What can I do?

Headline: Million of Syrian Refugees in needEpiscopal Church Responds to Syrian Refugee Crisis

Adapted from the Diocesan News of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego:

Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), the worldwide relief arm of the Episcopal Church, is working to collaborate with organizations active in transit countries such as Greece. Episcopal Migration Ministries suggests these actions for concerned Episcopalians:

  1.  pray;
  2. volunteer with one of our local resettlement partners to welcome new Americans: http://bit.ly/EMMpartners;
  3. join the #RefugeesWelcome global social media campaign urging governments to welcome refugees (ie. use hashtag #RefugeesWelcome in your Facebook posts, Tweets and Instagram posts);
  4. sign the White House petition asking the president to pledge to resettle at least 65,000 Syrians by 2016: http://1.usa.gov/1L6zh9l.

A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian Conflict

We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.

To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus.

To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus.

To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection Lord Jesus.

To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection Lord Jesus.

To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection Lord Jesus.

For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
In the hope of Christ we pray, Amen.

From the Church of England Prayers for Syria.

Remembering Mark, Evangelist

The beginning of the Gospel of Mark from the 7th century Book of DurrowApril 25 The Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1 NRSV

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The Book of Common Prayer, p. 240

Image: The beginning of the Gospel of Mark in the 7th century Book of Durrow. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Another voice for renewal

From the first moment on the balcony overlooking Piazza San Pietro Pope Francis initiated a renewal in the Roman Catholic church. This renewal will (because we are all connected) influence the lives of all Christians, no matter their denominational affiliation.
In celebrating the 50th year of the Vatican II document on the Liturgy (titled Sacrosanctum Concilium) one of the speakers, Archbishop Piero Marini indicated that “The reforms launched by the Second Vatican Council are not behind us but ahead of us.”

An image of  Vatican II posted by http://calnewman.org/vatican-ii/

Given all that has happened so far in the pontificate of Francis, I agree with the Archbishop. I believe (and I hope) that the reforms envisioned by the Second Vatican Council may begin to see the light of day—to the glory of God and for the welfare of all God’s people, and indeed, of all creation.

The full report of the Archbishop’s remarks (and others, too) is made by The Catholic Herald.co.ukVatican II’s reforms are still ahead of us, says Archbishop Marini.

Here are some other points to consider from this report:

  • The ongoing reform of the liturgy and sacraments will continue to impact all areas of ministry done by the church, inspiring hope
  • There is (apparently) a growing voice within Roman Catholicism to restore the ‘Sacraments of Initiation’ to a more ancient order: baptism-confirmation-eucharist (in contrast to the current order of baptism-eucharist-confirmation)
  • A hope was expressed (in so many words) that the church follow the lead of the Pope and understand that there are no “outsiders.”

As we listen to the Spirit and share with each other, this will certainly become a theme to explore. What do you think?

Goats and Chickens

A boy with a goat in Kenya, thanks to ERD

Early in October the folks at Episcopal Relief and Development invited those who would listen to make a Gift for Life as a good way to remember and honor “The Poor Man” of Assisi (St. Francis):

Today [October 4th] a very peculiar saint will be honored throughout the Christian world. Although he was from a wealthy family, he chose to live in poverty. He preached to a Sultan in Egypt, a flock of birds in the trees, and a ferocious wolf. He founded orders for men and women, and in 2013 a Pope took his name for the first time. Each year, he is honored far and wide with blessings of animals. He is St. Francis, the gentle man from 13th century Assisi, Italy. We invite you to honor him by increasing opportunities for others with the gift of a cow, a chicken, a pig, or my favorite, a goat!
—Sean McConnell, Engagement Director for ERD in a Facebook Post

On two Sundays our Sunday Morning Forum group gathered up just under $100 and with a little help beyond the Forum we made a donation to purchase and send a goat and some chickens to help feed brothers and sisters far from the Coachella Valley and St. Margaret’s.

2013-1015 ERD Donation

To make this gift go even further, generous donors to ERD have pledged to match gifts made to ERD between now and December 6th. So, we’re able to send out 2 goats and twice as many chickens as our small part of the global efforts of ERD.

To all who have this possible: Thank you. Keep it going: make your own gift to ERD as a way of doing good today, and tomorrow!

Photo: Episcopal Relief & Development

Wind Chimes: 3 September 2013

candle001

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we 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.

I light my prayer candle today for those who seek to ‘wage peace.’ Join me in helping the peacemakers in this and every nation, especially in Syria, have the “courage to will and persevere” in their efforts and be acclaimed “blessed” by God and by their neighbors (you and me). ~daniel rondeau

DivLine360x12“Blessed are the peacemakers,” “they are children of God,”
this is the song of the chimes today.
What do you hear?

The prayer, “Attributed to St. Francis,” may be found in the (Episcopal) Book of Common Prayer on page 833.

Wind Chimes: 29 August 2013

divergent-paths

“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path,
but it’s another to think yours is the only path.”

A Facebook Post by
Spirituality & Practice

This quote reminded me to re-read a post made by a new desert friend, Paul Kowalewski, who posts regularly on The Desert Retreat House. Paul’s post Buddha Christ spoke about his journey on ‘the way.’ He tells people now that he is a “Christian Buddhist.”

“The disciple is to walk on a path leading to the discovery of one’s own ‘Buddha nature,’ one’s own ‘Christ nature'” according to Paul (and I agree).

And what does this “way” look like?

Do unto others as you would have them do to you. (Jesus)
Consider others as yourself. (Buddha)

If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. (Jesus)
If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words. (Buddha)

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Jesus)
Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love. (Buddha)

Just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. (Jesus)
Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick. (Buddha)

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own. (Jesus)
The faults of others are easier to see than your own. (Buddha)

Go. Read Paul’s post, Buddha Christ. On your journey: who has walked with you? Who has taught you? Who has enkindled faith, hope, and love as you make your way home?

DivLine360x12No one owns the sounds of the chimes, they simply dance with the wind and play, delighting those who pause to listen.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 27 August 2013

For us Christians, healing and liberation are inexorably tied together. For Jesus, healing is always an act of liberation. For his followers, liberation for some involves healing for all.

Gary Hall
Dean of the National Cathedral

In his sermon on Sunday, August 25, 2013, (The Very Rev.) Gary Hall addressed his congregation and everyone of goodwill who has ears to hear. Anticipating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington by those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Gary not only asked us to take a closer look at our lukewarm response to civil rights but promised, as Dean of the Cathedral, to lead the way to more liberating/healing actions by and with the staff and people of the National Cathedral

…let us not delude ourselves. The Episcopal Church, as a denomination, participated in both overt and tacit segregation. Today 86.7% of American Episcopalians are white. The Washington National Cathedral staff, congregation, and chapter are overwhelmingly white. We are at once the cathedral church for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the most visible faith community in the nation’s capital. Yet we have a largely non-existent record of involvement or investment in the other three quadrants of the District of Columbia. How can we, with integrity, presume to “speak truth to power” about racial justice when we are, in fact, implicated in the very structures of injustice? How can we call others into righteousness when we are ourselves caught in a web of sin?.

Weaving together the text from Jeremiah 1:4-10, the text from Luke 13:10-17, a text from Matthew (Mt 7:1-5) about judging, eyes, and specks, and logs, and the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1963, Gary summarized and then made a pledge:

Friends, what we have here is a very big log in our eyes. Our problem is not the racism of any one individual, because racism is not only personal. It is also interpersonal, institutional, and social. This fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech and the march that occasioned it demands that we take an inventory of ourselves yes personally, but also interpersonally, institutionally, and socially. What does it mean to belong to an 86% white denomination when, by 2040, there will be no one majority race or ethnic group in America? What does it mean to call ourselves the “National” Cathedral when we confine our ministry to the whitest and most privileged quadrant of the District of Columbia? How can we live into the dream articulated by Dr. King when the evils we face in 2013 are so much more insidious than they were in 1963? The enemy back then looked and acted like Lester Maddox and Bull Connor. The enemy today looks and acts very much like you and me.

We here can do little to nothing about the Supreme Court, the Florida legislature, our own Congress. We can, however, together look to ourselves. On behalf of Washington National Cathedral, I pledge today to initiate a process of cathedral self-examination, renewal, and reform, seeking to explore the racism inherent in our worship, ministry, staffing, and governance. Read Gary Hall’s Sermon of August 25, 2013

I invite you to read his sermon. Listen carefully for the Spirit, the same Spirit involved in the call of Jeremiah, the healing moment in the life of the unnamed woman healed by Jesus long ago, and the words and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Spirit is not done speaking and not done working with folks like you and me.

DivLine360x12“Healing, freedom, liberation” are the sounds ringing from the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 19 August 2013

Brothers, I ask you to bear with this message of encouragement … .

Hebrews 13:22
New American Bible Revised Edition

We have been reading in the Letter to the Hebrews the past few Sundays (in August 2013). The author calls his work a “message of encouragement” (other translations use “my word of exhortation”). Whether a message of encouragement or a word of exhortation the author clearly wants to support and affirm and challenge his hearers to keep their focus on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:1-2) and move forward into an uncertain and uncontrollable future as did our ancestors in the faith: with trust in God who over time has proven to be trustworthy.

Of course, this encouragement, or exhortation, is also a word worth hearing in our day. Highlighting the seriousness of this ancient encouragement and our modern situation is this word from the former Archbishop of Canterbury:

‘Persecuted’ British Christians need to ‘grow up’, says former Archbishop Rowan Williams. Christians complaining of persecution in Britain need to “grow up”, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has said, as he argues feeling “mildly uncomfortable” is not comparable to real suffering elsewhere.

Read the entire post in The Telegraph (Aug. 15, 2013)

Further illuminating his words are reports and stories of the burning of churches in Egypt, Christians living in caves and fear on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, the difficult lives of Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip, the very uncertain future of Christians in Syria, and the tenuous circumstances of Christians in China. These are life and death situations and the response of faith may indeed be difficult and the discouragement that anything can change for the better must be overwhelming at times. To these Christians the words of the author of Hebrews must come like a balm to heal and make strong and give hope.

So, to be verbally abused in England or in the United States for being Christian; even to be ridiculed for trust in God (when evil and painful situations abound) or to receive the vehement incredulity and head-shaking dismissal from those who conclude that there is no God is minor by comparison (just ask Rowan Williams, or me). Yet, such is our situation and the author of Hebrews speaks to our situation, too (seen in its proper global perspective, of course).

What are your struggles and how is the ancient word in the Letters to the Hebrews a word of encouragement? How might we “be with” our brothers and sisters in Christ whose persecution, whose situation, is far more pressing, and even life-threatening? Leave a comment and continue the conversation.

DivLine360x12“Stay with it, stay with it” is the song of the chimes today.
What do you hear?

A short note on the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
“All the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil.”
“Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.”

Shakespeare? The King James Bible? Close — the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the liturgical and literary masterpiece that along with the playwright and the landmark Bible helped shape the English language, [marked its 350th anniversary in 2012].

Anglicans Celebrate Book of Common Prayer’s 350th Anniversary by Trevor Grundy for Ecumenical News International and posted by Sojourners on May 2, 2012

From the same article:

The anniversary actually refers to the revised edition that still stands as the official doctrinal standard of the Church of England and most other churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. After Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer set out to replace the Latin missal with a book of liturgical services and prayers in English that would also incorporate theological changes, such as less prominence for saints.

The Prayer Book now appears in many variants in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and has influenced the liturgical texts of other denominations.

The book’s language — another phrase is “till death us do part” from the marriage service — resonates even today, said Bishop Stephen Platten, chair of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission. “Even in an apparently secular world, large numbers come to have their children christened or baptized. The cadences of the Prayer Book have become part of a treasury of prayers and reflections that have helped to fashion people’s lives,”

Read the entire post by Trevor Grundy.

Do you have some favorites from the Book of Common Prayer? Share them in the Comments section here. Keep the conversation going …

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Photo from the article by Trevor Grundy via Shutterstock

Wind Chimes: 15 August 2013

I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.

Psalm 85:8
in the Book of Common Prayer

Memorial Marker for Jonathan M. Daniels
Memorial Marker for Jonathan Myrick Daniels in Hayneville, AL

Yesterday, August 14th, the Episcopal Church remembered Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a seminarian killed in Alabama during the Civil Rights marches in 1965. Jonathan struggled with God’s call. He wondered to what (kind of ministry, place of ministry, people to serve with) God was calling him. He returned to seminary:

Conviction of his calling [to ordained ministry] was deepened at Evening Prayer during the singing of the Magnificat: “ ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things.’ I knew that I must go to Selma. The Virgin’s song was to grow more and more dear to me in the weeks ahead.”

Today, August 15th, the Episcopal Church commemorates Saint Mary the Virgin (a Holy Day in the Episcopal Church celebrated every August 15th). Together, her “Yes” to God and Jonathan’s “Yes” to God have the power to inspire our own “Yes” to God. What an amazing mystery it is to share God’s story in our own lives, even as Mary and, much later, Jonathan did.

DivLine360x12“Yes” the chimes sound; “Yes” again and again
What do you hear?