Lectionary Selection: Matthew 5:21-37
Prayers for Japan:
Thank you for who you are.
Thank you for being a God that sees us not for the rules we follow, but what is in our hearts.
When the rules only say, “do not be mean,” help us to be intentionally and especially kind. When the sign says, “do not litter,” help us to pick up even the trash that is not ours.
When you instruct us to not seek vengeance, help us to truly forgive.
Help us to serve you with all our hearts.
We live in a world where courts, laws, and judges have the authority to decide what is “just” and what is “right,” yet too often these human judgments fail to reflect true justice and righteousness, which comes from you. Teach us true justice and righteousness.
We pray for the people who are hungry, the communities that are marginalized, and the environment that suffers at the hands of people seeking to make a profit.
Teach us to be good stewards, good servants, and good neighbors, to not only recognize the value of every individual but to actively make space and invite them in.
Teach us to follow you from the inside out.
Entonces le fueron presentados unos niños, para que pusiese las manos sobre ellos, y orase; y los discípulos les reprendieron. Pero Jesús dijo: Dejad a los niños venir a mí, y no se lo impidáis; porque de los tales es el reino de los cielos. Y habiendo puesto sobre ellos las manos, se fue de allí. Mateo 19:13-15Read more
Long-term Mission Co-Worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, was instrumental in coordinating humanitarian relief during and in the years following the 2011 Fukushima “Triple Disaster” of tsunami, flooding, and nuclear contamination. Since then he has facilitated an exchange of Christmas cards between U.S. congregations and those of our partner church in Japan. Jeffrey’s letter to participating churches is also an invitation to any new congregations to take part in this Advent season. You can find stories and current information on what is happening in Japan from Jeffrey’s blog http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/. Those interested in participating can contact Jeffrey (email@example.com) or Global Ministries East Asia Pacific Executive, Derek Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org).Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 18:1-8
Prayers for Japan:
Today we remember those in Japan who, like the widow in today’s gospel lesson are pleading for their rights.
We remember those who still suffer from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima 8 1/2 years ago - those who still are unable to return home to their beloved communities due to dangerous radiation levels. We stand with the plaintiffs who are deeply hurt and dejected by the recent court decision that ignored their voices and failed to bring justice to those that suffer at the hands of the powerful.
We remember the many migrant workers in Japan who are working long hours, and for refugees waiting for amnesty, anxious about their future. We pray for the rights of foreign workers and refugees in waiting.
We remember those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. May they find the hope and will to live. We also lift up the families of those whose illness led them to take their own life. May they be comforted and be freed from the blame that families often face. We pray that all those who struggle with life may be embraced by love and understanding.
In Jesus Christ, we pray,
This edition of the summer newsletter has many interesting articles and unveils a newly redesigned look for the publication. Articles in this newsletter include a reflection on ARI's first study trip to Africa, an article about working with local governments in Kenya, a look at sustainable agriculture and climate concerns in Vietnam, a profile of the work of recent graduate Thomas Matthew, and the reflections of a young adult service volunteer among many other intriguing reads.Read more
Lectionary Selection: Luke 12:13-21
Prayers for Japan:
God, who speaks to us through parables,
Jesus told a parable about a rich fool who looked upon his blessings and then went about building himself a new barn where he could store his crops. Life had been good to him so he told himself, “Relax, eat, drink, and be merry,” for he was pleased with what he had. But the fool didn’t know how to see beyond himself. He didn’t know how to be rich toward God. God, grant us the vision to look beyond ourselves, the wisdom to live for your kingdom, and the courage to live toward a future of blessing for all of your Creation. AmenRead more
This Lenten season, my mind is stuck on an image of a dilapidated house that I saw in Fukushima. The house is still standing, but it is beyond repair. On first sight, it does not look habitable. Yet when evening comes, there is a light that goes on in the kitchen toward the back of the property. The house was damaged by the earthquake eight years ago. The trees in the small yard are overgrown. The front of the house is a mess. I would not have given the house much thought had it not been for my Japanese colleague pointing it out.Read more
March 11, 2019 marked eight years since Japan’s “Triple Disaster.” Communities and individuals are still marked by this disaster and continue the work of healing. Mission Co-worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, shares some reflections from a recent trip he took to Fukushima with Derek Duncan, Area Executive for East Asia and the Pacific. Part one can be found here. This is part two:Read more
2018 was a tumultuous year in many ways. Personally, I had to say goodbye to several dear friends, one of whom was Teruko Enomoto, the founder of the Bazaar Café.Read more