Dear Friend

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
– Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (whose special day is October 4)

We will celebrate World Communion Sunday, along with Christians around the world. Even though we might mean different things about the meaning of the sacrament, we intuitively sense as a spiritual movement that it represents unity and solidarity. And our world needs this common bond right now. Join us as we pray for the unity of all.

We also celebrate Saint Francis of Assisi, whose great wide-open heart makes him still a great role model. It was just a few years ago that the Vatican declared him the Patron Saint of Ecology. He talked with the animals, and, more important, he listened, which is the only way we can hear the voice of God, who is still speaking. Francis was committed to interfaith relations at a time when religious intolerance was the norm. He was never reluctant to call leaders to accountability. We need a spirit of Francis in the churches and in the world today.

After church we will gather for a rally to remember Chinedu Okobi, who was tased to death by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies for jaywalking on El Camino exactly three years ago.

Last fall his mother Amaka spoke at our church and asked us not to forget her son and the others who have endured similar deaths. And so we will gather in communion, in solidarity, to call attention to the ongoing scourge of white supremacy and for the need for police reform. I am sure Saint Francis would have been at this rally. Chinedu Okobi was a person, not a statistic, so we will listen also to a poem he wrote and let it be our call to action this weekend:

Only God Knows
By Chinedu Okobi

I’m in tune with the cosmos
And only God knows
The future of lost souls
Searching for peace on broken roads

I feel despair in the air
When the wind blows
The world is cold
Nevertheless I try not to get too high
Or get too low
As my story unfolds

I’m dealing with drama
Struggling to stay alive in the jungle
Still dreaming of a better tomorrow
Experiencing joy and sorrows
But like the rose that grows
Through the concrete
I’m a miracle
And only God knows all
That I been through

And only God knows all
That I been through

I hope to see you throughout the weekend.

With love,
Rev. Jim Mitulski

P.S. Perhaps you read recently of the death of Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. I was honored to be interviewed for this remembrance of him because he was a friend of mine and an important mentor to me:

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