Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another shooting


50 people killed and more than 50 wounded.  This story transcends tragedy.  Our minds cannot seem to rationalize or make sense of the horrific violence.  It prompts outrage, shock, and despair.  It's hard to find the Kingdom of God today.  Do we live in a world filled with such hate?  

To paraphrase the words:  “If hate such as this is accepted, then love has no place in the world. It may be so; it may be so. But I don't have the strength to live in a world like that.” It may be so; it may be so. I do not want it to be so. I pray that it is not so.  Beautiful lives ripped from our arms in Orlando Florida.  

We cannot keep silent.  We cannot accept this as normal. We must not give life to the darkness of hate, marginalization, violence, political rhetoric and discrimination.  We cannot be enraged for the moment, today, or the next week.  We cannot sit silently until the next mass murder.   We discussed the necessity of assault rifles after children were murdered at Sandy Hook and nothing changed.  We argue over the senselessness of violence and lives are taken on the streets of Philadelphia, Albuquerque, Washington DC and Chicago.  Brothers and sisters brutalized daily, and we deliberate whether hate and discrimination exists. 

Through our tears, pain, bewilderment and sadness we must envision something new.  It has to begin today, and it must start with us.   I believe in the goodness of humanity. We have seen it time and time again.   Hopeful people whose lives express a deep and abiding love for all creation. A world where forgiveness is stronger than revenge, where empathy abounds over hate, acceptance mightier than exclusion and that the light of love and life is shining brighter than the darkness of hate and death.  


We must find our voice.  It must begin in our churches and we must take it to the powerful. We can make a difference.   It is the only path we have in a world that has a tendency to slip into the darkness.  May we all believe in the transformative power of hope, peace, goodness and love.  May we bring the healing and love of Jesus Christ to this world. This is the world we envision. May it be so, may it be so.  I pray for those affected by today.  May the Lord hold us close. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My everything



I was blessed to be the homilist at the diaconal ordinations this past Saturday. A friend who is on Facebook asked that I post the portion of the homily that spoke to his journey. Steven, this is for you: Eventually the power seeking apostles moved beyond prominence, status, titles and power. They finally understood the only thing that could change the world was Christ. I am going say something disturbing in this day and age. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Jesus is not a concept, theory, great teacher, guidepost or spiritual guru. Jesus Christ is Lord, King, Savior and Son of God. Thus, You will not be the savior of the world. Only Jesus is the savior and you are called to serve. Preach Jesus, Baptize in his name, live with him on your lips and in your hearts. Let the love of God live and grow inside you. lf a person doubts, encourage their questions and seeking. You may be the only face of Christ they meet. Be an exploring companion. Today is a great gift, your call has been answered. You are now made new.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day




It is one of the most moving and thought-provoking national holidays.  Memorial Day is set aside to pay tribute to those who were killed in battle while serving in the United States military.  Flags will fly, people will celebrate, attend barbecues, spend time on boats or at the park.  

We walk by the monuments and graveyards and at some point the twinge of remembrance must go deeper than the celebratory. It has to go deep.  We must come together to remember why.  Politics and division should give way to memory and sacrifice. The names, the wars, the battlefields, the granite markers are not simply numbers or words - they are real stories of beautiful lives. 

The stories of who we are as a people and a nation. The son, daughter, husband, father, wife, mother, brother and sister who believed in this country.  They stood and served.  They walked forth in service, and their blood spilled.  Precious lives for the ideals and promise of the United States.  Why?  The knowing that all want the same thing - freedom, kindness, hope, love, laughter and liberation from oppression.  The belief this country can make a difference in this world for good.  The United States represents hope - for everyone.   Let us remember and call forth the “better angels of our nature.”

The words written long ago should mean something.  There is a reason for “we the people” rather than “I the individual.”  Meaning in “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” Clarity in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural:  “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

This weekend, go deep and recall the more than 1.3 million Americans killed in our wars.  Let us take a moment to pray and offer our gratitude.  O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy.  (Book of Common Prayer pg. 839)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jesus loves me....



While visiting a hospital in Nepal, Philip Yancy encountered a woman consumed by leprosy. Her body calloused, deformed stumps for limbs, blind eyes mottled, and one could see far into her sinus cavity. She was not what the world would consider beautiful. When she heard his voice, she pulled herself toward him with her elbows. She leaned her head on the shoulder of Yancy’s wife and they began to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” She knew the song and believed it. This child of God had an all-consuming belief in the power of Jesus Christ.

Yancy wrote “Out of that deformed, hollow shell of a body, the light of God’s presence shines out. The Holy Spirit found a home.” What a beautiful and hopeful statement. To realize the Holy Spirit continuously moves and lives in unexpected places. Moves and lives in each one of us. Hope and light sparked by the all-consuming belief in the transformative power of Jesus Christ. A woman with leprosy, the faithful, the hurting and those seeking a path forward. To realize that even through the seemingly deformed hollow shells of our lives, the light of God’s presence will shine. The Holy Spirit seeks and finds a home in our lives. Imagine the opportunities and possibilities.
Jesus loves me this is know….

Monday, May 02, 2016

Pray



Prayer.  The sacred conversation between God and God’s breathtaking creation.  We pray in church, in times of need, to make a request, out of love, or only to become vulnerable before God.  I find that when I do not pray, I feel adrift.  When I pray, I breathe deeper, I move easier, the sense of peace is transformative.

In the movie Shadowlands, Anthony Hopkins plays C. S. Lewis and says of prayer: “I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”  

The world needs prayer.  Take a moment to grasp the number of people in the world in need of our prayers.  Pick one person that you will pray for this week.  It can be someone you know or someone you don’t know.  Pray for them throughout the day, every day for a week.

A teacher, the police officer, the lady cleaning our hotel room, the waitress, a child on the playground, a prisoner in jail, the soldier away for her children, your Priest, your wife.   Pray.   That God holds them, and they sense the presence of Jesus Christ.  Share Jesus Christ with them and reaffirm in a spiritual way that they, that we are never alone.

Monday, April 25, 2016

You are worthy


A television news segment reported on the pressures facing teenagers.  During the interview, many teenagers questioned their “worth.”  Worthy of the attention of others, worthy of being accepted into popular culture, worthy of their parent's attention.  We have become obsessed with societal acceptance, or monetary worth and have forgotten our inheritance.

We are children of the creator of heaven and earth.  The one who spins galaxies in the palm of the divine hand.  The one who breathes life into the tiniest red ant.  The one who sent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into the world because of our “worth.”

In a daily devotional reading.  Max Lucado wrote “The Lamb of Christ over the child of God? Whenever the Father looks down on you, what does he see? He sees his Son, the perfect Lamb of God, hiding you. When God looks at you, he doesn’t see you; he sees Jesus. And how does he respond when he sees Jesus? He rends the heavens and vibrates the earth with the shout, 'You are my Son, whom I love, and I am very pleased with you'” (Mark 1:11).

You are worthy.  Jesus, I am yours.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Interesting Sacred Encounter at Grocery store







Stopped on the way home and while in check out line noticed a man watching me;   inspecting the collar.  “So, you a Priest?”  Yes, I am.  “So, you believe in miracles?”  Yes.  “Why? all a bunch of bull.”  

I smiled, put his bread on the counter and said “I am not smart enough to explain it.  All I know is I believe in Jesus; he is my everything, and somehow I know He is true. His miracles are real - even today.  It happens”  

He was never angry or pointed.  He smiled a bit.  As I was paying the cashier, I said - I consider it is a miracle that someone had the guts to ask me the question.  

Said goodbye and left told him “my brother, I will say a prayer for you tonight.”  He looked at me and said “thanks”  I am always blessed by sacred encounters.