Published: Wednesday, 01 February 2017 10:37

LITURGY NOTES FOR 5th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

5th sunday

Fifth Sunday of the Year A

February 5th 2017

 

Suggested formula for recognition of indigenous people and their land.
We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land
on which we stand.
We pay our respects to them and for their care of the land.

May we walk gently and respectfully upon the land.

or

light of the worldI acknowledge the living culture of the ……..people,

the traditional custodians of the land we stand on,

and pay tribute to the unique role they play in the life of this region.

or

We acknowledge the traditional owners and occupiers of the land where we are now gathered, (the Gadigal people of the great Eora nation,) and recognise that it continues to be sacred to them.

We hail them: as guardians of the earth and of all things that grow and breed in the soil; as trustees of the waters – [the seas, the streams and rivers, the ponds and the lakes] - and the rich variety of life in those waters.

We thank them for passing this heritage to every people since the Dreamtime.

We acknowledge the wrongs done to them by newcomers to this land and we seek to be partners with them in righting these wrongs and in living together in peace and harmony.

                    


 

 

http://americamagazine.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/media/2014/the_word/images/word-feb-3-ot5-web.jpg?itok=qDN7J6QU   Epiphany 5 Hindu Family GIving Thanks by Sea McKay              Savage, 2008 Tiruvanimayur, CHennai, India 

Give Peace a Voice

Shawn Gallaway, Daniel Barber

Come listen closely

The droning and the drum

Are calling us together

In rhythm with the one

To voice the greater vision

Moving through our minds

Into the open circles

That dreams the dream to life

 

Give peace a voice

Let our hearts be heard

Sounding our choice

To love and preserve

There’s a light in us all

A polished pearl

Give peace a voice

Uniting nations of the world

 

As millions let us march

Beyond the walls of war

With the power of prayer

Imagine there is more

Choosing for our children

The dance of the dove

Coloring the cotton skies

With the language of Love

The Peace Alliance

 

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading Isaiah 58:7–10;

Responsorial Psalm 112:1-9, (10)

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 2:1–5;

Gospel Matthew 5:13–16

 

Penitential Rite

§  Christi Jesus, you are the true light that enlightens all people: Jesus, have mercy.

§  Christ Jesus, you are the light of the world who gives light to those who follow you: Christ, have mercy.

§  Christ Jesus, your light must shine in the sight of people: Jesus, have mercy.

or

 

Opening Prayer

Loving God,

you call us your people

to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Give us a vigorous faith and a love that genuine,

so all may see our works and reveal your face to the all.

 

General Intercessions

Let us now pray to the God of light that we may truly become the salt and the light of the world. Let us say: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for the Muslim people who were targeted in Quebec this week: may we recognise that this outrage violates the image of God in them and denies the recognition of their dignity and the sanctity of life, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

·         We pray for the victims of all wars, especially the children who suffer and suffer when we put our faith in weapons and war: may we look to the Jesus present among us whose gift and call is to build peace between all people, we pray, Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for greater justice on earth: may governments and public officials make prioritise the needs of people who are socially deprived especially the aged, the sick, and those who are unemployed or underemployed, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for peace on earth: may world leaders put an end to words of hatred and threats of violence and revenge and seek peace and understanding through dialogue, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for the leaders of nations and all people who serve in public office: may they use their energy and wisdom for the common good of their people and peace in the world, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for nations in political turmoil: soften the hearts of all and allow for protest and civility in discourse on the way to peaceful transitions of power, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for those who most need our prayers: for those in the path of war and lacking in security that causes them to seek refuge away from their homes; ; for those without nourishing food, fresh water, adequate shelter, access to medical care, hope for the future, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

·         We pray for the sick: for the chronically and terminally ill; for all people who are weary in body and spirit and live with constant pain, we pray: Let your light shine in us in the darkness, O God.

 

Concluding Prayer: Loving and compassionate God, hear the prayers we offer today for our world, for those we may never meet and for those we love and hold in our hearts. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

Loving God,

Jesus, your Son, gives himself to us

in these signs of bread and wine

as our food and drink.

Help us to bear witness to him and

make us people-for-others

through our sense of justice and sharing.

 

Prayer after Communion

Loving God,

you have given us the salt and light

of your Word and the bread of life.

May we become a Christian community,

like a city of light on a hill-top,

to bear witness to your integrity,

love and justice in this world.

 

Parish Notices

February 11: World Day of Prayer for the Sick

February 11: Release of Nelson Mandela from prison (1990)

February 12: Commencement of the Freedom Ride (1965) – journey through NSW country towns to raise awareness of racism against Aboriginal people

February 12: Murder in Brazil of Sr Dorothy Stang (2005)

 

Further Resources

Sunday Dinner

Should Christ be incarnate today,

where would he feast?

At lunch with premier or bishop,

professor or priest?

 

Maybe we should investigate

more likely places?

Like sharing a pie with street kids

or hopeless cases?

Perhaps having a cheap pub lunch

with a tanker crew,

or with some tattooed wharfies

at a barbecue?

 

The friend of tax pimps, prodigals,

call girls and sinners,

won’t be dining at the Hilton

with this world’s winners!

Bruce D Prewer, from Beyond Words

 

The Lord's Prayer for Justice

Our Father (Mother) . . . who always stands with the weak, the powerless, the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the aged, the very young, the unborn, and those who, by victim of circumstance, bear the heat of the day.

Who art in heaven . . . where everything will be reversed, where the first will be last and the last will be first, but where all will be well and every manner of being will be well.

Hallowed be thy name . . . may we always acknowledge your holiness, respecting that your ways are not our ways, your standards are not our standards. May the reverence we give your name pull us out of the selfishness that prevents us from seeing the pain of our neighbour.

Your kingdom come . . . help us to create a world where, beyond our own needs and hurts, we will do justice, love tenderly, and walk humbly with you and each other.

Your will be done . . . open our freedom to let you in so that the complete mutuality that characterizes your life might flow through our veins and thus the life that we help generate may radiate your equal love for all and your special love for the poor.

On earth as in heaven . . . may the work of our hands, the temples and structures we build in this world, reflect the temple and the structure of your glory so that the joy, graciousness, tenderness, and justice of heaven will show forth within all of our structures on earth.

Give . . . life and love to us and help us to see always everything as gift. Help us to know that nothing comes to us by right and that we must give because we have been given to. Help us realize that we must give to the poor, not because they need it, but because our own health depends upon our giving to them.

Us . . . the truly plural us. Give not just to our own but to everyone, including those who are very different than the narrow us. Give your gifts to all of us equally.

This day . . . not tomorrow. Do not let us push things ort into some indefinite future so that we can continue to live justified lives in the face of injustice because we can make good excuses for our inactivity.

Our daily bread . . . so that each person in the world may have enough food, enough clean water, enough clean air, adequate health care, and sufficient access to education so as to have the sustenance for a healthy life. Teach us to give from our sustenance and not just from our surplus.

And forgive us our trespasses . . . forgive us our blindness toward our neighbour, our self-preoccupation, our racism, our sexism, and our incurable propensity to worry only about ourselves and our own. Forgive us our capacity to watch the evening news and do nothing about it.

As we forgive those who trespass against us . . . help us to forgive those who victimize us. Help us to mellow out in spirit, to not grow bitter with age, to forgive the imperfect parents and systems that wounded, cursed, and ignored us.

And do not put us to the test . . . do not judge us only by whether we have fed the hungry, given clothing to the naked, visited the sick, or tried to mend the systems that victimized the poor. Spare us this test for none of us can stand before your gospel scrutiny. Give us, instead, more days to mend our ways, our selfishness, and our systems.

But deliver us from evil . . . that is, from the blindness that lets us continue to participate in anonymous systems within which we need not see who gets less as we get more. Amen.

From The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI.

 

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Elie Wiesel

 

Breaking barriers to peace

God of all,

as we walk together,

Open our hearts

to your tenderness.

Open our minds

to your understanding.

Open our lives

to your challenge.

We are one people, many nations,

building hope through steps for peace.

One world with many barriers,

breaking chains so we dance free.

One voice that shouts for justice

shatters hatred, calls for change.

One God, one world, one people,

turning tables, share the feast.

Amen

Linda Jones, CAFOD

 

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.

Frantz Fanon

 

Poem: So Fragile as We Grow by Meister Eckhart

Eckhart

Someday you will hear all things applaud your wonder.
Life claps in awe of the Divine's performance.
When your veil is removed, you, dear --
you, everyone -- will see
that your being is
Holy.

Raising their children is the primary care and purpose
of some -- this is a blessed state,
for an oasis of love
is found in the
desert.

The heart only reflects the Sky when it is giving and
compassionate.
Who would want to stand before a mirror that was shattered,
and thus distorts our
beauty

that is so fragile
as we grow.

An oasis
for all life the soul becomes
when it is unveiled.

 

Once to every man and nation

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth and falsehood,

For the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God's new Messiah,

Off'ring each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever

Twixt that darkness and that light.

 

Though the cause of evil prosper,

Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;

Though her portion be the scaffold,

And upon the throne be wrong:

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow

Keeping watch above his own.

James Russell Lowell

 

 

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.

Dr Martin Luther King

 

To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Nelson Mandela

 

Compassion for the other comes out of our ability to accept ourselves. Until we realize both our own weaknesses and our own privileges, we can never tolerate lack of status and depth of weakness in the other.

Joan Chittister

 

Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

We do not live to win. We do not live even to finish. We live to persevere and to endure. Nothing more than this is necessary, but nothing less than this will do until that new heaven and that new earth come, the former things have passed away, the sea is no more, and the vision has become the reality.

Peter J. Gomes

 

You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

‘When Jean Vanier took two handicapped people into his house 20 years ago, he did something that many considered a waste of time and talent. But for him it was the concrete way from fear to love. He believed that by choosing the broken as his family, he followed the way of Jesus. Impractical, sentimental, naive? Would it not have been better for him to give his energy and talents to the burning issues of our time?

‘He simply did what he felt called to do, but today, 20 years later, young men and women from France, Holland, Germany, India, England, Israel, the Ivory Coast, Honduras, Haiti, Canada, and the United States are working together in countless homes to care for the handicapped. It certainly is not a new world order, or the end of wars and violence, or the beginning of a new foreign policy. But it is a light 'put on the lamp stand where it shines for everyone in the house' (Matthew 5:15).

Henri Nouwen, ‘Living in Joyful Ecstasy,’ Sojourners, August-September 1985

 

Hatred paralyses life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

The ultimate weakness of violence

is that it is a descending spiral,

begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar,

but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

 

Through violence you murder the hater,

but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate....

Returning violence for violence multiples violence,

adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.

Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

 

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.

Mahatma Gandhi, 1948

 

As Christians, we believe that we bear the image and likeness of God inside of us and that this is our deepest reality. We are made in God’s image.  However we tend to picture this in a naïve, romantic, and pious way. We imagine that somewhere insides us there is a beautiful icon of God stamped into our souls.  That may we be, but God, as scripture assures us, is more than an icon. God is fire – wild, infinite, ineffable, non-containable.

Father Ron Rolheiser, June 25, 2006

 

Please make all the bad people good

and all the good people nice.

Prayer of a child

David Hayward The Naked Pastor

 

Reflections on the readings

 

Jesus continually takes us back to the roots of true religion, our true connection with God…with its implications for our engagement/encounter re: people and environment. It is not about learning certain creeds, signing mission statements or doing specific spiritual exercises. After lifting up the mostly unlikely people (last week’s gospel) - the poor in spirit, the meek and the merciful, those who mourn and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted. There was also the call to ‘arise’, ‘to get up’. Jesus is speaking to each one of us and suggesting that each one of us has it within us to change our world; to enlighten the dark places of our world. Paul in the letter to the Corinthians is affirming and encouraging the ordinary people in the city. Corinth could be a rough place but those who were called were mainly poor rather than rich, the powerless rather than those with social status. Here we see the reversals that continually confront us in God’s world.

 

Living the Beatitudes involves being ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘light of the world - transforming the earth. The images reveal something to the disciples as to who they are. Through these two images Jesus shares what he is thinking and expects: certainly not to think always of one’s own interests, prestige or power. Though a small group in the midst of the vast Roman empire, the disciples are to be the ‘salt’ that the land needs and the ‘light’ the world lacks.

 

St. Teresa of Avila, had much to say about embodying Christ in daily life. John Michael Talbot in what his St. Theresa’s Prayer captures it here:

Christ has no body now but yours

No hands, no feet on earth but yours

Yours are the eyes through which He looks

Compassion on this world

Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good

Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world

Yours are the hands

Yours are the feet

Yours are the eyes

You are His body.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours

 

In recent days we have seen women (and men) ‘arise’ and find their voices and strength and inner power in solidarity all over the world. We have seen taxi drivers at JFK Airport refusing to pick up passengers as they stand in solidarity with protestors against draconian laws preventing Muslim people entering the country. We have seen kindness criminalised in Austria and Denmark but people continuing, despite the personal consequences, engaging with and helping asylum seekers and refugees. We have seen people in Fort Lauderdale risking prosecution for feeding the homeless and the hungry. We have seen 1000’s of people, including ex-servicemen, gather at Standing Rock with people who are ‘protecting’ their traditional lands from pollution. These people have put flesh on their beliefs but I wonder if any of them would see themselves as Jesus describes the disciples or us today. But let us not forget how compassion, human dignity, justice were criminalised when Jesus was crucified!

 

However, Jesus says that each one of us has it within us to change our part of the world and enlighten its dark places. Jesus’ ‘You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world’ are statements of fact – not ‘you could be, or should be’. Faith is useless if it does not somehow change the world. It is useless if it does not touch our neighbour for the better. God’s presence is manifested by acting here and now; proclaiming justice, peace and goodness. The Beatitudes illustrate God’s heart and the values of God’s Reign. Though always present and active we can hide God’s presence. The world can be harsh, dark and hard. It can seem uncaring. People can find it difficult to see beyond the harshness, the darkness, the hardness and the paralysing conformity of society when it does not mourn when people are hurting; when human rights are not protected; when it does not respond to injustice and violence with peace and reconciliation; when it does not go beyond the callous, winner-takes-all culture of competition.

 

Pope Francis has said that attributing salt and light to many Christians might be misplaced when they are seen by others as judgemental, intolerant, superior, rigid, nasty, racist, controlling, hard-hearted, hypocritical, look like sour-pusses, anti-homosexual or misogynist. Whatever wonderful things the church community may have to offer, if our good deeds are not seen, people feel unwelcome, the humanity embracing God is not experienced, when people do not feel safe; when faith is compartmentalised. Some Christians pride themselves on never mixing religion and politics but it seems that Isaiah makes clear that if this happens then their religion and their politics are suspect. The written word, legalism, conformity, mere administration and traditionalism cannot contribute to the world’s healing or transformation. Isaiah points out that piety and living by the written word does not bring about change. It is lifeless. God’s word must take flesh in each of us – frail as we might be. It is through our humanity, our frailties, even our cracks, that the light shines through. Fasting and prayer without justice do not lead to what God requires. The 58th chapter in Isaiah is a strident call to return to honouring God.

Why? Because this was happening:

Yet on your fast day you do whatever you want

And oppress all of your workers.

You quarrel and brawl and then you fast

You hit each other violently with your fists. (Is. 58:3)

But let there be a ‘return’ to God by:

If you open your heart to the hungry,

And provide abundantly for those who are afflicted,

Your light will shine in the darkness,

And your gloom will be like the noon. (Is. 58:10)

 

God loathes hypocritical and hollow celebrations; but desires holy, mutually helpful relationships. It is another way of talking about social justice.

 

Isaiah’s attack on conventional religion dismisses not only the practices themselves, but the motives of those who use them to create an image of piety.  God chooses one spiritual discipline above all others– the work of justice/ freedom, including any and all actions that result in the tangible relief of those in need; or to put it another way, any actions that make public life in the streets safer and more productive.  Matthew’s emphasis is definitely on specific ‘deeds,’ specific actions of kindness-charity-justice that are like ‘salt’ or ‘light.’

 

Isaiah’s exhortation to care for the poor and afflicted fleshes out what living the Beatitudes involves. He calls on us to ‘share your bread with the hungry,’ to ‘shelter the oppressed and the homeless’ and to ‘clothe the naked when you see them.’ We could add ‘provide security to asylum seekers’ and even Muslim people. These are outlined by Jesus throughout the gospel, especially in Matthew 25. For Isaiah, it is only when the people respond to actual human need that ‘light’ emerges. Like Isaiah, Jesus calls us to share bread with the hungry, clothe the naked and meet the needs of the afflicted, including those who are sick or imprisoned.

The scriptures continually remind us that worship, fasting and prayer are only authentic when they lead people to extend themselves for the sake of others (the hungry, the poor, the asylum seeker, the stranger and another marginalised or vulnerable person). For Isaiah, Israel’s transformation will not come about by infrastructure alone but the love expressed for those who are close to God’s heart, the poor.

 

This sometimes seems so remote from people who attend church regularly. This failure, according to Isaiah, makes our religion and our politics suspect. We still hear about boat people being criminals. We still hear about asylum seekers getting more government help than ordinary citizens.  How few question the truth of such statements? We are meant to draw out goodness in the world by supporting what protects, nourishes and enhances life, while rejecting what limits or destroys it. There are times when we cannot let things continue as they are: neglect of the poor, mistreatment of asylum seekers, violence against women, military spending, etc. We are meant to be agents of change – but many are failed by our silence and indifference. If we cannot bring about more humane conditions for all people then maybe we are ‘useless’ for building up God’s reign! We might feel that we lack influence to effect change and affect the world and resist the powers (governments and corporations) that run the world’s business. We are not on our own but united to God and a community of believers. We are called within the church to reflect right-relationships with each other, respecting the ‘hidden God’ in each other (women, gay and lesbian people, poor people, marginated people) and project it outwards to the world.

 

We cannot let our prayer, though not insignificant, let us feel that is all we need to do or that we are okay with God. Prayer must be grounded in concrete action and not sentiment.

 

The metaphors of ‘salt’ and ‘light’ come together on something very important. Salt is useless if it remains isolated in a container. Only by coming into contact with the food and when dissolved in a dish, can it give flavour to what we eat. The same thing happens with light. If it is enclosed and hidden, it can't shed light on anyone. Only when it is amid the darkness can it enlighten and guide us. A Church that is isolated from the world can be neither salt nor light.

 

Pope Francis sees the Church today as often closed in on itself, paralysed by fear, and too alienated from problems and suffering to give flavour to modern life and offer the genuine light of the Gospel. His reaction was immediate: ‘We must head for the periphery.’  He keeps stressing, I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a church concerned with being at the centre and then ends up by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.’

 

Francis' call is directed at all of us: ‘We cannot passively and calmly wait in our church buildings.’ ‘The Gospel invites us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others.’ He wants to introduce into the Church what he calls ‘the culture of encounter’ if the church is able to heal wounds and warm hearts. God’s people ‘restore’ the ‘breaches’ in society.  The gospel is done in public!  Let’s remember that a grain of salt doesn’t make a lot of difference, and even one well placed light, will not make a city visible in the dark, but doing it together, living in loving community are key elements of our witness to the world.

 

On Living Wide Awake: A Prayer

Mark Sandlin Patheos July 29, 2016

trying to pray

Good and gracious God,

Awaken us.

May we see
violence,
oppression,
hatred,
hoarding,
power,
and
privilege
with eyes wide open.

Even as we’ve make some progress,
assuring more equality for some
and enlivening a sense of
righteous resistance
against the abuse of power
in others,
we have continued to
live in an all too routine
awareness of the places
in this world
where people
needlessly suffer and are abused.

Aware,
but not significantly motivated
to risk our own
abundance or wellbeing
in order to make the world
better for us all.

Awaken us
from our false assumption
that tells us
we can continue on that way
and hope to make a better world.

Awaken us
from our denial
of the reality that
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Awaken us
to the reality that
far too many suffer from the injustice
of not having their basic needs met,
their fundamental human rights met;
clean water,
enough food,
safety,
a roof under which to sleep,
access to heath care,
the right to be treated with dignity,
the right to be treated equally,
freedom from slavery,
freedom from discrimination,
access to education,
reasonable privacy,
life,
the pursuit of happiness.

Help us to not only recognize these rights,
but to recognize that when any lack in them,
it is a threat to all of your Creation.

Awaken us
and encourage us
to pursue access for all people
to those basic human rights…
… and may we “not be satisfied
until justice rolls down like waters
and righteousness
like a mighty stream.”

And in the dark times
that we will surely experience
as we confront
those who wish to hold on tightly
to their power and their privilege,
may we be a light
to one another.

Awaken us
to the reality that the
love,
kindness,
joy,
hope,
peace
and grace
that we offer to each other
are not only
the only truly valuable
things in this life,
but they are the means
through which
we can all work
to create a better
future
and a better
world.

So, awaken us…

Awaken us to each other.

Awaken us to the systemic damage
that occurs every time
even one person
is abused, oppressed or marginalized.

Awaken us to our connectedness.

And awaken us to the possibilities
already present
in this new year.

Amen