Come Holy Spirit …

From January 1993 until July 1997 I was privileged to share ministry with The Rev. G. Bradford “Brad” Hall. Brad would begin his sermons with a short prayer. As with many sayings, once it is repeated enough the saying ‘sticks’ it becomes part of you. So it is with Brad’s Sermon Prayer: it is part of me, part of my faith journey, a profound part of how I take the next step and the one after that and so on. Here is the prayer:

Come Holy Spirit,
come with your fire and burn us,
come with your rain and cleanse us,
come with your light and reveal to us;
convict us,
convert us,
consecrate us,
until we do something with our lives. Amen.

Two additional items: notice that Brad prayed not just for himself nor for ‘them’ but for ‘us.’ Brad joined his hearers and on behalf of all of us prayed that the Spirit would fill us until we (together) did something with our lives. Second, Brad would sometimes insert a decisive verb in that last line: “¬until we choose to do something with our lives.”

For more on the back story of this prayer see: Come Holy Spirit posted by Stanley Hirsch on our Sunday Morning Forum Blog, Hear what the Spirit is saying.

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April 24

Today (4/24/2013), in a gathering called the “Spiritual Day Hike” at St. Margaret’s we listened to a man of Armenian heritage talk about the Armenian Genocide (1915-1918). It is estimated that 1.5 million Armenian men, women, and children died in those years because, ‘official’ denials aside, they were Armenian. This man’s mother, father, and uncle were all directly impacted by this event prior to arriving safely in America.

The Episcopal Church has provisionally designated April 24 as a commemoration called Genocide Remembrance. It acknowledges that on April 24, 1915 over 200 Armenian men and boys were arrested and killed by authorities signaling the start of the genocide. Our prayer gives you an idea of why we remember, why we call out to God, and how we hope God will bless us in our day:

Almighty God, our Refuge and our Rock, your loving care knows no bounds and embraces all the peoples of the earth: Defend and protect those who fall victim to the forces of evil, and as we remember this day those who endured depredation and death because of who they were, not because of what they had done or failed to do, give us the courage to stand against hatred and oppression, and to seek the dignity and well-being of all for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, in whom you have reconciled the world to yourself; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Collect for the Day (April 24) in Holy Women, Holy Men emphasis added

On a pilgrimage to Armenia in 2001 Pope John Paul II also prayed in remembrance and in hope:

O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us!

Listen, O Lord, to the lament that rises from this place, to the call of the dead from the depths of the Metz Yeghérn, the cry of innocent blood that pleads like the blood of Abel, like Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more. Listen, Lord, to the voice of the Bishop of Rome, echoing the plea of his Predecessor Pope Benedict XV, when in 1915 he raised his voice in defence of “the sorely afflicted Armenian people brought to the brink of annihilation”.

Look upon the people of this land who put their trust in you so long ago, who have passed through the great tribulation and never failed in their faithfulness to you. Wipe away every tear from their eyes and grant that their agony in the twentieth century will yield a harvest of life that endures for ever. We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people, and dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity.

But renewing our hope in your promise, we implore, O Lord, rest for the dead in the peace which knows no end, and the healing of still open wounds through the power of your love. Our soul is longing for you, Lord, more than the watchman for daybreak, as we wait for the fullness of redemption won on the Cross, for the light of Easter which is the dawn of invincible life, for the glory of the new Jerusalem where death shall be no more.

O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us all!

PRAYER OF JOHN PAUL II at the Memorial of Tzitzernagaberd Yerevan
26 September 2001

The conversation around the table (our ‘day hike’ is more of a spiritual wandering than an actual hike) centered upon our responsibilities as followers of Christ to work in the ways we can, according to our abilities and with God’s grace, so that such horrors cease. We have a long way to go, but we have started.

For further information

Armenian Genocide on Wikipedia

Armenian National Institute (ANI) “Dedicated to the study, research, and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide”

A sampling of prayers

In the aftermath of the explosions in Boston prayers began to be shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms. Here is a sampling of prayers ascending from those who seek to follow the Way of Christ, the Way of Love:

Loving God, welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism. Comfort their families and all who grieve for them. Help us in our fear and uncertainty. And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love. Strengthen all those who work for peace, and may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts. Amen.
Offered by the People of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

O merciful Father, who has taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: look with pity upon the sorrows of your people in Boston. Remember them, O Lord, in your mercy; nourish their souls with patience; comfort the wounded with a sense of your goodness; lift up your countenance upon the first responders; and give us all peace—through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Offered by the folks at the Washington National Cathedral

Loving God, you sent Jesus into the world as one of us, and he suffered as we do. Help us to realize that you are with us at all times and in all things and that your loving grace enfolds us for eternity. For all who are weary and anxious this day, surround them with your care, protect them by your loving might and permit them once more to know peace and safety. Turn the hearts of the violent from the way of evil. May the barriers that divide us crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease. Help us in our confusion, and guide our actions. Heal the hurt, console the bereaved and afflicted, protect the innocent and helpless and deliver all who have been harmed. May we live in justice and peace. We ask all this in the name of Jesus, our brother. Amen.
Offered by the Women of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America)

May the souls of the departed rest in peace. May God console the families and friends of those who lost their lives. May God help all the injured heal, and give them and their families courage and hope for the days ahead. May God guide the hands of the doctors and nurses. And may God bless all the people of Boston.
Offered by Fr. James Martin, SJ

Let us be united in our prayers and in our love.

7/22/12 – Garden & Compost

Our Peace

… in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near ….

Ephesians 2:13-17

That is the wisdom of the Apostle written in the 1st century CE. Here is a more recent expression of this truth posted on Facebook by Forward Day by Day on July 21, 2012:

Rather than arguing about who should be included or excluded, let us remember that drinking from one cup and sharing one loaf calls us to unity. Jesus Christ intends us to be one body in him. We are invited to eat and drink at his table with each other, as the brothers and sisters we are.

A group of kids looking right at you

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Image: From the internet, source not recorded

7/18/12 – Garden & Compost

A favorite prayer from one who continues to teach me how to pray

Joan Chittister was one of nearly a hundred prominent men and women from every religious tradition and region to share a favorite prayer and reflect on its meaning for the recently published “A World of Prayer.”

Prayer for Dialogue with Greater Religions

I bow to the one who signs the cross.
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
I bow to the OM flowing in the Ganges.
I bow to the one who faces Mecca,
whose forehead touches holy ground.
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
I bow to the north,
to the south,
to the east,
to the west.
I bow to the God within each heart.
I bow to epiphany,
to God’s face revealed.
I bow. I bow. I bow.

–Mary Lou Kownacki

“I chose this prayer because it points us all to the awareness that it is an enlightening excursion, this wandering into the spiritual insights of other whole cultures, other whole institutions of the spiritual life, and other whole traditions of holy ones.”

From “Ideas in Passing” by Joan Chittister, an email dated 16 Jul 2012.

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7/17/12 – Garden & Compost

If you like Forward Movement’s Day by Day check this out

An image for daily meditation provided by Forward MovementThe new resource: Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement. Here is their welcome message and introduction:

“Welcome to the new Prayer Site at Forward Movement. This new site offers much of the same Forward Movement content you’ve been reading for years. As always, you can read and comment on today’s Forward Day By Day meditation; … [it] continues to be published on its own page, here.

We’ve added some exciting new features, too. [Indeed they have ~dan] You can pray the Daily Office …; you can get Morning, Noonday, and Evening Prayer, plus Compline – each day, every day.…

Go see for yourself: Daily Prayer: a resource of Forward Movement. Thank you Diane for alerting me/us to this new resource.

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Image: From the Forward Movement Daily Prayer Page

O praise him, alleluia

Music to start your day (or restart your day at just the right time)

Liverpool Cathedral Choir — All creatures of our God and King

A Facebook post on Unapologetically Episcopalian 6/9/2012
More about this Fan Page