Praying with those in the Philippines

2013 Central Philippines devastated by typhoon Haiya   Framework   Photos and Video   Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times
In the ruins of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan. Click the image to view others from the LA Times Photo Gallery

Typhoon Haiyan spread death and destruction when it reached land in the Philippines. At this time (Tuesday 11/12/13) the death toll continues to rise and pictures of the devastation give us a heart-wrenching look at the survivors and what is left of their homes, neighborhoods, and cities.

As I write, I know I cannot physically go and give aid. I believe that most (or all) of you reading this are in a similar place. Nonetheless, ‘love of neighbor’ calls us to action.

What that action will be is very dependent on our ability to empathize with those who have been hurt or harmed and to empathize with those who are able (maybe even required) to physically go and search for and minister to the hurt and homeless and hungry. Then, our empathy will call forth our response of donations to help both groups. Encircling us in this discernment is our prayer.

For whether we go or stay, whether we can give much or a little, we are called to pray. As one who has received grace upon grace through prayer I tell you that prayer and praying is more powerful a force—for the one who prays and the one being prayed for—than you can imagine.

Please join me in giving and praying for brothers and sisters young and old, in the Philippines. Join me, too, in praying for those who are able to be on the ground as an answer to prayer.

From  the Church of England:

O loving Creator, bring healing and hope to those who, at this time, grieve, suffer pain, or who have been made homeless by the force of flood in Philippines.

We remember those who have died and we pray for those who mourn for them.

May we all be aware of Your compassion, O God, which calms our troubled hearts and shelters our anxious souls.

May we pray with humility with our troubled and struggling brothers and sisters on earth. May we dare to hope that through the generosity of the privileged, the destitute might glimpse hope, warmth and life again.

Through our Saviour Christ who lives with us, comforts us and soothes us. Amen.

Recreated by Christ’s love

The cross in the church of San DamianoWhere did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross …

Today, October 4th, the Church remembers Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis traveled to Assisi and celebrated the Eucharist with thousands. His homily, at least the prepared text ( we know he often ad libs), is available for our consideration.

The Pope asks, “What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough – but by his life?” He sets before us three answers beginning with:

His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him. […]

On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts. The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death.

He proceeds to offer two other answers:

… the second witness that Francis gives us: that everyone who follows Christ receives true peace, the peace that Christ alone can give, a peace which the world cannot give.

… [third] Saint Francis of Assisi bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created, and that men and women are called to safeguard and protect, but above all he bears witness to respect and love for every human being.

Read the text of his homily. Understand the Pope’s prayers for us. I also encourage you to be attentive to reports of his ad lib comments and find trusted commentators (like Fr. James Martin, SJ, or the writers on Religion News Service or the folks at America Magazine) who have access to even more information and anecdotal material.

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: 13 Apr 2013

Diana Butler Bass is a favorite author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In early March she posted this to her Facebook Page:

Was asked by an evangelical friend who has found his way to an Episcopal Church WHY the congregation likes scholars like Dom Crossan. Here’s part of my answer:

“Since I wasn’t at Dom’s presentations at the church you mention, I can’t speak directly to them. But I can speak to the ethos of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church understands itself as a big room, a community bound together by prayer and enacting justice, not a particular way of understanding scripture or theology. It is a comprehensive church, one that prides itself on holding a wide variety of views, and always open to new ways of engaging the ancient stories. Thus, as a denomination, everyone is really, truly welcome—and that includes Dom Crossan to Rowan Williams and Marcus Borg to NT Wright! But, of course, not everyone is comfortable with such an ethos. But it does mean that we listen to a wide swath of Christian thinkers — it is NOT unusual at all for a single Episcopal congregation to read books ranging from Crossan to CS Lewis. Or to hear Mary Daly and Phil Yancey quoted in a sermon.”

Every Sunday (at 9 am) we gather at St. Margaret’s in our Sunday Morning Forum. We definitely represent “a wide swath” of Christian thinking and believing. Either before (8 am) or after (10 am) the Forum we worship together and take communion together. Come join us for a wide-ranging discussion, prayers, and communion.

DivLine360x12It is a beautiful spectrum of sounds and rhythms from the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 1 Apr 2013

Sister Joan Chittister is one of my favorite authors. Here is her “Easter Prayer.” You can find an index to all of her “Ideas in Passing” here. I encourage you to subscribe to her weekly email.

To say “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,” is to say I believe that the Resurrection goes on and on and on forever. Every time Jesus rises in our own hearts in new ways, the Resurrection happens again. Every time we see Jesus where we did not recognize him before—in the faces of the poor, in the love of the unloved, in the revelatory moments of life, Jesus rises anew. The real proof of the Resurrection lies not in the transformation of Jesus alone but in the transformation awaiting us who accept it.

To say, “I believe in Jesus Christ . . . who rose from the dead,” is to say something about myself at the same time. It says that I myself am ready to be transformed. Once the Christ-life rises in me, I rise to new life as well. “Christ is risen, we are risen,” we sing at Easter. But it has a great deal more to do with life than with death. If I know that Jesus has been transformed, then I am transformed myself, and as a result, everything around me.

Until we find ourselves with new hearts, more penetrating insights, fewer compulsions, less need for the transient, greater awareness of the spiritual pulse of life, resurrection has not really happened for us. Jesus has risen but we have not. Resurrection is change at the root of the soul. It marks a whole new way of being in life.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to understand that in every life, something good fails, something great ends, something righteous is taken unjustly away, something looms like an abandonment by God. Give me the wisdom to know that You rose from the dead as a sign to us that every one of these “little deaths” is life become new all over again. Be with me in living Your Resurrection over and over again.

Joan Chittister in: Vision and Viewpoint e-newsletter dated 1 April 2013

DivLine360x12The chimes are fairly shouting praises as they sound today. What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 30 Mar 2013

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath,
so we may await with him the coming of the third day,
and rise with him to newness of life;
who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for Holy Saturday, March 30, 2013

DivLine360x12The chimes are still today. But the silence is filled with meaning and even hope. What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Wind Chimes: 22 Mar 2013

World Water Day, March 22, 2013

World Water Day: March 22nd

Water: we all need it, we all depend on it. Today, take a moment to think about the gift of water in your life. Take a moment to understand that a brother or sister you may never meet could really use your help in obtaining clean water. It is World Water Day.

Here are 2 videos to help you think about water and how you can make a difference:

DivLine360x12 Water. Water. Water. Please? That is what the chimes sound like today.
What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

Logo: UN World Water Day 2013