have grown.

A generous matching contribution of $250,000 has been pledged this year. For example, when $25.00 is contributed to Worldwide Mission Tithes that $25.00 becomes $50.00.

Any donation helps! 


Donate to Worldwide Mission Tithes on Facebook and by mail. Contributors also can give through eTithing and through text by sending a message to 1-844-964-1444.
We will share contribution updates on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Thank you, in advance, for helping us celebrate Giving Tuesday!

Opening Prayer | 2021 Collins Summit

Opening Prayer | 2021 Collins Summit

Sean Langdon offered the following prayer to open the annual
2021 Collins Summit, sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon,
on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. This year’s Collins Summit focused on
“Christian Nationalism: Exploring the Dangerous Union of Church & State.”

Oh, Holy One, Sacred Guide, Loving Parent,

Whether it be physically present in this space or connected by your Holy Spirit through the power of modern technology, what a blessing it is to be in community tonight. To Learn. And to Grow together. But also, to continue the uncomfortable but necessary journey of deconstructing our fears and prejudices and the lies that our history has taught us and make way for truth to be born. Truth that comes from listening. Truth that comes from awareness. Truth that inspires an intention to seek forgiveness for the sins, not only of our own, but of those who have come before us.

God, we know that much harm has been done in your name. We know that your name has been used in ways that have brought fear, and pain, and distress, and God, yes, even death, to your children and this earth. We confess of the ways that we might have been players of this sin in the past and in the present, whether it be directly so or standing by and ignoring your nudge to stand up, speak, and do something about it. We know, O God, that this sin that I speak of is often perpetuated by religion and people who claim to follow you, but it is not of you. So as a people of faith may we not only confess of what has been and what is, may we commit to you and to our brothers and sisters and non-binary siblings in communities near and far at this time, and always, to do better. To be better. To build better. And again, to always listen better.

May we open ourselves now to letting your Holy Spirit not only flood the places that we gather from tonight but also the vessels of humanity that is each and every one of us. May we be open to the ways in which the spark of the Divine is igniting in us a new but continued sense of urgency to live out the holy text from the Prophet Isaiah that informed the mission of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 4.

“For the The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And just as this text was Christ’s mission statement, may it be ours as well.

Oh God, there is much darkness in your land but there is also hope and light. May our eyes be open to the realities of the world around us but with a resolve to respond in ways that upholds the dignity of story and person and concern.

Oh, Holy One, I’m reminded of a beloved hymn that we now sing often in my faith community. May the text from that hymn be our plea and resolve at this time. 

Come and bring light to a people in darkness. Come, set us free from the chains we have made. We are your people, the flock that you tend. Lord, open our eyes once again.

To the ones brokenhearted, To the plight of the poor, To the innocent children: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

To the victims of violence, To the ones who seek justice, To those sitting in prison: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love. 

When a color divides us, When the darkness surrounds us, When we choose to look elsewhere: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

To those full of life’s sorrow, To the needs of the lowly, To the ones who seek peace: Open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love. 

To those suffering illness To those trapped by addiction, To those lost or forgotten: open our eyes. Teach us compassion and love.

Come and bring light to a people in darkness. Come, set us free from the chains we have made. We are your people, the flock that you tend. Lord, open our eyes once again.

May it be so. Amen.

To watch the 2021 Collins Summit, click here:

From Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon:

At the 2021 Collins Summit we explored the challenging topic of Christian Nationalism, the belief that the United States is defined by Christianity, and the government should work to keep it that way.  Our speakers Kristin Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, and Kaitlin Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God offer their unique perspectives on Christian Nationalism, helping us to understand it and imagine a better way forward.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira Extra Text
Cape Town, South Africa