Prayer for World Refugee Day

June 20 is designated by the United Nations as World Refugee Day — a day to commemorate the strength, courage and resilience of refugees around the world. MCC offers worship resources to mark World Refugee Day with listening, learning, prayer, and giving. The following intercessory prayer was written by Brian Dyck, MCC Canada Refugee and Migration Coordinator. May you be inspired to offer hospitality and hope to refugees. 

 

Refugee

Prayer of Intercession

Our loving and compassionate God, we know you grieve

where there is violence,
where there is oppression,
where there is hatred
in the world.

We know you stand with the refugees in our world today, just as you stood with our ancestors in the faith who were compelled to flee their homes,

like Moses,
like Ruth,
like Jeremiah,
like Paul,
and even like Jesus and his parents.

We pray for comfort for those who mourn. We hold before you

those who have lost their homes,
those who have lost their communities,
those who have lost their families.
We grieve with them and long to reach out to them
to bring your healing comfort.

We pray for peace, O God. We pray that those who bring war will change their ways and beat their swords into plowshares. We pray for meaningful reconciliation in broken communities where hate is sown in the soil of prejudice and watered by our indifference.

We pray for courage and wisdom as we look for ways to be your agents of comfort and peace in a world that needs your holy and healing touch. We pray this in the name of Jesus. AMEN

 

 

Bill C-262 and living into a new covenant

By Diane Meredith,  Co-Coordinator of MCC Canada’s Indigenous Neighbours Program.

It’s Wednesday night in early May at St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto.  I sit with reams of people in a nearby park, seeking solace from the busy streets and basking in the long-awaited warmth of spring. This day has been long in coming as ice storms are barely behind us. A talk on the Anishinaabek understanding of the sacredness of protecting the waters is about to begin inside the cathedral. I pull myself away and dash inside, surprised to find myself seated among a crowd of some 60 or so of us on this path of “reconciliation.”

Nancy Rowe, Giidaakunadaad, a traditional knowledge keeper and Anishinaabekwe (Anishinaabe woman) of the Credit River, begins to share her wisdom about the traditional territory around Lake Ontario/Niigaani-gichigami. Before she begins, Rev. Evan Smith of Toronto Urban Native Ministries (TUNM), extends her hand and offers her a red pouch of tobacco, as is the tradition when greeting an elder or someone offering wisdom. Nancy reaches out and accepts the pouch of tobacco—and a covenant is sealed.

I can’t begin to capture the fullness of Nancy Rowe’s teachings rooted in decades of oral history spoken by elders across Turtle Island. But when she shares this knowledge, I feel a loosening of the grip of a deep skepticism on my heart about the “reconciliation road” the churches profess to travel with Indigenous Peoples.

tobaccoHer explanation of this seemingly simple custom of offering tobacco breaks open a window into a winding long road of the history of the Anishinaabek worldview, including creation stories, forms of spirituality, and governance. Even in its enormity, we begin to grasp that her story is but a glimpse into an expansive worldview so many of us know nothing about. It is however apparent that the meaning of this act—of extending one’s hand to another to offer sacred tobacco—is “covenant.” It is a commitment made between the partners to honour ways of governance and the protocols of living in right relations between and within nations.

The act of sharing tobacco to seal a covenant, often through pipe ceremonies or through the exchange of pouches of tobacco, is a long held ancient Indigenous tradition. It was an act that was extended by Indigenous peoples to the settlers in their first meetings. It seems as if these agreements were made with sincerity. Yet tragically history tells us they were as readily broken with a ferocious greed that explains where we are today.

When this tobacco (in Ojibway called “Semah,” one of the four sacred medicines) is extended and accepted, a spiritual covenant rooted in reciprocity (mutually agreeing to give up something to create something else) is activated, says Nancy. “I am here,” she says, “away from my grandchildren, because I believe this teaching with you is also very important…We are the only ones…humans, who don’t follow the original instructions from Creator as to why we are here… Everything in creation before us agreed to help us being here to fill our purpose… But are you willing to give back? Is there reciprocity?” she challenges.

Bill C262 posterOn May 29th MP Romeo Saganash’s Private Member’s Bill C-262 will be read for the third time in the House of Commons.  Soon after, it will be voted on. The Liberal Government states it will support the bill. This bill calls for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This declaration was drafted by Indigenous Peoples worldwide over a 30-year span.  Consisting of 46 articles, covering all aspects of life, UNDRIP is a universal international human rights instrument that outlines the minimum standards governments should provide to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples. Bill C-262 will ensure that the Government of Canada, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, takes all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the rights as outlined in the UNDRIP.

Tabled in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls to Action called on the Government of Canada, civil society, and the churches to implement UNDRIP in at least twelve of its articles. In 2017 Anabaptist Leaders in response to the TRC Call to Action #48 said: “In our ongoing efforts to seek right relations with our Indigenous neighbours, MCC also commits itself to using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a guide for right relations and reconciliation. We affirm the principles of self-determination, equality and respect embedded in this Declaration…”

Nancy Rowe’s teachings remind us of the sanctity of covenants based on reciprocity, and the importance of respecting the spirit that dwells within and between these agreements. The treaties, she explains, were a simple example of ancient systems of Indigenous governance and natural laws that were shared with newcomers. “What are you doing to support Indigenous-led healing initiatives of Creation and our society? Everything is about reciprocity and relationship. The enemy of life is greed,” says Nancy.

Like the warmth of summer after long winter storms, justice for Indigenous Peoples is too long in coming. As Ovide Mercredi, Cree leader and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has stated, “The days of the status quo or business, as usual, will not lead to reconciliation.”[1]

Indigenous hands are being extended once again to settlers – here and now. The passing of Bill C-262 into law will ensure the rights of Indigenous People are respected. Bill C-262 is an opportunity to live into a new covenant that will break the inertia and the broken promises of the past. When enacted into law, it will become a dwelling place for the spirit of right relations to thrive between the Creator, God’s creation, and one another.

Rebekah and Jane Sears during march

TRC event in Ottawa 2015 MCC photo by Alison Ralph.

With the passing of Bill C-262 many changes will come; and society, government and church will most surely have to accommodate them. The road to reconciliation demands such change. But I am fully confident that, in this act of reciprocity, all partners in this covenant relationship will benefit for generations to come.

 

 

[1] Kathleen Martens, APTN News “Ovide Mercredi report rips Ontario Law Society on handling of Keshen file,” March 24, 2018.

 

The power of apology

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that his government would make a formal apology for Canada’s failure in 1939 to provide asylum to the 907 Jews who were fleeing Nazi Germany on board the MS St. Louis; 254 of those Jews later died in the Holocaust.

ms st. louis

Refugees aboard the St. Louis as they arrive in Belgium, 1939 COURTESY AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE

When the formal apology is issued later this year, it will be the 5th one Trudeau has made to a group of people since his government was elected in 2015.  The other collective apologies include:

  • May 18, 2016 to descendants of passengers of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese vessel carrying 376 Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu passengers who were denied entry into Canada in 1914;
  • November 24, 2017 to former residential school students in Newfoundland and Labrador (they were not included in the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement);
  • November 28, 2017 to LGBTQ Canadians, especially civil servants, and members of the military and security services, for “state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection.”
  • March 26, 2018 to current leaders of the Tsilhqot’in nation for the 1864 hanging of five Tsilhqot’in chiefs who were acting to defend their land.

According to Trudeau, he has made these apologies to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and to provide the possibility of healing for survivors, descendants and their communities.

Not surprisingly, Trudeau’s apologies have evoked much debate. Among the many questions and challenges posed are:  How can one generation apologize for the mistakes and failures made by a previous generation? Do these apologies (and the compensation associated with them) open the floodgate of demands for more apologies? Does too much apologizing cheapen the apology?  Aren’t apologies simply “shallow, empty, meaningless” acts?

It is important to grapple with these challenges and to avoid the pitfalls of bad apologies. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge the power of apology.  If offered with integrity and sincerity — and based on profound listening, solid research, careful wording, and a commitment to make amends for the harmful behavior — an apology can be an important turning point in a longer journey of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation.

For people of Christian faith, apologies should be a no-brainer. After all, at the centre of Christian faith is a commitment to the One who calls us to repentance and new life; who forgives our sin and urges us to forgive the sins of others.  An apology can be a vital symbol of acknowledgement, confession and repentance. It can contribute to forgiveness and even reconciliation.

Churches and church institutions should always be ready to offer apologies for acts of moral failure, even if those actions happened many years ago. Yet as Jeremy Bergen points out in his book, Ecclesial Repentance, in 2000 years of church history, it is only in the last century—in particular, the past 25 years—that churches have issued apologies for their own actions.

Indeed, churches still often resist acknowledging and making apologies for past failures. Just recently, the Pope declined to issue an apology for the Catholic Church’s involvement in Indian residential schools here in Canada. His refusal prompted the House of Commons to ask him to reconsider. And as the Hon. Hunter Tootoo, MP for Nunavut, stated during debate: “An apology is not only the right thing to do but is the Christian thing to do.”

Mennonite Central Committee Canada –  the relief, development and peace agency of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches – has offered three formal apologies in its 55-year history.

500_anniversary_columbus

The first, in 1984, was offered to Japanese-Canadians for the ways in which Mennonites in British Columbia had benefited from the confiscation of land belonging to Japanese-Canadian citizens interned during the Second World War. The second was offered to Indigenous people in 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas. It acknowledged that Mennonites had denied the full humanity of Indigenous people, remained silent about the cruel treatment inflicted on them, and sanctioned the conquest of their land.

The third apology dates from 2014, when MCC Canada, together with several Mennonite and Brethren in Christ denominational leaders, offered an expression of regret at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Edmonton. The leaders uttered remorse for the participation of their communities in attitudes and acts of assimilation, paternalism and racism.

With the first two apologies, MCC established a special scholarship fund, and an education and social enterprise fund, respectively, to demonstrate its commitment to help make things right.  With the third apology, the signatories simply emphasized a pledge to deepen relationships and to work for reconciliation.

Time and history will bear witness as to whether MCC’s apologies were authentic, meaningful and contributed to healing and reconciliation, or whether they were just empty words. They will do the same for the Prime Minister’s apologies. Perhaps a regular reminder of these apologies is a way of ensuring they do not simply disappear into the “dustbin of history.”

Ultimately, there is power in apology. Those who say “we are sorry” with heartfelt sincerity and appropriate actions validate those who have suffered deeply. They contribute to renewed relationships and to healing, peace and reconciliation. They demonstrate, not weakness, but strength.

May there be more such apologies.

By Esther Epp-Tiessen, Public Engagement Coordinator for MCC’s Ottawa Office.

Our voices, our rights

By Miriam Sainnawap, Co-Coordinator of MCC Canada’s Indigenous Neighbours Program. She is Oji-Cree from Kingfisher Lake First Nation, Ontario.

Every spring, I travel to New York to attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). I join hundreds of other Indigenous people from around the world as we gather to raise our voices about our collective rights as Indigenous peoples.

UNPFII is an advisory body to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to address Indigenous issues, particularly economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. This year’s 17th session theme focused on “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to land, territories and resources.”

UNPFII #2

Miriam (2nd from left) with friends at UNPFII: Matt Leblanc (Mi’kmaq-Acadian), Erica Littlewolf (Northern Cheyenne) and Sam Leigh (Anishinabe).

As a young indigenous woman observing at the UNPFII, I am only beginning to recognize the long and ongoing struggle for respect for Indigenous rights at the UN.  The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), passed in 2007, has been instrumental of bringing Indigenous solidarity worldwide and has demonstrated a significant shift in thinking with respect to the international recognition of Indigenous peoples, rights and claims.

But the UNDRIP remains a  non-binding document,  and governments are not legally obligated to ensure the protection of Indigenous rights.

Canada is one example of a country dragging its feet on respecting Indigenous rights. Canada’s colonial history of policies and laws, in its relationship with Indigenous peoples, has been repeatedly criticized both nationally and internationally. The UN Human Rights Council regularly calls on Canada to stop violating Indigenous rights. But there remains within Canada a significant tension about what it means to honour Indigenous rights.

At one level, there is  concern about the compatibility of certain elements of UNDRIP and how they challenge Canada’s constitution.

At another level, there is simply an underlying and unspoken racism in Canadian society. Indigenous rights are seen to pose a threat to the status quo and to threaten people who benefit from the status quo. What is good for Indigenous peoples is understood to be bad for non-Indigenous people. Indigenous peoples are therefore seen as undeserving. We need to get past seeing my rights as a threat.

It is an important call for all Canadians to urge the government to uphold their obligation to the UN Declaration and influence it to respect Indigenous rights.

UNPFII #1

UNPFII in session.

The remaining challenge of Indigenous peoples is achieving political participation and inclusion within the UN structures. Indigenous peoples have been able to participate in different political arenas today, especially through the UNPFII, but the question remains: what it is we want to achieve and how can we have broader influence.

Hearing from various leaders, I was struck by the theme of how  all Indigenous peoples identify our relationship to the land and water. Around the world, water is threatened by mineral, oil and gas exploitation. How do we protect and ensure the well-being of safe drinking water. Without access to our lands and water, how can we conduct ceremonies to heal ourselves, our families, and our communities?

We all need to recognize our collective responsibility to protect the earth and remind others to help restore the balance and harmony of all humanity and its creation. The earth does not exist to serve us, but it sustains and gives meaning to life, and it supports the continuity and vitality of securing our livelihoods and our future generations. We need to care for it.

The UN Declaration is a tool to help address the ongoing refusal to respect  rights that matter to us. It is a mechanism through which we can be  recognized as human beings with rights.

UNPFII #3And the UNPFII is a place where Indigenous people can support one another and hold space for our relatives in the ongoing struggles for recognition of our rights.

As I left New York, after the conclusion of the UNPFII, I was grateful:

For the incredible strength in our people;

For the support extended to all the people present and for holding space for our relatives;

For the rights which matter to us, recognizing our inherent responsibility to promote peace and justice for mother earth;

For the strength that comes from the land and wisdom of our ancestors;

For our ability to laugh at ourselves and others and how that draws us closer together;

For UNPFII as a space to network and exchange ideas to support and stand in solidarity.

I’m reminded we are still here.

Navigating the interface of faith and politics

This week Ottawa Notebook features a book review by Justine F. Foxall of MCC Alberta. Justine has worked with numerous NGOs and served in various capacities with MCC including as assistant director of the MCC Ottawa Office. She has lived in Tanzania, Rwanda, Serbia, Chad, as well as Israel and Palestine. 

Preston Manning, Faith, Leadership and Public Life: Leadership Lessons from Moses to Jesus (Burlington, ON: Castle Quay Books, 2017), 360 pages.

“Politics at the highest level is ultimately about the reconciliation of conflicting interests.”

Preston Manning, former Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament, returns frequently to this phrase—the reconciliation of conflicting interests—in his thoughtful and passionate book, Faith, Leadership and Public Life.

Preston Manning book on faith and public life

This book is divided into four parts, with lessons from: 1) the public life of Jesus, 2) the life of Moses, 3) the life of David, and 4) the lives of the exiles. In each section, Manning relates how these lessons have informed and inspired him in his own life as a practicing Christian, business consultant and sometime mediator, politician, and Member of Parliament. Furthermore, he offers guidance about how to live our lives at the interface of faith and politics with excellence and integrity.

In the first part, my attention was captured by Manning’s profound observations of how William Wilberforce and his co-strategists followed the way of Jesus in their campaign to abolish the slave trade and slavery. Manning relates these lessons first through a discussion of Jesus’s temptations; then illustrates how Wilberforce strategically and pragmatically practiced the wisdom and grace of Jesus who said “… I send you forth not to be vicious as snakes but gracious as doves, gracious as the spirit of God himself.”

Based on the Wilberforce story, Manning recommends that contemporary activists conducting a modern issue campaign:

  • legitimate the discussion, graciously;
  • do the necessary research thoroughly and well;
  • make maximum use of the tools of democracy.

He asks, “Out of whose mouth will our message(s) be most credible?” and advises, “Wisely and graciously manage the middle.”

Hence he arrives at the theme of reconciliation. Manning declares that Jesus shows us the way of reconciliation through self-sacrificial mediation motivated by love and, using examples from the New Testament, offers these principles of Jesus’s approach to the reconciliation of conflicting interests:

  • Love is the motivation.
  • A new and better relationship is the objective.
  • The approach is non-coercive.
  • The mediator is willing to pay the price of reconciliation.

Following Jesus in the public arena means looking to Jesus himself, resisting the temptation to bring about the kingdom of heaven on earth by seizing authority or by compelling obedience to the Christian agenda.

Parts two and three of the book—on Moses and David—are not merely re-hashed Sunday school lessons. Manning digs into these characters and relates them to the rough and tumble of political life today.

The last part examines the lives of several people from the Hebrew Bible who became leaders in societies and political systems that were, for the most part, hostile to their values and beliefs. Manning outlines the stories of Joseph, Daniel and Esther, connecting their stories pointedly to the present context where, he says, our materialistic, humanistic and secular society prefers to purge the expression of religious faith from the public square.

Preston_Manning_February_2014

Preston Manning, February 2014

Manning challenges the follower of Jesus today to live faithfully in this kind of exile. Believe in the sovereignty of God. Be a constructive influence in your constituency. Pray. Seek the enlightenment and peace of the political community—serving as truth tellers and reconcilers of conflicting interests.

Finally, my attention was particularly held by Manning’s discussion of the good and evil of bureaucracies, for this is the ‘public space’ (large or small, governmental or non-governmental) in which most of us find ourselves. He urges Christians that we “are there to protect that bureaucracy from its dark side and ensure that it functions as an instrument for good rather than as a source of unintended harms.”

Again Manning provides some practical guidelines for how to do this. Whether we are then called to act on a micro or macro level, Manning reiterates how important it is to nurture a disciplined and diligent inner life of solitude, prayer, lectio divina, physical self-care, examen of consciousness and conscience, spiritual discernment and Sabbath observance. Differing distinctly from the rhythm of contemporary public life, these resources in Christ are crucial to living with integrity in the arena of the faith-political interface.

Faith, Leadership and Public Life is long and sometimes pedantic; yet there is an authenticity to Manning’s perspective that I found engaging. I enjoyed his evident wide reading as he draws from great literature, political and military history, contemplative Christian authors, and, of course, the Bible. The last part, Lessons from the Lives of the Exiles, brilliantly prevented me from tossing the book aside with an “irrelevant to my life” shrug. We do live in a pluralist and secular society. How we live our faith in the public square matters.

My assessment of Preston Manning’s book: I commend it as an excellent read for issue campaigners, policy change advocates, aspiring and acting parliamentarians and everyday citizens who care about the well-being of our country.

 

The legal weeds of Bill C-262

On April 17, 2018, I was sitting in on the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee when law professor and expert witness, Dwight Newman, launched into a scathing critique of the bill before him.

The bill in question was an Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), also known as Bill C-262. (If you’re not familiar with UNDRIP, take a minute to get acquainted here.)

This private member’s bill, put forward by Cree MP and one of the drafters of UNDRIP, Romeo Saganash, now has the backing of the Liberal government and will likely become law.

Many individuals, organizations, and faith communities, including MCC, have supported this bill and campaigned for its passage. If implemented, the bill will fulfill two of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and will be an important step towards reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in the land now called Canada.

UNDRIP

What then does Professor Newman have against it?

Newman has two general groups of criticisms: criticisms about the specific wording used in the bill, and criticisms about the unpredictable consequences that will result from recognizing these Indigenous rights. For those who like details, I’d recommend reading his brief here. Otherwise, read on for my overly simplistic summary.

In the first group of criticisms, about the specific wording of the bill, Newman points out that the phrase “application in Canadian law”, found in Section 3, isn’t found in any other statutes. Because these words have never been used before, it’s unclear whether UNDRIP will supersede other laws or whether it’s just something judges can look at occasionally to influence their interpretation of other laws. That’s a big difference.

“One’s essentially gambling on how the courts might interpret those terms,” said Newman. “That might render the whole bill merely symbolic at one end, or it might lead to it having very significant effects, or anything in between.”

On top of this, Newman claims the bill isn’t totally clear whether UNDRIP comes into effect immediately or over the course of several years, and there are inconsistencies between the English and French versions.

In the second group of criticisms, about the unpredictable consequences of recognizing these Indigenous rights, Newman mentions that some of the provisions of UNDRIP are interpreted differently throughout the world, so we don’t know the precise content of the rights each provision will confer. For example, there are three differing interpretations of the meaning of UNDRIP’s articles relating to “free prior and informed consent,” and it is unclear which interpretation would find its way into Canadian law.

In the same vein, he argues that UNDRIP touches on many areas of policy including religion, health, natural resources, defense, employment, and education, and potential effects should be studied thoroughly in their respective committees before passing the law.

romeosaganash_0 (2)

Romeo Saganash, MP for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou

After Newman’s presentation, Romeo Saganash had a chance to respond. He reminded the committee that when Canada enacted its new Constitution in 1982, it included Section 35(1), which states, “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.” This is an extraordinarily short and vague provision for such an important matter. Over the years, Canadian courts have developed a complex legal framework to elaborate on the content of those rights and the processes for protecting them.

Bill C-262, Saganash claims, does not create new uncertainty. Rather, it helps clarify the meaning of Section 35(1), removing some of the uncertainty that is currently present. Even if Bill C-262 remains somewhat ambiguous, it is inarguably more specific than the mere seventeen words of Section 35(1).

Who’s right? In my view, both Newman and Saganash bring important and valid perspectives.

Newman is right to raise concerns about the specific wording of the bill. As he put it, “Canada’s Indigenous peoples deserve our best work in every respect, including legislative drafting, and it is unacceptable to have a lesser standard of legislative drafting in this context.” These concerns do not mean the bill should not be passed. Instead, it gives the Committee the opportunity to amend the bill to strengthen the protection of Indigenous rights.

However, on Newman’s second group of criticisms, I’d side with Saganash. We don’t need to know the full effects of the bill before committing to it. Reconciliation is an enormous project to be worked on through nation-to-nation collaboration and negotiation between Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Miles Richardson, former president of the Haida Nation, who also testified at the meeting, said it well: “Getting down into the legal weeds before we establish the relationship and our intentions in those relationships is a recipe for trouble. It’s a recipe for chasing our tail forever.”

Ultimately, it’s not my view nor Newman’s view that matters. To have any chance at reconciliation, we non-Indigenous Canadians must recognize the autonomy of Indigenous peoples and rid ourselves of colonial, paternalistic attitudes.

Delving into the “legal weeds” of legislation may be an interesting and useful practice, but it must never become a roadblock to listening to, following the advice, and honouring the wisdom of the affected Indigenous peoples.

By Nicholas Pope, MCC Ottawa Office advocacy research intern. Nicholas has a law degree from the University of Calgary. 

A prayer for Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day.  Each year, KAIROS: Ecumenical Justice Initiatives provides an Earth Day worship resource that invites congregations and faith groups to express their gratitude for God’s good creation and to commit themselves to care for and nurture it. We post this prayer from the resource with special permission from KAIROS. The full worship packet is found here.

Prayers of the People

ONE: O God of All Creation
Our hearts fill with gratitude and wonder at all you have made.
We bask in the abundance of creation
and are nourished by all that is good in it.
Our thirst is quenched by clean waters.
The rivers and oceans team with life.
Our hunger is satisfied by bountiful harvests;
The orchards and fields burst with food.
We are comforted and loved by friends and family.
We freely create and work and play.

creation

MCC Photo/Melissa Hess

ALL: Every day we are reminded: all life depends on all life.

ONE: Our hearts fill with sorrow and guilt
for the destruction we have caused.
We misuse the abundance of creation
and squander the goodness in it.
Our thirst for resources knows no end,
the land and waters die by our hands.
Our appetite for power blinds us
to the vulnerable and the sacred;
we hurt and oppress each other;
we freely consume and pollute and destroy.

ALL: Every day we forget: All life depends on all life.

ONE: Our hearts fill with courage and hope
for a New Heaven and New Earth.
We heed your call to care for and restore creation,
and are energized by the goodness in it.
Our thirst for justice knows no end;
our hunger for peace opens us to new ways of being.
We find joy and support in each other;
we freely share and cooperate and grow.

ALL: Every day we learn: All life depends on all life.

ONE: With ancient words we pray as Jesus taught us…

ALL: Amen