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.