Hope for the Human Family

human family 2

Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all
we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


Maye, Isaac, and I saw the exhibit film “Dark Universe” at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, last week. It features exquisite renderings and visualizations of the cosmic phenomena of the universe and the breakthroughs that give astronomers an increasingly detailed and precise picture of how our universe formed and evolved. I walked away from the film overwhelmed by both the vastness of our expanding universe and the smallness of our planet against the whole of the universe.

I left wondering if we are the only civilization in the whole vast universe? Even if we are not the only civilization in the universe, there would be millions of light years between us and other civilizations. If we are the only human civilization within millions of light years from other civilizations, and this precious little, fragile planet is our home, then why so much human struggle, so much hatred, so much strife, violence, and warring in the world? Should we not work together to find the way of love, peace, and justice in our families, our congregations, our communities, in our nation, and our world?

In his prayer, Paul positions himself atop a cosmic vantage point overlooking the whole human family which includes all ethnic groups and peoples. His prayer embraces the whole human family as he prays for the unity of the world’s peoples under the Lordship of Christ. He prays that all people would know the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God.

Through prayer, Paul is able to see a vision of the glorious splendor of God’s everlasting kingdom that endures throughout all generations. He was able to understand that the Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his deeds, just, kind, and near to all who call on him no matter where they may find themselves on this small,  beloved little planet situated in a small cosmic corner of the Milky Way Galaxy within our vast and ever-expanding universe. To God be the glory!

Prayer for Peace

Gentle Spirit, Breathe in us the wind of truth, wisdom, and righteousness. May your Presence inspire us to create labyrinths of peace. Compassionate One, Make our hearts burn with love, honoring all peoples and creation. Bless all nations, every family, and community while we seek to work for justice and unity. Prince of Peace, Lead us to ways of healing and reconciliation we pray with those who suffer and struggle. Bless us with your reconciling love that knows no boundaries as we seek to live in community, justice, and peace. So be it. 

By Rev. Elizabeth Tapia from the Philippines, director of Mission Theology for Global Ministries

Medicine for the Soul




Scripture – Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.


David is credited as the author of Psalm 23. It is no surprise because David was a shepherd boy, and he knew about the realities and dangers of shepherding a flock. Psalm 23 is profound in meaning and scope. It uses strong metaphors that acknowledge the threats and opposition one faces in life. It’s six short verses span over the course of one’s life experience and beyond.  Scholars believe that the psalm’s reference to the “house of the Lord” in verse 6 is a reference to the temple that David hoped to build (2 Samuel 7:1-14).  So, David must have written the psalm later on in his tempered and mature life as he reflected back upon God’s faithfulness and steadfast love toward him throughout the years.

Many of us first heard the comforting psalm when we were children in Sunday School or during vacation bible school or at home during our family devotional and prayer times. We often hear this psalm read to comfort those who mourn at memorial and funeral services. The simplistic beauty and comfort contained in the twenty-third Psalm, especially during times of distress, is appreciated by all of us. Many of us know this beautiful psalm by heart.

Bernhard Anderson (1916-2007), a United Methodist pastor and Old Testament scholar, has best expressed the value of the twenty-third Psalm when he wrote, “No single psalm has expressed more powerfully humanity’s prayer of confidence ‘out of the depths’ to the God whose purpose alone gives meaning to the span of life, from womb to tomb.”

Each time we read or recite Psalm 23, we take into our souls, a powerful spiritual medicine that refreshes, renews, and restores our faith, our hope, and our strength to keep moving forward in life in both good and challenging times. Reading and reciting Psalm 23 brings us into a deeper dependence upon God’s love and grace and fills us with the assurance that our Good Shepherd, Christ himself, walks with us along our life’s path. Psalm 23’s words of assurance anchor us through life’s long nights, they spiritually restore our weary souls, and they enable us to feel more alive and connected to God and to others.

I invite you to start your days this coming week by reading or reciting Psalm 23. If you have time, practice “Lectio Divina” or “Divine Reading” to open yourself to what God wants to say to you.

For example, select a short portion of Psalm 23 each day such as “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

  • Step 1 – Read the passage slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.
  • Step 2 – Meditate on the passage so that you take from it what God wants to give you.
  • Step 3 – Respond by letting your heart speak to God.
  • Step 4 – Contemplate by resting in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you’ll be gradually transformed from within. Then take what you read and contemplated in the Word of God into your daily life.
  • Step 5 – Keep a written journal to record how God is transforming your life.


More than ever I find myself in your hands, O God.