Sunday, December 31, 2006
Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lord, have mercy.
God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Hat tip to Karin, a fellow blogger, who kindly corrected my information!
"God in a baby's hand"
I sought him dressed in finest clothes,
where money talks and status grows;
but power and wealth he never chose:
it seemed he lived in poverty.
I sought him in the safest place,
remote from crime or cheap disgrace;
but safety never knew his face:
it seemed he lived in jeopardy.
I sought him where the spotlights glare,
where crowds collect and critics stare;
but no one knew his presence there:
it seemed he lived in obscurity.
Then, in the streets, we heard the word
which seemed, for all the world, absurd:
that those who could no gifts afford
were entertaining Christ the Lord.
And so, distinct from all we'd planned,
among the poorest of the land,
we did what few might understand:
we touched God in a baby's hand.
We can do likewise, as we are called to do for those that Christ Jesus loved
This poem/lyric was found on http://freedom-bound.blogspot.com/by a spot on Brit named John Bell.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Today is the day we commemorate the Holy Innocents. I love the prayer for this day because it reflects so much from when it was written to the very present, and I am sure for years to come:
"We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
I could not have said it better myself. How well this prayer rings true of today's world, of today's tyrants, including those in our own Communion [Minns, Schofield and the rest of the noisy gaggle]. There are those who seek to imprison, torture and blaspheme the very grace and reconciliation that Christ Jesus died for until it fits their skewed view of God and Christ's fulfillment of the Law [Hmm...could it be Peter Akinola?].
In a time when the one thing everyone could agree on at our last national Convention was the Millennium Development Goals, how quickly the secessionists and fundamentalist Anglicans forget. Here, let me remind you of what those Goals are that we so wholeheartedly support:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
Though all of these goals are important, I wish to focus on one in particular that some of the fundamentalist "anonymous" commentators on many progressive blogs are coming down very negatively on. I refer to Goal number 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. Why are we not surprised...
In one particular case the commentator, obviously of the male gender and certainly NOT representative of good men everywhere, was particularly cutting in regard to our Presiding Bishop and her gender. The comment was made in regard to a letter by the Archbishop of Nigeria in regard to our Presiding Bishop in that she will not be invited to Tanzania and should not be invited to Lambeth 2008, because among other things she's a woman and can't possibly know anything about leadership and God.
This guy said because "Doctor Katharine" is a woman how could she possibly know anything about scripture, or its proper interpretation. The Brits tend to call their bishops doctor hence the addressing of our PB as "Doctor". Well, obviously this man has been living in his cave a bit too long and does not care a whit about promoting gender equality and empowering women. It's sad that some men, American and British, and some women for that matter, are sooooo behind the times and do not "get" what Jesus was all about. At least thirty years behind the last time we checked. Our Presiding bishop fulfills the promoting of gender equality and the promotion of women's empowerment in the Church as well as the world by her very Christian example and her authentic humility. It's what Jesus did, that darn radical hippie! Who the bloody heck does that Boy think He was and is! Having women as disciples and financial supporters! The bloody nerve! Didn't He know He was wrecking a good thing for the rest of us guys?
I must say that ++Katharine's letter to the diocese and churches that were considering and have rebelled against the Constitution and Canons of the Church, but more so against the teachings of Christ, was "love in control". I refer to the letter and gloriously wonderful captioned picture at MadPriest's "Of Course, I Could Be Wrong" blog: http://revjph.blogspot.com/2006/11/love-in-control.html . Basically the letter and the picture says it all about the humility and dignity of our God-given, God-sent Presiding Bishop. How well she counters, with love, all the fallacies and hyperbole that the fundamentalist Episcopalians/Anglicans put forth.
I am so very proud and thankful for her leadership and Christlikeness in our Church. We have needed her and she has come to us by way of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thankfully most of the Episcopal Church and other dioceses outside of our borders can see what we see...real leadership and grace.
"And God was a child curled up who slept in her and her veins were flooded with His wisdom which is night, which is starlight, which is silence. And her whole being was embraced in Him whom she embraced and they became tremendous silence."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton, writer of The Daily eMos and other wonderful stuff, wrote in today's eMo the words I have not been able to find in myself regarding the most recent news in the Church and the current Advent season. I think anyone can think better than I can at this point in time. Here are her pearls of simple wisdom and observation, of why Jesus came to us in the first place, and answers the question in my mind recently as to why Jesus never spoke a Beatitude for blessing those who divide the Body.
THE SELF-ANOINTED RIGHTEOUS
So much un-peace, in the Church and in the world. A peculiar pride in our own stubbornness has infected many of us -- as if reconciliation somehow represented a failure of moral nerve. We are strongly attracted to visions of ourselves as lonely martyrs for a holy truth -- and this is a dangerous self-image to have. It leaves no room to accept criticism we may desperately
And so we leave churches that aren't holy enough for us. Assume we know God's will solely through a narrow reading of scripture, and pride ourselves on never changing our minds. We stay the course.
In doing so, we are in danger of ignoring a God who is free. A God who does new things. We won't allow it. We insist on worshipping the ancient record of God's work in the world, instead of the God to which it all attests. We will not allow God to be the unexpected thing God must be in every age.
Here comes Jesus -- a child born into a world of division. In his name, we will exclude and even kill, and we will tell ourselves in that very moment that we are doing the work of the Prince of Peace.
No wonder Jesus wept. Lord, have mercy.
Copyright C 2006 Barbara Crafton - http://www.geraniumfarm.org
"You see," writes Catherine of Siena,
speaking in the person of the eternal Father,
"this sweet and loving Word born in a stable,
while Mary was journeying; to show to you,
who are travellers, that you must ever be born
again in the stable of knowledge of yourselves,
where you will find Him born by grace within