Friday, December 21, 2012

Love, Forgiveness & Honor

Dentis Shaw traveled from North Carolina to share his goal of honoring all those who have died from violence and cancer. He will speak at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library this Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.

You can read about it here:

His website is:

I have stickers from Dentis that I will hand out on Sunday.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 16 Sermon

Sermon preached by Deacon Christopher Holms at the 8 & 10:15 AM services on Advent III - following the tragedy in Newtown...

It is no easy thing that I stand before you today to preach the Good News that has come down through the ages to bring comfort, freedom, and understanding of our place in God’s universe. I was quite prepared to speak about St. John the Baptist and his calling to herald in the dawn of a new age by proclaiming the coming of the Messiah to desperate people in desperate times.

I do not get the easy task of reading that sermon. It has disappeared from my mind and replaced by something I would rather not have to acknowledge. On this third week of Advent, we light Mary’s candle. As Mary awaits the birth of her son with all the love and excitement an expecting mother has, we in turn pray to her for all of the mother’s who have lost the lives of their sons and daughters this Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

We call out to God, “Why did you let this happen? Why did you not send your angels to help the innocent?” I have even heard atheists put grieving Christians to the test by declaring that we worship a God who uses people to kill children. This deranged statement is not something new when one is trying to break down another person’s faith. And this question is was part of my own painful cries as I sat in my living room crying in the moment of confusion, anger and sadness.

Faith should always be questioned; otherwise we are merely children reciting verse which we do not understand. This is the struggle of faith. However, I would rather struggle with my faith than be a self absorbed atheist where there is no hope, no redemption, nor any belief at all. This is the problem of pain, as C.S. Lewis had written. This problem of pain, of terror, of God's silence that we all struggle for deeper meaning and purpose in our lives and our universe.

So, I struggle with the question of why? In today’s gospel reading we come to an eccentric man shouting out “Salvation” and “Repent”. He has sworn off material things and has dedicated his entire life to the Word of God. People from all over ask John, “How can we be saved?” And he tells them to treat people fairly and respect them with love.

How is this any different than the teachings of the prophets, the books of Wisdom, the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, or any other teacher of peace? It’s not. So then why do we keep asking the same question over and over and over again? What makes us sincerely ask, “What must I do?” and then not be able or willing to do it?

It is as Christ has said to Peter, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” We acknowledge the spirit, as a society, but it is becoming a concept as we turn to worship the flesh. The flesh is always an easier path, a quicker path to pleasure and that is what we want as a society. The spirit is much more difficult to pursue, but once mastered offers the individual freedom that no Constitution can offer.

I was in a debate with an atheist about what had occurred and my answer went as such, "When God and morality are taken out of school, government, our courts and homes something else will come to take its place. People need to wake up. Today was the first time I cried in years because of these innocent deaths and the realization of what parents and society are doing to our children.

“We people of faith have given permission, and silent confirmation, that it is okay for God not to be part of our lives. We have dismissed God as nothing more than a catch all for bad news to point a finger at, or a lucky blessing for when something good happens. So, what takes God’s place? What has entered into the school systems, the homes, the courts, and our government to take His place and the place of his teachings?

I recently took a two hour course, which really should have been six hours, on human trafficking and the underage sex trade business. It was horrifying to realize that in this day and age there are more slaves on earth than any other period in history. That here in Connecticut in our small towns and cities boys from Haiti are being forced as housekeepers, and our young girls are being forced to prostitute themselves.. This business is flourishing so well that it jumped to the second most profitable crime in the world next to drugs.

Children are playing rated M video games with their parent’s permission. They watch the evening news and adult television depicting crime, violence, rape, foul language, and the worship of money. Their young and underdeveloped brains are being desensitized to violence and pain. As they shoot time after time at men and women and while laughing, because after all it’s only a game, their heart rates increase at the excitement and death becomes fun. What is the average per week that they play these games and watch these shows that are replacing the compassion of God with violence and cruelty? If we look at Adam Lanza’s video game collection I have no doubt in my mind what he played.

So, where is the hope in all this mess? One of my favorite quotes from Anne Frank is this, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.” This written by a girl who for two years hid in the attic avoiding Nazi persecution. She is correct. This is how we all start off. But when we refuse to spread the word of God, when we deny the teachings of Jesus, and when we do not give sufficient love to our innocent children then that “goodness” of which Anne speaks of turns into something terrible.

I want to remind you of something that many people may have missed in the chaos and sadness of this event, and every event that imitates it. It is a lesson from Mr. Rogers. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers and I loved him. As I grew as a teenager, I found him silly and could not appreciate his teachings any more. Now, as an adult I see his wisdom and crave to hear him speak again.

He said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."

And that is the thing, isn’t it? The world is full of goodness. There are people who are following the teachings of John the Baptist, who are striving to do the right thing. It may seem to be less and less in this world, but that is simply not true. We hear of the evil that has penetrated our sleeping society, but there are good people, people like the ones sitting in this church every Sunday, who are trying to do our best.

There are teachers like Victoria Soto who hid her first graders in closets and drawers and then stood toe to toe with Lanza, died telling him that her class was in the gym and saving their lives at the peril of her own. That is a hero! The officers, paramedics, priests, counselors, people we never knew all rushed to the scene to help. Those are heroes! Those are people who have heard St. John’s message and responded to the call.

Before I leave today to watch my two boys and Reverend Kurt’s son perform their first Nutcracker, I want to leave you with these words from my brother, Adam, who is their ballet master.

"Today's lesson - perspective. The core of my teaching philosophy is to nurture and celebrate children. Today not only solidified this belief but also put dance into perspective. Dance for children should be nothing less than joyful. Yes, strive for kids to reach their best but keep in mind that dancing is one more chance for children to be free, one more chance to create a memory. To all my nutcrackers I love you, this weekend is a celebration of you and a celebration of those who are not able to dance."

Go home and celebrate the blessings in your lives. There are those of us who this Christmas cannot. It is time for us to not be afraid of who we are. It is time for us to be Christians and evangelize the lessons as St. John the Baptist would have us do. This Christmas, don’t worry so much about the gift, as nice as they are to give and to receive. This Christmas focus on love, focus on being together.

Thank you, Amen.

Eulogy for the Martyred Children

As I sat and processed the terrible tragedy of last Friday in Sandy Hook, I found help in thinking about it through the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Eulogy for the Martyred Children
18 September 1963
Birmingham, Ala.

[Delivered at funeral service for three of the children—Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley—killed in the bombing. A separate service was held for the fourth victim, Carole Robertson.]

This afternoon we gather in the quiet of this sanctuary to pay our last tribute of respect to these beautiful children of God. They entered the stage of history just a few years ago, and in the brief years that they were privileged to act on this mortal stage, they played their parts exceedingly well. Now the curtain falls; they move through the exit; the drama of their earthly life comes to a close. They are now committed back to that eternity from which they came.

These children—unoffending, innocent, and beautiful—were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.

Follow the link to read the whole sermon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my mystical iPad!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stages of Grief

As a nation, we are grieiving over the loss of so many children & teachers in such a violent way.  It may be good for us to remind ourselves about the stages of grief we go through.

Thoughts on the stages...
The stages have evolved since their introduction and they have been very misunderstood over the past three decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ‘s terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss.
Learn more here.

Prayer as we Mourn with Newtown

God, as Mary stood at the foot of the cross, we stand before you with broken hearts and tearful eyes. Keep us mindful that you know our pain, and free us to see your resurrection power already at work in the lives of the children and teachers who have died in Sandy Hook. In your time, raise us from our grief as you have raised them to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Thoughts from Sunday Morning

This is what I said on Sunday Morning:

This morning we gather as we do every Sunday but today we gather together in pain and sorrow. We may be angry, fearful, and feel as if the darkness has overcome the light. We have so many questions and too few answers. The events of Friday are so close, we are in the midst of an uncomfortable grief, feeling shell shocked by what has taken place just 9 miles from here.

Let us pause & remember: These children were our children. These families are our families. There are no words to explain the littlest angels ripped from their families, there is only deep sadness that we share with neighbors who have had the unthinkable happen to them, and a deep, deep gratitude for our own families. But we who are gathered here know that when all seems lost, God finds a way. We who are gathered here know that when our world is shaken, God is steady.

As I sat and watched the images on Friday, I grieved, I looked for hope in that darkness. I saw it in all the faces of those helping out, even through the tears and sorrow. As I reached for words to guide me, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in his Eulogy for the Martyred Children from 1963 helped me in my distress.
Dr. King said: “In spite of the darkness of this hour, we must not despair. I hope you can find some consolation from Christianity's affirmation that death is not the end. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power during these trying days.

Now I say to you in conclusion, life is hard, at times as hard as crucible steel. It has its bleak and difficult moments. Like the ever-flowing waters of the river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood. And if one will hold on, one [he] will discover that God walks with him and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.”
As we sit in the desolate valley, let this daring faith, be your sustaining power during these trying days. And let us pray for the victims & for ourselves:

Almighty God, giver of light and life, in whose hands are both the living and the dead: We offer to you our sorrow and confusion in the face of the cruel deaths of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As you were present in the midst of the gunfire and chaos, so we trust you are present now with those who have died. Receive them into the arms of your mercy and cover them with your love. In your boundless compassion, console all who mourn, especially parents and family members, and give to us who carry on such a lively sense of your righteous will that we will not rest until our country is safe for all your children. All this we pray in sighs too deep for words and in the name of the lover and protector of our souls, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Hymn for the Children

God, We Have Heard It

God, we have heard it, sounding in the silence:
News of the children lost to this world's violence.
Children of promise! Then without a warning,
Loved ones are mourning.

Jesus, you came to bear our human sorrow;
You came to give us hope for each tomorrow.
You are our life, Lord God's own love revealing.
We need your healing!

Heal us from giving weapons any glory;
Help us, O Prince of Peace, to hear your story;
Help us resist the evil all around here;
May love abound here!

By your own Spirit, give your church a clear voice;
In this world's violence, help us make a new choice.
Help us to witness to the joy your peace brings,
Until your world sings!

Tune: HERZLIEBSTER JESU: Johann Crueger, 1640 (Ah, Holy Jesus)
Hymn text copyright © 1999 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

Another Prayer for Newtown

From the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine:

Almighty God, giver of light and life, in whose hands are both the living and the dead: We offer to you our sorrow and confusion in the face of the cruel deaths of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As you were present in the midst of the gunfire and chaos, so we trust you are present now with those who have died. Receive them into the arms of your mercy and cover them with your love. In your boundless compassion, console all who mourn, especially parents and family members, and give to us who carry on such a lively sense of your righteous will that we will not rest until our country is safe for your children. All this we pray in sighs too deep for words and in the name of the lover and protector of our souls, Jesus Christ. Amen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my mystical iPad!

Thoughts on the Tragedy

From the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church:

We grieve with the many families and friends touched by this shooting in Connecticut. We mourn the loss of lives so young and innocent. We grieve that the means of death are so readily available to people who lack the present capacity to find other ways of responding to their own anger and grief. We know that God’s heart is broken over this tragedy, and the tragedies that unfold each and every day across this nation. And we pray that this latest concentration of shooting deaths in one event will awaken us to the unnoticed number of children and young people who die senselessly across this land every day. More than 2000 children and youth die from guns each year, more than the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will you pray and work toward a different future, the one the Bible’s prophets dreamed of, where city streets are filled with children playing in safety (Zechariah 8:5)?

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

- Posted using BlogPress from my mystical iPad!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for Newtown II

Holy One, you do not distance yourself from the pain of your people, but in Jesus bear that pain with us and bless all who suffer at others' hands. Hallow our flesh and all creation; with your cleansing love bring healing and strength to the victims of this shooting; and by your justice, lift them up, that in the body you have given them, they may again rejoice. Amen.

A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. (Jeremiah 31: 15)

God, as Mary stood at the foot of the cross, we come before you with broken hearts and tearful eyes. Keep us mindful that you know our pain, and free us to see your resurrection power already at work in the lives of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School. In your time, raise us from our grief as you are raising them to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)

God our strong deliverer; when those charged with the mediation of your healing power feel overwhelmed by the numbers of the suffering, uphold them in their fatigue and banish their despair. Let them see with your eyes, so that they may know all their patients are precious. Give comfort, and renew their energy and compassion, for the sake of Jesus In whom is our life and hope. Amen.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom. (Isaiah 40:11)

Prayers for Newtown

Tragic news of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Please keep all those affected in your prayers.

God our saviour,
we pray with those in Newtown,
who are shocked, grieving or in pain.
In your mercy, look on this wounded world,
and hold us closely to your promise of hope
in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

- Posted using BlogPress from my mystical iPad!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

There’s No War on Our Faith

I invite you to go over to Christian Platt's blog and check out:

Dear Christians: Relax.  Ther's no war on our faith.

It is worth reading before you buy into the "war on Christmas."

Where to Donate

Consumer Reports looked at charitable donations and the organizations that those funds went too:

"Charitable giving often comes to mind this time of year. The holidays might have you thinking about the less fortunate, or charitable donations might be part of your year-end tax strategy. Whatever the reason, make sure the group you choose will put your money to good use and not spend it on big salaries for its executives or huge payments to professional fundraisers."
Who should you choose?

Check out there page:

Notice:  Under international relief next to Doctors without Borders, high marks also go to our own Episcopal Relief & Development.  Bravo ERD!

Check out ERDs page and give!

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 9 (Advent II) Sermon

In just over 2 weeks, two wonderful teachers in our school district died suddenly: David Martin & Kathleen Kuhl. My kids didn’t have Kathleen but Jared had David as an advisor. Days of joy have turned to days of grief and shock. In between Thanksgiving & Christmas when we are in the midst of the “happiest season of all” as one song puts it, some are walking with grief and there are many of us who are reminded of loved ones who are no longer with us.

For many, this time of year is more dark than light and as the darkness grows this time of year, so does those moments of sadness and sorrow, of longing for those loved ones lost. We do at times struggle to find our way in the darkness, groping around, trying not to stumble.

And in that darkness is also mystery for in the midst of such darkness Christ is born, in such darkness is a prophet preaching repentance by the shore, in such darkness lies our hope, for in the dark we find light. For the Israelites in exile, those away from Jerusalem and their homeland, I suspect many wondered about their days ahead, they longed for the past when life was good in the land of Israel. Now they lived in strange lands with strange peoples – their days seem dark and they groped for a way forward.
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Baruch writing to the exiled Israelites ends his short book of the bible with a psalm of hope.
For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory…
Baruch’s psalm is a call to hope in the midst of their sorrows, to see that God was leading them forward into a brighter future, even when they could not see it for themselves, when the land of Israel would be theirs again to inhabit.

When we are in the midst of such darkness, it is hard to find the light, to be lead by the light… But that theme of being lead to be a better place is throughout scripture, of being led from slavery to freedom, from sin to life, from death to resurrection. There are many passages of such hope.

And it is Baruch and the Gospel of Luke that we heard this morning that both look to the Prophet Isaiah for such hope in darkness…
"Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
That is hope that all shall see the salvation of God, all will see their loved ones again, all will know that this present darkness is not all there is, there is light…

And as we journey through this season of Advent and the darkness washes over us and we sit and wait for Christ’s coming, maybe it isn’t that the light breaks upon us all at once. Maybe it’s in slender incursions of splintered light, God’s glory breaks through and we catch glimpses of it, and we can feel God with us, and our hope is renewed. Let me end with a poem that looks for such hope in the midst of darkness
From A Slender Grace: Poems by Rod Jellema

I have to look in cracks and crevices.
Don’t tell me how God’s mercy
is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea.
I already believe it; but that infinite prospect
gets farther away the more we mouth it.
I thank you for lamenting his absences—
from marriages going mad, from the deaths
of your son and mine, from the inescapable
terrors of mankind: Treblinka. Viet Nam.
September Eleven. It’s hard to celebrate
his invisible Presence in the sacrament
while seeing his visible absence from the world.

This must be why mystic and poets record
the slender incursions of splintered light,
echoes, fragments, odd words and phrases
like flashes through darkened hallways.
These stabs remind me that the proud
and portly old church is really only
that cut green slip grafted into a tiny nick
that merciful God himself slit into the stem
of his chosen Judah. The thin and tenuous
thread we hang by, so astonishing,
is the metaphor I need at the shoreline
of all those immeasurable oceans of love.
In such slender incursions of splintered light, live into the hope & the repentance, and remember, for as the Prophets are reminding us today… we will see the glory of God! Amen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Praying for the DRC

Praying for the Democratic Republic of Congo

Our fellow Anglicans in the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to experience violence and displacement. Since April, there has been a significant rise in violence promulgated by a new rebel group, M23, and several existing ones. The violence has caused the displacement of 320,000 within DR Congo, and 60,000 into Uganda and Rwanda.

The work of the Anglican Church in Congo continues to be of the highest quality and responsiveness, rooted in the love of Christian for neighbor. During a visit there in July of 2011, we saw firsthand evidence of the work done by Mothers Union and other groups on behalf of the least of these – women, children, and orphans, all victims of the violence of war. The internal displacement of hundreds of thousands since then, and the flight of still others into neighboring countries, has made the situation much worse. Many thousands are living with fear and insecurity, hunger, sickness, and poverty, while they yearn to return home and live in peace.

Archbishop Henri Isingoma of the Anglican Church of Congo asks us to join in a prayer for peace in DR Congo, initiated by the Congo Church Association. Pray for an end to the conflict, an end to violence and the atrocities, that the needs of the suffering may be supplied, and that peace may prevail

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church

A Prayer for the People of DR Congo

O God, Loving parent of all, comfort your children displaced, wounded, lost or orphaned by conflict in D R Congo; and give the people of that country courage to seek enduring peace with justice and freedom, that their children might grow up without fear, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Adapted from a Prayer from the Congo Swahili Prayer Book 1998)

A short prayer, based on part of the South African national anthem:

God bless Congo:
guard her children,
guide her leaders.
and give her peace;
for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

Other prayer:

Almighty God, maker of all, enemy of none, we pray to you for the people of Congo, whose troubles are in your heart and ours, whose hopes are set in your promises. Stretch out your arm, your mighty hand, and touch this wounded land. Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Touch those whose lives have been scarred by violence and death; as they look on the cross of Christ, bring them from pain to joy. Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Touch those who are guilty of greed and cruelty; by your Spirit bring them through repentance to new life. Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Touch those who wield power, of government, of arms, and of commerce: give them a vision of Congo rebuilt, united, free and prosperous. Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Touch your church, troubled and tired, and give it new strength, so that with Bible and hoe, prayer and medicine, it can tell of your love and show your compassion. Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Touch our hearts too, renew our solidarity with our brothers and sisters, and show us how we can support them in their difficulties.  Lord of heaven and earth: bring peace and healing.

Stretch out your arm, your mighty hand, and touch the wounded land of Congo; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

December 2 Sermon (1st Advent)

Cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Our collect this morning for this first Sunday of Advent reminds us that by God’s grace, we are invited on a journey from darkness into light and that we have a role to play in that journey as we cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Our journey in the midst of this cold and dreary time as we move into darker and darker days does not need to overwhelm us, it does not need to override our lives because we walk toward the light. Of course we know people whose lives are permeated by darkness, those who suffer from depression this time of year, those who are suffering because of Hurricane Sandy, those who have experienced death so close to them that the darkness seems to be right at their doorstep. But our readings today reminds us that even in the midst of such darkness there is light and we live in that hope.

Jeremiah reminds us that a righteous branch will spring forth, what God has promised will come to pass. Thessalonians reminds us to love one another and all and that God will strengthen our hearts. Our first two readings tell us that even during these dark days, to hold on, there will be light!

I got to experience that myself as we were preparing to come home from Vermont after a wonderful Thanksgiving away with family. As I was ready to get the car packed, we had a flat tire and even after AAA changed the tire, we found that the tire was not full size but an emergency tire that might not have gotten us home. So we needed to fix our flat tire but who would do it for us in the middle of Vermont on a cold, cloudy and snowy day? Driving home we passed a Ford dealership and we stopped in, not only did they fix the flat tire and put it back on so we could get home but they refused payment. In the midst of darkness there was light.

Many you have probably seen in the paper or on Facebook the picture of the NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo giving a homeless man new boots and new socks. What's interesting about the story not only is it about giving to someone in need and how the officer himself has been changed by this interaction when he learned that this homeless man never had shoes & he saw the blisters but that the officer still carries the receipt around with him to remind him that there are people always worse off. That is light in the midst of darkness.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us not to fear signs of the earth in distress, or when nations are confused. But to be alert, raise our heads, redemption is surely coming, we need not fear. He is telling us that light will overcome the present darkness.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Congo has asked for our prayers. (The DRC is the 2nd largest land area nation in Africa; its capital alone is bigger than the State of CT!) There are many articles in the paper about the violence there, of a major western city in that country, Goma that was overrun by rebels. These rebels seek to overthrow the government and the prayers that we are asked to pray is for an end of the violence and for all the parties in the conflict to come to a place of peace. The DRC is a nation where the people sit in deep darkness wondering what their lives will be. It is a nation confused and overwhelmed.
We have been asked by our Presiding Bishop to pray “for an end to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an end to violence and the atrocities, that the needs of the suffering may be supplied, and that peace may prevail. Our fellow Anglicans in the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to experience violence and displacement.”
So over the next few weeks in this season of Advent we will do just that we will remember the DRC, the Democratic Republic of Congo, we will remember the Archbishop and the church there and its ministry among all the people, we will remember those who are suffering and we will pray for peace. We will pray for them in our prayers of the people (and at 10:15 AM our Eucharistic prayer will be from the church in Congo and will help remind us of our solidarity with them as we gather around the altar.).

So in this Advent, in this time of waiting & praying expectantly, we live in hope, we ask God’s grace to cast off our works of darkness and put God’s light into us and transform us, so that through our prayers and action we can help bring light into the darkness of this world.

As the author and priest Henri Nouwen put it:
“To trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings […] trusting that God molds us according toa God's love and not according to our fear. The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction.”
That is the season of Advent, we hope for new things. Amen.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

World AIDS Day

A prayer for those living with AIDS:

Merciful God, we remember before You all who are sick this day, and especially all persons who live with HIV. Give them courage to live with their disease. Help them to face and overcome their fears. Be with them when they are alone or rejected. Comfort them when they are discouraged. And touch them with your healing Spirit that they might find and possess eternal life. All this we ask through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.