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”

What? Me? A shepherd?

Yesterday (4/21/2013–”Earth Sunday”) Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, offered the homily at the National Cathedral. She called me, and you, followers of the Way (that began in Creation and continues—in Love—into our own day with the promise of more to come). Listen:

The 23rd psalm may seem like a romantic idyll, but it’s profoundly about what sheep need – food, water, rest, and the ability to fend off predators. The psalmist describes behavior that is just as essential to human thriving as it is for sheep or goats. In order for any human community to be effective or live in productive harmony, it needs leadership. When we start to talk about godly leadership, or shepherds like Jesus, we mean guidance toward what will nurture the life of the community as well as away from what will threaten or end the project. Good shepherding is life-giving and sustaining, and in the kind of language we use around here, it’s eternal. It is about what is ultimate, gracious, and abundantly life-giving. It seeks the welfare of the whole community, not simply the desires of an individual.

This kind of holy shepherding is meant for all of us, in all our variety.

This kind of holy shepherding is meant for all of us, in all our variety. We aren’t meant to march in lockstep, but to use the varied gifts of our creation and circumstances to gather others and move toward that kind of abundant life ….

Read the complete text of her homily Presiding Bishop uses Earth Day to call for ‘holy shepherding.’ The video of this homily is here.

May we have the grace in our own day to shepherd wisely and well, may we be ‘holy shepherds—a blessing to each other and to all the created order.

True about St. Margaret’s

Why people don't go to church

Reasons (why people don't go to church) on YouTube

Bishop Jim Mathes (Episcopal Diocese of San Diego) shared this video on his Facebook page with the comment “This is really quite good. It could be describing the Episcopal Church” I agree and pass this video on to you with my comment “It is true about St. Margaret’s.” If you are in the desert, do come and worship with us on a Sunday.

The Video: Reasons (why people don’t go to church)

Resources