Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:11
As we prepare for Easter, we cannot celebrate life in Jesus without acknowledging the pain and suffering around us. We cannot be prostrate at the foot of the cross without looking up to see the nails that tore through our Savior’s flesh. How then can we worship God freely and truly when vicious human desire tears through humanity as a whole?Read more
El diablo entonces le dejó; y he aquí vinieron ángeles y le servían. Mateo 4:11
Mientras nos preparamos para la Pascua, no podemos celebrar la vida en Jesús sin reconocer el dolor y el sufrimiento que nos rodea. No podemos postrarnos al pie de la cruz sin mirar hacia arriba para ver los clavos que atravesaron la carne de nuestro Salvador. Entonces, ¿cómo podemos adorar a Dios con libertad y verdad cuando el deseo humano vicioso desgarra a toda la humanidad?Read more
Last week, the only regional ecumenical institution in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pacific Theological College (PTC), celebrated the induction of its new principal, the Rev. Dr. Upolu Lumā Vaai. Rev. Dr. Vaai hails from the island country of Samoa.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 21:25-36
Prayers for Fiji:
Creator God, Lord of the land and sea, we are grateful for the beauty of the world. We see your hand working miraculously in everything that we have touched and defiled because of our greed. The ocean used to roar in praise and awe at your marvelous and majestic work. But now it roars in pain, its surface becoming warmer evermore that it spews out unpredictable storms that have swallowed our people without mercy.
The land cries for help, bleeding from the exploitation of our governments and corporate organizations in the name of economic development. We are seeing the signs of our greed. For many of us in the Pacific, these are the last days. Our homes will be taken away by the ocean, our language, cultures, and identity will soon forever disappear from the face of earth.
But Lord, our hope is in you. Our strength is in our vulnerability. That when it seems like we have lost everything, we have a voice – a voice that swells deep from our weakness. Our conviction and faith in you causes us to rise despite our insignificance in terms of population, we rise, we rise above the odds and fight for our homes, our future generations, and our earth.
We pray Lord that you continue to be beside us, walk with us, swim with us, and cry with us. And may the day come that our tears be dried and hearts comforted, knowing that efforts are not in vain. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died to make everything new. Amen.Read more
It is winter in the south. Winter in the tropics is not decorated with snow or below-zero temperatures, but rather cool winds and beautiful sunshine graces the Pacific. For the people of the Pacific, especially in the south and central Pacific, winter is a time for celebration. This is because from November to April we have our cyclone season. During this time, we have excessive rainfall and floods, lots of landslides and rough seas resulting in many of our seafarers going missing at sea. In the month May our winter begins, and with it, gentle sunshine for cultivating new land and planting our yams and other root crops essential to the diet of Pacific islanders. It is also nice to have the cool breeze of the tropical Pacific lowering the heat.Read more
The churches in the Pacific are standing beside the people of Kiribati (an island nation in the northern Pacific, south of Hawaii) in a very trying and painful moment in their maritime history. On January 18 the ferry MV Butiraoi (pronounce pushy-rah-o-ee) left the island of Nonouti (pronounce nor- nor –oush-ee) for the capital of Kiribati Tarawa. The ferry was carrying 72 adults, 13 high school students, and 10 elementary school children. None of the children survived the ordeal.Read more
Con el reino de Dios pasa lo mismo que con un tesoro escondido en un terreno. Cuando alguien lo encuentra, lo vuelve a esconder; y después va muy alegre a vender todo lo que tiene para comprar el terreno y quedarse con el tesoro. El reino de Dios también se parece a un comerciante que compra joyas finas.”Mateo 13:44-45
Asistir al Sínodo General de la UCC y la Asamblea General del DOC este año abrió mis ojos a las similitudes que existen en la misión en todo el mundo. El llamado a la reunión desde los púlpitos y resolución tras resolución apunta al corazón del Reino de Dios. El escritor del evangelio de Mateo nos brinda una definición del Reino de Dios que resuena en lo que hacemos todos los días. Nosotros—a igual que el granjero, el comerciante, el pescador—buscamos diariamente cosas que nos proporcionan el vivir, una vida. Y cuando encontramos lo que produce la abundancia de vida, cambiamos el anclaje, para usar una terminología del Pacífico/Oceanía.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Matthew 13:31-33; 44-52
Prayers for Fiji:
Move our feet to newer grounds, drop our anchors in new waters, and bring us to new businesses every day, Lord. May our hands find every existence of injustice and overturn them to release the treasures and pearls so often oppressed by the privileged few. May your Kingdom come, and surround every act of mission we employ. In Christ Jesus’ name. Amen.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:44-45
Attending the UCC General Synod and DOC General Assembly this year opened my eyes to the similarities that exist in mission worldwide. The rallying call from pulpits and resolution after resolution aims at the heart of God’s Kingdom. The writer of Matthew’s gospel gives us a definition of the Kingdom of God that resounds in what we do every day. We - like the farmer, the merchant, the fisherman - search daily for things that provide us with a living, a life. And when we find what produces the abundance of life, we shift anchorage, to use a Pacific/Oceania terminology.
As we prepare for Easter this year, we cannot jump into a spirit and atmosphere of celebration and thanksgiving for the grace that has brought us salvation without acknowledging the pain and suffering around us. We cannot prostrate at the foot of the cross without looking up to see the viciousness of the nails that tore through our Savior’s flesh. How then can we worship God freely and truly when vicious human desire tears through humanity as a whole?Read more