God Is Alive
By Ellen Higa of Honolulu, HI, USA
There are subtle, yet powerful, influences in the world, some even claiming to represent Christ, that seek to divide people and nations to accomplish their destructive aims. That which seeks to harden one human heart against another by constructing walls of fear and prejudice is not of God. Be especially alert to these influences, lest they divide you or divert you from the mission to which you are called. -Doctrine and Covenants 163:3c
At a priesthood meeting of the Kalihi Congregation we talked about reaching into the community by inviting our neighbors to a dinner. Pastor Merton and some of the priesthood worked tirelessly writing invitations and visiting community service organizations nearby, trying to make this happen.
October 14 was selected as the first community dinner since that was Pastor Merton’s birthday. The church members pulled together to provide a potluck dinner. It was a huge success as we hosted many neighbors, friends, and church families. At the dinner three-year-old Andrew gave the blessing on the food. He showed us with his prayer that love and trust and faith are the ways God lives through us-giving and receiving are the same and we received so much.
Since then, the Kalihi Congregation has been hosting a monthly dinner for the community. Most of the neighbors who attend are men who live in three group homes across the street from the church. These men all have physical, mental, or emotional challenges.
Before giving the blessing on the meal we always begin by having members and guests gather in a circle, hold hands, give their names, and say a little something about themselves. At one of our dinners Pastor Merton asked everyone to share one thing they were thankful for. As we went around the circle everyone shared what they were grateful for, whether it was the food they were about to eat, just being there that evening, having friends and family, or just being alive. It was heartwarming to have all of the men participate. It also made us realize how often we fail to recognize and acknowledge simple blessings in our everyday life.
Looking around the fellowship hall during the dinners and seeing our neighbors and members share in food and conversation, we know God is present. The Kalihi Congregation is thankful to our Lord for giving us the opportunity to share God’s generosity and blessings of love and peace.
I dwell in your presence.
Prayer of Examen
Spend a few moments recalling your day. Let details, events, and conversations drift through your memory. Offer gratitude for the day and pray to be aware of how God was present. What did you notice or feel that brought meaning? Pay attention to moments when you felt least in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Offer a prayer of confession. Pay attention to moments when you felt most in harmony with God’s vision for creation. Pray to be even more aware of and responsive to God’s presence in the days ahead. Amen.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.