Link

Hope for the church in a discouraging time

This is the second link to which I draw your attention. Also by Sonja (see The rock supporting the church) this post speaks to me (and to many, I suppose) about finding hope and light as the church once again wrestles with balancing authority and credible witness to Jesus who came “to serve, rather than be served.” Again, I encourage you to read Sonja’s post (click the link at the top of this note).

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Save the date, plan to participate

10th Anniversary of 9/11 at St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert, CA

If you will be in the desert on the weekend of 9/9 – 9/11 plan to join the folks of St. Margaret’s in remembering, praying, and being with each other on the 10th Anniversary. The evening will take us into the community of Palm Desert—you’re invited.

Yes! You are invited to save the dates and times for 10th Anniversary remembrances at St. Margaret’s and in the community of Palm Desert, CA.

  • Friday September 9th LABYRINTH WALK beginning at 7:30pm
  • Saturday, September 10th HIKE AND PRAY TO THE CROSS beginning at 6am
  • Sunday, September 11th REMEMBER IN WORSHIP
    • 8am Service of Holy Communion
    • 10am Service of Holy Communion with commemorative prayers and music
  • Sunday, September 11th COMMUNITY CONCERT & PICNIC
    • Begins at 7:15pm more details to follow

Details are being finalized as this is written, times and dates are firm—plan now to attend one or more of these events.

South Sudan Celebrates Its Own Birth

Today, July 9, 2011, a new nation is born. The way forward won’t be easy. Continuing prayer, study, and action–especially from “we the people” will be necessary.

South Sudan raised the flag of its new nation for the first time Saturday, as thousands of South Sudanese citizens and dozens of international dignitaries swarmed the new country capital of Juba to celebrate the country’s birth.

Though Saturday is a day of celebration, residents of South Sudan must soon face many challenges. Their country is oil-rich but is one of the poorest and least-developed on Earth. Unresolved problems between the south and its former foe to the north could mean new conflict along the new international border, advocates and diplomats warn.

Violence has broken out in the contested border region of Abyei in recent weeks, and fighting is ongoing in Southern Kordofan, a state that lies in Sudan — not South Sudan — but which has many residents loyal to the south. The 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) north-south border is disputed in five areas, several of which are being illegally occupied by either northern or southern troops.

Read the entire post here: South Sudan Celebrates Its Own Birth : NPR.

Memorial Day 2011

[The Rev. Bob Blessing’s] most recent tour of duty in Iraq included a considerable amount of both explosions and shootings, prompting a serious “reflective mode” as he observes the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. “I’m really dealing with life and resurrection. Remembering all the lives and how they served, to me, is crucial,” he said during a May 25 telephone interview.

Like his former battalion commander who died when his vehicle hit a land mine. … And the Iraqi translator. “Her name was Sarah, like my daughter. She was killed when a bomb went through her face, literally, and blew her apart. She kept our guys alive and gave the ultimate sacrifice, trying to keep peace for her people.”

Blessing, rector of St. Andrew’s Church in La Mesa, California, in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, said that he’ll pause this Memorial Day to remember not only the dead but also the living, and their huge sacrifices.

Let us pause as well and remember and pray and work as we can and even more diligently to extend God’s Peace, God’s Reign to all People.

Read the interview: Episcopal News Service – NEWS.

I remember

2Lt Mark J Daily (1984-2007)

Mark J Daily

2Lt. Mark J. Daily, 23 years old, married, son and grandson, husband to Janet; killed in Iraq on January 15, 2007. God bless you and all who love you, Mark. My post on Memorial Day 2010

The Los Angeles Times maintains an online Memorial for those Californians who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Times editors encourage readers to leave memories; here is one left for Mark:

Mark- I knew you through your mom’s lovely and prideful chats about you and your siblings. I loved your mom and didn’t even know her that well. She helped me with my hearing aides. When she spoke of you and your amazing accomplishments, her face lit up the room. I can’t express how much you and your story has affected my life. A young, inspirational, wise beyond his years man, who’s life was cut way too short trying to make a positive impact on a broken country. Upon discovering of your passing, your mom and I shared a private moment in her office and both cried. Not so much for the way you passed but for the life you wouldn’t be able to complete.  — Valerie (2010)

You can always pray

Pray for those harmed; pray for those come to help

Viewing the destruction left by the tornado in Joplin, MO one can feel helpless (I know I do). Into that helplessness comes the still small voice, indeed, the voice that calmed the storm, “you can always pray.”

You may not be in a position to leave everything and go and help, but you can pray, right now, in the place you are, with all the love and energy you can gather and put into that prayer. You can, from the comfort of your home and community still intact, send your donation to relief agencies (like Episcopal Relief and Development) who are in contact with people “on-the-ground” in Joplin offering aid and comfort, healing and hope.

While looking for inspiration I found an inspired prayer already sent, and ready to be sent again, to the heart of God for the benefit of others and an encouragement to our efforts. Here is the prayer:

Special Prayer for Tuscaloosa and all tornado victims for May 1 2011

God of Creation,

Your ways are mysterious to us.  We know that we were created by You out of love, as part of the whole of creation, called into being by Your voice, and You pronounced “It is good.”

The earthquake long ago broke open the tomb; the earthquake a few months ago wrecked havoc upon Japan and caused a terrible tsunami.  You spoke to Job out of the whirlwind; but the whirling winds have blown away Tushka and Tuscaloosa over the past few weeks.  The floods subsided and allowed the ark to land, for life to re-enter the earth; the floodwaters are rising in New York, and North Dakota continues to recover.

God, Your Creative power is still at work, in the calming winds, in the receding waters, in the settling earth.  When the chaos of earthquakes, floods and tornadoes shatters our lives, Loving God, You are at work in our brothers and sisters who come to our aide, who bring healing and hope.  When the violence of the world drives in a wedge, Loving God, You are at work in the peacemakers, in the caregivers, in our neighbors who love us, even when we are strangers.

Mighty God, You call us into action to be Living Hope for the world.  You have called us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to lift up those in need, through prayer and the sharing of our time, talents, finances, and our very selves.  Guide us in the best ways to be Living Hope for those who are heartbroken, for those who are mourning, for those who have lost everything.  Help us to be Your servants, to be the Living Hope this world needs.  Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend, who gave His life for us and calls us to be the Hope for the World, we pray always.  Amen.

Please join me (and so many others) in prayer. Written by The Rev. Mindi, this prayer is my prayer, and I hope your prayer, as we become “Living Hope” in the time of crisis in Joplin, MO.

Rev-o-lution: http://tinyurl.com/3bg22tn (Rev Mindi’s blog)

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Image: LA Times images from Joplin, MO

Sudan

Referendum parade

The AP headline reads “Southern Sudan Votes For Secession By 99 Percent.” Dated 30 Jan 2011 the story I read was posted by NPR. A new nation is being born. Full article.

I urge you to continue in prayer, study and action as the way forward will be difficult and could be marred by continued conflict despite the vote.

Continuing in prayer, study, action

From SudanThe Referendum is finished. As stated before, now is the time to continue to pray, study, and act (the request of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori). I offer two recent NPR articles to further your study and inspire your prayers.

In thanksgiving: an Associated Press article on NPR with this headline, “Carter Center: S. Sudan Vote Peaceful And Credible.” The article begins “A group of election observers led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday that they found Southern Sudan’s recent referendum on independence from the north to have been credible.” It goes on to describe the observations made by Carter Center volunteers and others. Too, it indicates the possibility of renewed violence even though the referendum was relatively peaceful. Read the post.

As if to underline the Carter Center assessment, NPR ran this story “Christians Flock To South Sudan, Fear Future In North.” The article describes a movement of Christians to the south in advance of expected violence. While we may not be able to physically intervene we are not powerless. Continue to pray, continue to do what you can to keep our own government (through its elected officials) as an advocate for a peaceful transition as South Sudan becomes the world’s newest nation. Read the article.

For further reading and reflection

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Photo: The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace