Day 2

November  20, 2021

HOLY MASS

FR. MELITITO POCHOLO VISDA JR., OSA

on the Gospel: Luke 20:27-40

The Resurrection and Marriage

Excerpts…

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning! God is good… All the time…

Let us give thanks to the Lord. Palakpakan natin Siya. Let us thank the Lord specially that we are gathered in this celebration of the Feast Conference online for this year 2021. No lockdowns can truly hinder the celebration specially thanking the Lord, praising the Lord with all our heart…

My dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel today from the evangelist Luke highlights Jesus’ teaching on the Resurrection which is in response to the disbelief of the Sadducees on the Resurrection of the dead. This is why they posted a question to Jesus as to whose wife she would be among the seven brothers with whom she was married.

The contention of the Sadducees was that the Resurrection is a continuation of the life we have here on Earth.

But Jesus clearly answered, “Those who are dimmed worthy to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead, neither married nor are given in marriage, they can no longer die for they are like angels and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise and that God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for him all are alive.”

The Gospel today, my dear brothers and sisters, clearly reveals that our identity in the life to come is not associated with the life that we live here on Earth. Rather, it is rooted in the identity that we are God’s children made out of His image and likeness. The glorification especially in the Resurrection, my dear brother and sisters, has purified and cleansed the totality of our very being where we recognize each other as God’s children that is bonded out of God’s overflowing love.

That is why as God’s children, we are created out of His love. Hence, we are motivated to love, to act joyfully in love, and to radiate the Presence of God Who is above all love.

That’s why, my dear brothers in sisters, we cannot deny that the love of the Lord will always cleanse us. It will penetrate our very being so that we will be reminded of our very identity– that in this world that we are living in, we are called to love because it is out of the abundance of His love.

It is Jesus who was manifested to us—so that the real meaning of love is not self-serving. Rather, love is self-giving– where it gives joy and life to others as He offered Himself as a sacrifice on the Cross so that eternal life will be given to humanity out of His obedience to the will of our Heavenly Father. That is why we share in the Resurrection of Christ if we grow in obedience of God’s will in our life. The Lord has commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.

The basis of our love must be like the love of Jesus– a love that is sacrificial, a love that is life-giving.

We are gathered in celebration because we are reminded of the love of the Lord for us and it gives us joy in our heart. And the joy that we experience cannot be contained. That is why we spread the Good News to others– we spread the love of the Lord because we experience the love of the Lord and that experience will always give us joy. Because joy is not just mere emotion. Joy is a disposition. This joy can be experienced if we are obedient to the Father.

Obedience is listening to the voice of the Shepherd for the good of His sheep. This love of the Lord will truly penetrate our heart and our mind specially as His children leading to transformation– and that is through the guidance and the power of the Holy Spirit as we freely open ourselves to the gracious power of God, as long as we open ourselves to the Lord all our difficulties, all our challenges, all that are in our heart right now.

For sure, some of us are scared. We are anxious. For sure the Production Ministry members are, as we prepare for this FEASTCON online here in Cebu. For sure, even those who are at home, those who are watching us in this livestream—for sure you experience anxiety right now.

But always remember, my brothers and sisters, the Lord is here.

God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living.

The Responsorial Psalm reminds us today to rejoice in His salvation.

My dear brothers and sisters, in this Pandemic that we experience, we are able to value more our relationship, the presence of one another that we neglected to strengthen the past days, prior to COVID-19.

God never fails to reach out and strengthen us even in times of this stress, these trials in life.

There may be times when we look for God in extraordinary ways, so that we forget that the Lord reveals Himself, shows His Presence in ordinary ways. God reveals Himself in ordinary ways so that we can grasp His love, and so, we can understand His love. We should not be worried or anxious in life. Rather, we must be joyful as the theme of the Feast Conference 2021 online suggests: Joyful, Joyful!

Are you joyful? Are we joyful? You are joyful because you are blessed. I am blessed. I am loved because the Lord has filled us with love. As Christ journeys with us, we have to be grateful about it. Be joyful for Jesus is one with you. He is faithful, He will understand you, and He will continue to love you as He has promised. My dear friends He will always be with us …He is with you always in the journey as the Lord promised to us. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will declare all your wondrous deeds. 3 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, Most High.

R I will rejoice in your salvation, O Lord.

-– Psalms 9:2-3, 4 AND 6, 16 and 19

WORSHIP!

MORNING SHOW!

Joyful, joyful chat with online Feasters!

Exciting games!

Hosts, from left: Jan Silan, Velden Lim, and Marianne Mencias,

WORSHIP!

PLENARY SESSION 2

FR. AGUSTINO TORRES, CFR Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Bronx, New York

Founder, Corazon Puro dedicated to forming youth.

What is the purpose of our life? So many say that love is what makes the world go round.

Yet many times, we feel that when we show love, we don’t always receive love in return– but something else.

My brothers and sisters, this is something that happens very often. The question is: How can we still be joyful if we do not learn how to love through giving?

Joy requires, my brothers and sisters, for us to see the beauty, the glory of the Cross. Well, we see this in the Scriptures. But we see this, my brothers and sisters, in giving and forgiving and how we embark on the joy of life’s purpose.

This is a little similar to what we read in Acts 16.

Paul was preaching and there was one girl who, the Scripture says, was possessed by bad spirit. She was freed from that evil spirit by Paul– but he was put to jail.

You know, you are trying to help people and it’s like, “Why, God? Don’t you want me to be joyful?”

This is exactly what the Gospel tells us to do. This is exactly what the life of Christ was…

Acts 16:25 says, “All begins to praise the Lord in silence there in the prison.” Paul begins to praise the Lord, the ground shakes, the doors open, the jailer sees what’s going on, and draws a sword to kill himself– because you will kind of get into trouble with the leaders if all the prisoners escaped.

And then Paul tells the jailer, “Don’t do yourself any harm.”

The jailer falls unto his knees and says, “What must I do to be saved?”

And Paul takes the people to his own home, and they eventually get baptized.

Joy in Times of Darkness

Good things happen when we do good things. But our Faith maintains that there’s Christian joy especially in times of darkness– because the Lord is doing something (for our good).

The prisoners were whipped before they were put into prison. And so, to sing the Lord’s praises and to see what the Lord is going to do even in the midst of dark times is a cause for joy.

I don’t know if there’s ever been exactly a time like this but I do know there’s nothing new under the sun. That’s what the Bible says. You might say that though there’s a lot of new things. Well, you know, the new things that we see are a lot of repackaging, a lot of the old. And brothers and sisters, when we come back to what is most important, we keep our Christian joy in times of darkness.

The word joy in the New Testament is chara.

It occurred about 112 times.

There are a couple of different words for joy in the Old Testament– beautiful old words for joy, for happiness in Hebrew.

My favorite one is sazon. I mean like if you are in the Caribbean, you know every grand mom brings joy when she makes her sazon (flavorful seasoning that makes food smell good). As the food is cooking in the kitchen you’re like, “Grandma is cooking sazon and there’s gonna be some sazon, I can’t wait!”

So, sazon means joy in Hebrew.

Joy is a characteristic of the Resurrection. It’s like when you experience the Resurrection, the truth of the Resurrection, the word joy is used so many times to describe it:

When was the last time you invoked the Holy Spirit? Saying, “Holy Spirit come down, come Holy Spirit and fill me with joy.”

This is what happens to the disciples in Matthew 28:8 which goes:

Changing Strategy

The first Good News, the first pronouncement of the Resurrection, was when those women went to the tomb and were filled with joy (when they found out Jesus rose from death).

But brothers and sisters, do we look at joy as emotions, as feelings? Do we look at joy as something that like, you know, when the stars are aligned, when “my life is finally in order,” “when I finally cleared the inbox of my email?”

Then and only then will I experience joy. Or maybe it’s like you’re thinking of joy as just an effect or an end in itself. Like, “I’m chasing joy, looking for a joy…” Or maybe you are trying to recapture some sort of experience — like when you went on that one retreat, or when you saw that one thing, or this one person. That’s when you experience joy. And you find yourself repeating, looking for this feeling that you had some time in the past.

But I just want to tell you: you’ve got to change your strategy.

The closer you get to God, the more joyful you’re going to be.

Do you ever speak to somebody who is so close to God that no matter what happens, they just have this wisdom (to be joyful)…Like, where do you get this from?

You know, I was stationed over in Harlem. And I remember, there was this beautiful black grandma who would come over and say “Hi” to us.

I remember one time, I just spoke to her and I was kind of going through my own thing and she said, “How you doing?”

And I said, “Well, you know, I’m doing okay. It’s been kind of tough, you know.”

Drawing Near to Jesus

When you draw near to the Lord you begin to see your struggles in a different way.

This woman from Harlem has experienced struggles in so many ways.

There are people that you meet who experience joy even amid times of great struggles.

The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and life of all who encounter Jesus. Encountering Jesus brings us joy.

What is joy? Some of the great theologians of our Church make some distinctions, difference between joy and happiness.

Saint Thomas Aquinas said that happiness is fullness in Heaven.

You know when you have an active relationship with the Lord, it involves the process of suffering. Has it ever happened to you when you’re going through something or you heard something, you have the urge to just call somebody and ask this question: “Can you help me make sense of this situation?”

And like the person helps you see something that you don’t usually see.

It’s the same thing with the Lord. Your proximity to Christ means that He wants you to bring Him the struggle. He wants you to bring Him the darkness and then some way somehow, you are drawing near to Him. You are drawing closer to Him. That there is an experience of joy in the knowledge that He truly is there.

PLENARY SESSION 3

EMILY WILSON YouTuber, Speaker, Author Southern California

My name is Emily Wilson and I am delighted to be joining you here during this Plenary Session for the Feast Conference.

Greetings from Southern California. I know so many of you are from all over the world, many of you in the Philippines. And it is a delight to share with you on this day about Elevating the Joy in Unity.

Unity is something that we’re created for. It’s something our heart longs for and it’s something so often we do not see in our culture today. I know you might feel like your heart is full of division, full of hatred between people, anger between people, different beliefs between people that the unity we long for– the unity that Christ longs for us– seems impossible on some days.

But today, I want to talk about the joy of unity, the joy of uniting with one another.

The Fall

The first thing that we do when we look at unity is to rewind all the way to the Fall (of Adam and Eve).We go all the way back to the book of Genesis (Chapter 3) That when the Fall occurred, it did not only affect our relationship with God. That when it comes to our existence, it doesn’t only affect our relationship with God— our fractured relationship with God. It also fractured our relationship with one another.

And that has shown itself, had a ripple effect over the ages— to this day and age. That the division that we see is a result of the Fall.

The beautiful thing is that God saw this division. God saw this fractured relationship, this broken relationship. And He sent His only Son– a glorious and beautiful thing– He sent His only Son to live, die, and rise again to restore not only our relationship with Him, but our relationship, our union and communion with one another.

Call to Unity and Community

Isn’t that amazing that we can say in plain English that the God of the universe sent His only Son to die for you—to restore His relationship with you — and to restore your relationship in community with others.

So, we have to go back to the origin— to the foundations of where this came to be. And we see the Fall and the ripple effect of the Fall in so many different facets of our culture and of our life today. But there are so many ways that the Lord calls us to unity and community that we can carry out in our own life. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and what is God? God is Trinity— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This relationship— three Persons in One God— in this relationship in the Trinity that we are called to reflect that in our life. We have a deep, deep longing to recognize for communion with others, for unity with others, for intimacy with others.

And it’s important to point out that when we talk about intimacy, it’s been clouded. A lot of people think it’s only a sexual thing. But intimacy means the existence of closeness between two beings. Being close to one another is what we long for. We long to be known. We long to know others. Like a longing that God placed in each one of us when He brought us into existence. And it’s important to recognize that. It’s important not to squash that down, but it’s important to recognize: “I long for unity with other people.

I long for unity with other people because this is how I was made and this is a good and beautiful thing.”

And so, we go back to John 14:34: As I have loved you, so also you should love one another.

We are family because we are children of God the Father. And the beautiful thing is that in every single person, the handiwork of God is alive and awake— that creativity is alive and awake in every person of every race that has ever been born to this world. That each person reflects a facet of God’s glory that no one else ever will— that you reflect a facet of God’s glory that no one else ever will. And that is a fabulous and breathtaking reality that we need to accept true for us and it’s true for every person we encounter throughout our life.

As I have loved you so also you must love one another is a command that Jesus gave us, that Jesus desires us to be in community with one another, in unity with one another. So, how do we do that? How do we practically do that in this day and age when division runs so rampant, when so often one feels like no one wants to be unified with one another. How do we find the joy in unity?

Example of the Geese

The first thing I want to tell you is about the geese. I have a love-hate relationship with geese. The part of my heart that doesn’t like geese so much is

I am allergic to them. The feathers that come from geese are luxurious, apparently, so they go a lot in hotel beddings—and they cause me to sneeze.

But I love geese because geese have so much to teach you and me about unity. And I want to unpack about that a little bit today.

Where we live, geese fly south for the winter and they fly in a V-formation. So, geese fly in community and they get together with other geese that are flying in the same direction that they are flying in.

This is very appropriate for the life of a person of faith, the life of a Catholic who is going in the direction of Heaven.

We all have to look at our life. What is the end-goal of my life? What am I working for?

What am I striving for?

For a Catholic, a person who believes in Jesus Christ, the end-goal…is eternal life with our Lord and Savior— and that is in Heaven— singing “Holy, Holy” with the saints and angels for all of eternity…

It is very difficult in our world that doesn’t have a lot of Christian values to find people who are going in the same direction, to find people to uplift you, to support you in your walk of faith. That’s very challenging. But to look at my ultimate destination and to unify, to unite with people who are going to that same direction is a beautiful thing that geese can teach us about a life of faith.

When I encountered Jesus, when I fell in love with my faith, I knew my life would never be the same. And the lens that I see everything out of comes, and overflows, from my faith. And choosing people who share in that is a wonderful and beautiful way– that I can get to the destination that I am trying to go to which is Heaven…

Now, it’s important to understand that I don’t have to say, “Oh, all my friends have to be Catholic,” or “I can’t talk to people who don’t believe in the same thing that I do.” When we look at the life of Jesus… Who was Jesus associating with? People could not believe who Jesus would eat with… You know, the woman who washed His feet with her tears and dried His feet with her hair…

Destination: Heaven

The second thing I love about geese teaching us about in unity with one another is that they fly in a V-formation.

My sons are 2- and 1-year-old and they love watching birds in the sky.

Birds in the sky are amazing you don’t really notice them but they’ve given me new eyes to see these birds in the sky, how free they are.

But each goose flaps its wings and creates what they call an uplift for the goose behind them. And science says that as they flap their wings and as the wind goes behind them, they are able to travel 50 percent farther than they would if they were flying alone. This is a beautiful thing, my brothers and sister– community, being in unity with others gives us endurance and stamina to get through life.

As you know, life is a very difficult thing — we have these highs and lows. We have these joys and we have these sorrows. We have these times with great celebrations and these times of deep suffering, deep loneliness, deep pain. And the beautiful thing is that in establishing the Church, Jesus makes it clear that we aren’t meant to navigate our journey alone. That He gives us community. He gives us one another… Brothers and sisters, remember how we share this common goal, this common destination and there are people flying with us, who want to help us get to that destination of Heaven.

And the reality is when we have great highs and great lows, we get tired on our journey. And you might be sitting there wherever you are tuning in from to the Feast Conference, you might be really tired on your journey of faith — you feel low, you feel this great desert in your life, that we all have– these great low moments.

But if we’re with people who surround us in community, who understand what we’re going through, who care for our well-being, and who share in our core values, we will find the road much more bearable because we can walk with people, share vulnerably the place we are in in our faith journey, to fly with the people in front of us and to share: “This is where I am in my journey that my relationship with God hasn’t been very good lately and I want to make it better and I don’t know how.”

I think many times as Christians, we are as a person who loves Jesus, as a Catholic, a person who practices our faith, that it has to be wonderful and great all the time. But the reality is that a life of faith is a journey. And when you think about a journey traversing, like you go up a mountain, and then you go down, and when we look at this formation, how can one another flying together to create this uplift so that we can get to the final destination, so that in those moments when we feel low, when we feel great suffering, we can help one another on the journey.

I love that the stamina and endurance that the geese have flapping in front of one another to get so much farther than they would alone is such a reflection of true community, authentic community, unity with one another.

And this brings me to my third point. So, they flap in front of one another and they fly as a team to get farther. But the beautiful thing is that when a goose is sick or struggling, they will fly specifically in front of the goose and they will take turns to help the goose along the way.

And isn’t that the reality of community? Isn’t that the reality of so many moments in your life when community helped you in your time of greatest need? A time the you’re struggling lately, a time when you truly needed someone to fly in front of you, to keep going, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep getting out of bed every morning.

Community Live

This was my life when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. I was about 11 years old, I was in middle school here in America, and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. And there were four children in our family and my mom was stay-at-home mom and my dad worked. It was a very, very difficult time for our family.

And during that time, I saw the beauty of unity and community come alive in a way that I never had before. One of my mom’s friends, she came and she did the laundry every week. She washed all the clothes and folded all the clothes that my mom did not have to.

One of the most beautiful things was that six or eight months when my mom was very sick, our church members created what is called the meal train. Every single night, a family from our church community signed up to bring dinner for our family– every single night. So, every night, there will be a knock on our door, and there would be someone with a hot meal ready for our family. So, we did not have to worry about anyone cooking. They cared for us in that way.

Taking the Call to Community

It was a beautiful thing– it really was our community flying in front of us, joining in unison with one another to help us because we were very, very, very tired and very much struggling. My father was struggling so much, carrying everything. My mother was struggling with all things that she wished she could do, that she wished she could take care of, that she was not able physically to do because she was battling with cancer.

As I have loved you, you should also love one another.

Many people took that seriously. They took that call and made that a reality to fly in front of us, to support us, and uplift us during our time of great need. And many people across America when I speak of different things, they asked us, “How’s your mom doing?”

I’m grateful that my mom survived. She’s a cancer survivor, and she’s still with us to this day. And that’s something that I don’t take for granted because many of my friends’ parents have lost their battle with cancer, people they love lost their battle with cancer. And so, I’m grateful that my mom is still here.

But that was such a beautiful moment. When there was no division, there was no anger, there was no bickering, there was no fighting. There was only community. There was only unity.

A Body Divided

So, we think about this model of geese flying in formation, flying in front of one another, and we say that is way, way, easier said than done. Because as St. Paul writes, there are many parts but we are all one body.

But so many times in this day and age, the body feels disjointed, the body feels divided. Our communities feel disjointed, they can even feel non-existent. You might think, “I’ve been looking for community for a very long time and I haven’t been able to find anything.”

But the reality is we need to seek out our community…

We do not stand alone because we have one another in community, in relationship. We are not complete in ourselves. We long for intimacy, we long for this unity. And my question for you today during this session is: What if you took that longing– that call to closeness, to community with one another– what if we were intentional about community, we could change the world.

How To Find Unity

If we decided, each one and every single one of us, “I would not be an agent of division, of anger, of hatred. I will commit to being agent of unity in all of those places— in my workplace, in my family, in my life…” It would benefit us because we would be a creative community, we would be creating authentic community for ourselves and for others— it would benefit our Church, because our Church is in great need of community, of people to unite us rather than divide us.

As I said it’s very challenging to do, because there are so many people even in our own family who share different beliefs. They may have different political opinions; you know they might be different from us in the beliefs that they have of whatever that may be.

But how do we love one another? How do we find that unity?

Listen. One of the best ways that I found is through listening. The command to listen is one of the commands in Scripture: to listen to one another. And when we listen, when we truly listen to one another, we find out that we truly do usually have things in common.

First, our human condition. That we have joys and we have sorrows. We all have struggles and the reality is that we all have been hurt. We have faced betrayals; we’ve been used or abused. Some of us treated very badly by others. And maybe by our parents or our siblings, or our friends. We have been stung or hurt or harmed in word, or in action by other people.

Break Down Walls.

Many people have these guards up. When we look at trying to cultivate community, it’s very difficult because we have our guards up and the roadblocks to true community with others is this wall that we build.

How can we be in unity, and have joy with others if we have these walls, when we say, “I’ve been hurt, I don’t trust anyone, I’m not letting anyone in.” But to look at, “No, I have a deep longing for community with others. I have deep longing for a relationship with others. I want to listen to others to find out where is the common thing that we share. How can I listen to others better in this culture where there’s a great breakdown of communication?”

If you long for — that we all have in our heart— that unity with others, even with people who disagree with you, I invite you to step back and look at “What walls have I put up. What walls have I said… I’ve been betrayed by so many people in friendships, in my own family, I won’t even try and make an attempt to be in a relationship with others because I’m just going to be hurt …”

Take a look at that with the Lord. Just step back and say, “Lord, show where there are walls that I put up in my heart and in my life.”

If there are roadblocks to community with others, to intimacy with others, to relationship with others, to be vulnerable and to allow people to love us and to allow people in community with one another.

Take the Effort. That’s the beauty– and the hard work– of creating unity in our world today. It’s that it requires effort and it requires hard work and investment to first, look at my own heart and in my own life: “Where have I put up these walls to block unity and community with other people but also when making that time for investing in others. So many people I know, there’s no community where I live, there’s no community in my church.”

Be the Person to Start It. What if you were the person to start it? Whatever your age, whatever your season of life, to go to your church and build a community. Maybe it starts with two persons, maybe

with five persons. But to be an agent of change in bringing people together, to share in life, to flap in front of one another to build that authentic community takes effort and takes hard work. It takes often stepping out of your comfort zone to say, “Maybe I’m not the best person for this. Maybe I’m not the leader of the group. But you know what, I feel this call in my heart, that God is placing on my heart, just maybe to start something, to do something because I long for community and I haven’t been able to find it.

Be the Unifier in the Family. Or you do the hard work of being the unifier in your own family. To be the person who looks at maybe the disunity, the division in your family, to really pray, to ask the Lord, “How can I bring the people in my family together?”

That maybe, the division in your family causes you deep pain and a heartache and you often say to the Lord, “Lord, show me how I can be an agent of change and someone who brings unity so that joy can fill my family, so that peace can fill my family.”

Be the Peacemaker at the Workplace. How can you be an agent of unity in your workplace? There are all kinds of difficulties in the workplace— gossip, slander, bickering.

Always, offer your work to the Lord, saying, “Lord I offer this work to you. Help me to be an agent of unity in my workplace. To bring people together, rather than separate people. To be the person who people know is the peacemaker. And not to say, ‘Oh, I just won’t let people to walk all over me….’ But to be a peacemaker.”

People get confused by the word meek— blessed are the meek.

Meekness has a strength within it. It’s not like, “I’m meek, you can walk all over me.”

But meekness is humility– strength rooting yourself in Jesus. You have to be a peacemaker, to be a person who is unifier.

The reality is that we can all be an agent of unity in all of these different facets of our life. We can all be in community to live out this longing that we have.

Take the realities when I look back when my mom was sick, when my mom was battling cancer. It wasn’t Jesus who showed up at our front door with lasagna, knocking at the door: “It’s not Jesus, I have lasagna!”

Jesus worked through the hands and feet of others to love us and to take care of us and to help us all along the way…

That we need this community where God shows us His love through others. That He calls us, He commands us to love one another as I have loved you.

And He asks us and invites us and commands us to be His hands and feet in the world because Jesus does not walk here still… we have Him in the Eucharist. But He asks us to be the face of love, the face of His love to other people. And the face of Jesus is always a face of unity of peace, of mercy, of forgiveness, of goodness.

Challenge

And that is what I challenge you going forth from this Conference:

How can I be a face of unity, of peace, of forgiveness, of mercy? How can I be the face of God to each person that I meet, to each person in my family. How can I help other people in the direction of Heaven? How can I flap my wings in front of other people and surround other people who need love, who need support?

How can you be the face of God? How can you be in the image and likeness of God that is alive and awake in you? How can you be a face of unity for others? How can you in your own heart and in your own life bring people together in the joy of unity that Jesus Christ created us for?

It is up to each single one of us, my brothers and sisters, to elevate the joy in our life by looking at the culture by saying: “There’s so much division, there’s so much anger, there’s so much hurt, so much sorrow– how can I be someone to unify us? How can I be someone who brings peace because when there is peace there is joy.”

When there is unity, people are in relationship with one another and people thrive and we, you and I, my brothers and sisters, we were made to thrive in life — awake and alive in the heart of Jesus Christ. We are called to unity, to community.

How can you go forth from this place to be someone who creates that unity in our world?

Let’s pray. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit….

Lord, we come together as one in this Conference, each of us reflecting different facets of who You are.

I praise You Lord, for Your creativity, creating every race, every culture.

And I ask Lord that You unite us as one, that You heal the divisions in our families, in our workplaces, in our churches, in our communities.

That You help us to listen to You Lord, that You help us in listening to love. That Lord, we thank You for the gift of geese, your beautiful creation that shows us so much about what it means to live unified with one another, going in the same direction as one another. We’re so grateful for that example Lord. And Your creativity in showing us the beauty of community through nature.

Help us to be agents of change. Help us to be your hands and feet. Make us brave to do just that, to step out of our comfort zone. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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