A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Meditation Moments: On Thomas Merton's 100th Birthday

          Born in France on January 31, 1915 to a New Zealand Anglican Church father and an American Quaker mother, this worldly, other-worldly, best-selling hermit-author, mystic, priest, monk has left us a legacy of thought, a library of spiritual reflection, questions with answers that lead to more questions and a down-to-earth everyday approach to life with contemplation and prayer. Flesh, blood, all human, Merton, in his writings, shows he is one of us even as we are enveloped by and in awe of his ability to express and invite us into the realm of the Divine.
        I have no enlightened words but only 
"Thank you" to the soul of Thomas who is always available to us. His words speak the language our hearts and our own souls long for, as if he knew us each and individually more than 46 years after his death in 1968. One of my new personal favorites from his writing comes from his Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander written in 1966. In speaking of the early morning he says, 

"The first chirps of the waking birds mark the point vierge [the virgin point] of the dawn
under a sky as yet without real light, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence, 
when the Father in perfect silence opens their eyes." 

He goes on to describe further the waking of the birds and then says, 

"Meanwhile, the most wonderful moment of the day is that when creation in its innocence
asks permission to 'be' once again, as it did on the first morning that ever was." 

In the typical language of that time he then speaks to each of us, 

"Man's wisdom does not succeed, for we are fallen into self-mastery and cannot ask permission of anyone. We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose. We know the time and we dictate terms. We are in a position to dictate terms, we suppose: we have a clock...We will say in advance what kind of day it has to be...we will take steps to make it meet our requirements...we are off 'one to his farm and another to his merchandise'. Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking...'Wisdom,' cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend."      

Let us attend, Dear Lord, to the words and actions of Your Servant, Thomas Merton. His profound and yet simple, complex and yet attainable thoughts, conjectures, musings, teachings, and prayers give each of us a direction, a way of practice, a calm knowing that we, too, can touch the hand of God in each and every moment of our day and walk toward eternity with Thomas by our side.  amen. 


To learn more about Thomas Merton go here to: A Thomas Merton Tour


Thomas Merton, or Father Louis, his name as a Cistercian Monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, is celebrated on the U.S. Episcopal Liturgical Calendar on December 10.




Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prayers of the People: Fear and Awe-fulness, 4th Sunday of Epiphany

for Sunday February 1, 2015, Epiphany 4, Year B, Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Ps 111, 1 Cor 8:1-13, Mark 1:21-28    

 
Jesus...entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes...They were all amazed... 
[Mark 1: 21a, 22, 27a]

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. [Ps 111:10a]


       
       When was the last time you were astounded or amazed  by Jesus?
       Do you ever "fear the LORD" ?

          It is difficult to admit to myself that I don't actually remember the last time I was amazed or astounded by Jesus. I've been very moved during a retreat, in Sunday worship, by hymns and readings, in my personal prayer, and in other ways - but I'm suddenly aware that, whether through unconscious assumptions, a mild case of apathy, perhaps even some complacency, my sense of amazement and wonder is seriously lacking. I've been taking it all for granted, as if it's all easily understood, as if "I've got this."
          As for the "fear" that the Psalmist speaks of, I do remember that as a child I was afraid of God, terrified at times, that my misbehavior was grounds for eternal damnation. It's hard to distance oneself from that kind of image and language. So how can I begin to have wisdom if I am frightened of my Creator who loves me and who I am supposed to love?
         This fear of God or "of the LORD" isn't meant to be the kind of fear we associate with being scared and worried, or afraid of being in trouble. Rather, the ancient sense of the word tells us that in being filled with love, respect, and awe, we will fervently desire to be so faithful in our daily lives  that we will strive to avoid offending God through our thoughts and actions. It's the kind of "fear" we have when we don't want to upset or anger anyone we truly love.
         If we consciously engage with and love God more, if we sincerely want to know God the Creator, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, from whom all things are, and for whom we all exist [1 Cor 8:6], our wisdom will increase and our amazement will rebound. With faithfulness and awe of God as our life's primary work, our little forays into eating in the temple of an idol [1 Cor 8:10] , that is, giving in to the earthly temptations and everyday distractions that surround and pull us away from God, will be easier to overcome.
        It is time once again to find that amazement, to be astounded at the life and work and words of Jesus, to open our daily life and frequent prayers with true wonder, love, and praise. What can happen? I bet it's pretty awe-ful... Here's a way to begin, just sing with gusto:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.  
[composed by Carl Gustav Boberg in Sweden in 1885, translated into English by British missionary Stuart K. Hein]
 
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, we believe we know better yet we can easily succumb to alluring temptations in an earthly life. Awaken our hearts to rediscover our sense of awe in Your truth, equity, and righteousness.     

 God Almighty and Everlasting             
RESPONSE:  Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom. 

~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, even as we want to follow and love Jesus our Christ, let us be conscientious in wanting to boldly insist, of those in authority over all of God’s people, that the fulfillment of basic needs, economic justice, and mercy for everyone, is a fundamental necessity for peace, human rights, and the ethical survival of our souls. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

God Almighty and Everlasting
Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom.

~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, warm the spirits of those whose hearts, minds, and bodies are wearied with illness, severe weather, and loneliness, and enliven the energy of those who give them care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

God Almighty and Everlasting
Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom.

~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, as You clothe the newly departed with Your garments of heavenly glory, embrace the hearts of those who mourn, and give them the spiritual solace of Your peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

God Almighty and Everlasting
Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom.

~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

God Almighty and Everlasting
Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom.

~ Gracious, Compassionate Lord of All, grant that Your words be especially placed into the voices of those who lead us in the Church, that they may speak to us as Your true prophets; and also grant us ears to hear only what is of You, and the spirits to heed. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

God Almighty and Everlasting
Clean our spirits; call us back to Your love and wisdom.

The Celebrant adds: Supreme, All-Powerful, Boundless God, from whom all things are, and for whom we all exist, ignite in us the desire to seek Your truth to fulfill the longing in our souls, to be amazed again by the breadth and depth of Your Power and Glory, and to more easily relinquish our dabbling in the empty glamor of the temples of idols. This we ask through Christ Jesus, our Messiah, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit who together live and reign with You as One God, infinite and eternal, now and forever. Amen.



Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Meditation Moments: First, Not Equal


For January 24th ~ Florence Li Tim-Oi  [1907-1992]

             Born in Hong Kong, Li Tim-Oi was baptized later as a student and chose the western "Christian name" Florence in honor of Florence Nightingale, at that time. Answering a call to ordained ministry, Florence attended theological school and was ordained and served as a deacon in Macau. When the fighting between the Chinese and Japanese intensified in the beginnings of World War II, there were no priests available to serve the Christians in the area so the Bishop of Victoria* ordained her as the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion in 1944. But as her ordination as priest was more than controversial, she voluntarily gave up her license to function as a priest - not her Holy Orders - after the war.                
            Florence remained in China for many years, even though forced to work in a factory during Mao's Cultural Revolution. It would be 30 years before two other women were ordained in Hong Kong and, at long last, in 1971 Li Tim-Oi was once again recognized as a priest (three years ahead of the US Episcopal Church's "irregular" ordinations of the so-called Philadelphia Eleven - see this blog's post for July 29, 2014). After later moving to Canada, and being awarded two honorary doctorates by General Theological Seminary in New York City and Trinity College in Toronto,  Li Tim-Oi became an honorary, that is, non-stipendiary, or, volunteer, assistant priest in 1983 until her death in 1992.
              The Episcopal Church in the US celebrates her life and ministry in the Liturgical Calendar on January 24, the date of the eve of her ordination in 1944. She is also celebrated by The Anglican Church of Canada on 26 February. 
              It is well past time for all of us to celebrate the life and legacy of Li Tim-Oi as a model of obedience to God's call regardless of all the hardship that it entails.

             Thank you, Lord, for the witness and ministry of this courageous woman who served as Your priest, who gave up functioning as a priest to serve the common will, and who returned to Your priesthood many years later as a volunteer. How many of us are humble enough, and dedicated to Your service enough, to live so simply, so humbly, and so willing to live life on Your schedule, rather than our own.  Grant us patience, forbearance, and willingness to be as You would want us to be, instead of who we think we ought to be. Thank you, Li Tim-Oi, for your life, your work, and your example of how to be a true servant of God in this world.  amen.

*There is little to be found by looking at the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong about Florence Li Tim-Oi but there is a recent and fascinating article about the English Bishop who ordained her.  Here is the link about Bishop Ho Ming Hua (Ronald O. Hall) – Bishop of Hong Kong and Macau (1932-1966) http://echo.hkskh.org/issue.aspx?lang=1&id=141&nid=1074





Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Prayers of the People: Gone Fishin', 3rd Sunday after Epiphany

for Sunday, January 25, 2015, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, Year B Readings: Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Ps 62:6-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20




Jonah began to go into the city...and he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!....And the people of Nineveh believed God...God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them... [Jonah 3:4, 10b]

I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short... [1 Corinthians 7:29]

And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." [Mark 1:17]

          Poor Jonah, after giving in to God's call after a whale of an experience, finally goes where he is told to go and tells the people what God wants them to hear. But in a later piece, Jonah - who never wanted to be a prophet, tried to hide and go off in the opposite direction - is disheartened because God changed direction after the people, and even the animals, of Nineveh actually beat God to it and did overthrow their own evil ways 
because they believed Jonah's prophecy.         
          Paul, who thought that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent, grimly but accurately reminds us that our time in this life is short and we need to pay attention to how we are living.     
         And then there is Jesus who calls the next group of disciples - Simon, Andrew, James, and John - to leave their current lives NOW and follow Him. Can you even imagine walking away from your life as you know it, from family, and responsibilities, and all that you have worked for because someone like Jonah, Paul, or Jesus says you must? What level of trust does that require? I cannot quite grasp it, and yet, there is this nagging from the still small voice inside that I can do better, I can answer the call, I can live a life that calls others to see, respond, and join me in the net cast by God. It does sound a little fishy to an un-faith-filled ear, but then, is there a better way to be caught?

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, as we are called through Your prophets, teachers, and Jesus to overthrow our old ways and turn our lives toward You, we are promised our deliverance, our honor, our life eternal with You. Help us hear, believe, and heed Your word.

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge             
RESPONSE:  Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust

~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, the appointed time has grown short for those who are suffering from war, disease, poverty, and political machinations. Grant us the courage to walk the path of discipleship and call to account the leaders of this world, our country, and our community for the actions that diminish the lives of God’s people instead of enhancing them. We pray especially for: Barack, our President; Jack, our Governor; Tom, our County Executive; and Dennis, our mayor.

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge
Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust

~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, sustain the hope of those laid low by illness, homelessness, or despair, and encourage those who give them respite. We pray especially for:

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge
Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust

~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, lighten the hearts of those who grieve as You greet those we love who have left us with open arms and everlasting love and light. We pray especially for:

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge
Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust

~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge
Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust

~ Eternal God, Source of Steadfast Love and Redemption, You have chosen all of us, yet for those who have been chosen by You, and by us, to lead us in Your church, we ask that You favor them with the words, actions, and example of life that will cause us to re-think, re-work, and re-direct our life priorities toward You. We pray especially for: Katharine, our Presiding Bishop; Wayne, our own Bishop; David, our rector; Lloyd, our Rector Emeritus; Peter and Emily, our Associate Priests.

Gracious LORD, our Fortress and our Refuge
Our Rock who calls us to follow and trust 

The Celebrant adds: Merciful, Holy, Divine God, You call us to go where we do not want to go, to do what we do not want to do, to be who we do not want to be. Grant us the courage to accept the hook of Your salvation and to become the lure that others will follow, to be the fishers of people that Jesus asks us to be. Reconcile us to Your heart and steadfast love through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who together with You, live and reign in the bliss of eternal life, now and forever.  Amen.








Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meditation Moments: We're Still Dreaming, Dr. King


           The release of the movie Selma in the 50th anniversary year of the civil rights marches on Montgomery from Selma, Alabama, will bring several generations up to speed on the way things were.  African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc., and Caucasians who were too young to remember or not yet born will get a glimpse of the harsh and often brutal realities of the race struggles in the 1950s and 1960s. It's time for all of us to look, see, remember, and think again on how far we have come, how far we have yet to go, and how things - if we don't watch and act - will turn back.  
          Those of us old enough to remember will know that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and/or national origin.  It was followed by the Voting Rights Act passed on August 6, 1965 which was amended several times over the years to strengthen the ability of all citizens to have unencumbered access for voting.              
          In 2013 and 2014, many states, and the US Supreme Court, took measures to reduce the effectiveness of these laws by enacting legislation creating barriers to the ballot box based on a false pretext of protecting against voter fraud. Such legislation will reduce the ability of minority, elderly, poor, and physically challenged individuals to meet the new criteria for casting a ballot in future elections. In a country forged in democracy, yet where voter apathy is frighteningly rampant, the gerrymandering of credentialing, voting hours, and availability of adequate numbers of voting machines has had and will continue to have an adverse effect on voter turnout. Reading this speech of Dr. King's, of which the following is only an excerpt, I can feel the hands of time creeping backwards.
            Dr. King's oratory was legendary and I can still hear his voice when I read the words below. I hope you will read it - the emphasis is mine - and, I also hope you will click the link at the bottom to read the speech in its entirety. One other thing that Dr. King said often, in various ways, is that "There comes a time when silence is betrayal." We must NOT be silent. We can, should, and must, make a concerted effort to implore and demand of our legislators  that voting credentials be fair and easily obtained for all who meet the basic criteria of citizenship and age. Voting is but one issue in the realm of discrimination, but if one of our brothers and sisters are denied, then we are all denied full and equal access to democracy. We are the people for which government is by, for, and of....
           Let us cross the bridge again, hand in hand.

"How Long, Not Long" is the popular name given to the public speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after the successful completion of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965. The speech is also sometimes referred to as "Our God Is Marching On!"
How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.


"...Our whole campaign in Alabama has been centered around the right to vote. In focusing the attention of the nation and the world today on the flagrant denial of the right to vote, we are exposing the very origin, the root cause, of racial segregation in the Southland. Racial segregation as a way of life did not come about as a natural result of hatred between the races immediately after the Civil War. There were no laws segregating the races then. And as the noted historian, C. Vann Woodward, in his book, The Strange Career of Jim Crow*, clearly points out, the segregation of the races was really a political stratagem employed by the emerging Bourbon interests in the South to keep the southern masses divided and southern labor the cheapest in the land. You see, it was a simple thing to keep the poor white masses working for near-starvation wages in the years that followed the Civil War. Why, if the poor white plantation or mill worker became dissatisfied with his low wages, the plantation or mill owner would merely threaten to fire him and hire former Negro slaves and pay him even less. Thus, the southern wage level was kept almost unbearably low.

Toward the end of the Reconstruction era, something very significant happened. That is what was known as the Populist Movement. The leaders of this movement began awakening the poor white masses and the former Negro slaves to the fact that they were being fleeced by the emerging Bourbon interests. Not only that, but they began uniting the Negro and white masses into a voting bloc that threatened to drive the Bourbon interests from the command posts of political power in the South.


Marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge
in Selma, Alabama in March, 1965
To meet this threat, the southern aristocracy began immediately to engineer this development of a segregated society. I want you to follow me through here because this is very important to see the roots of racism and the denial of the right to vote. Through their control of mass media, they revised the doctrine of white supremacy. They saturated the thinking of the poor white masses with it, thus clouding their minds to the real issue involved in the Populist Movement. They then directed the placement on the books of the South of laws that made it a crime for Negroes and whites to come together as equals at any level. And that did it. That crippled and eventually destroyed the Populist Movement of the nineteenth century.

If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.  And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings.  And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost of psychological oblivion.

Thus, the threat of the free exercise of the ballot by the Negro and the white masses alike resulted in the establishment of a segregated society. They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; they segregated southern churches from Christianity; they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; and they segregated the Negro from everything. That’s what happened when the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society: a society of justice where none would prey upon the weakness of others; a society of plenty where greed and poverty would be done away; a society of brotherhood where every man would respect the dignity and worth of human personality..."






*"Jim Crow" became a pejorative term for African-Americans in about the late 1830s because of a popular song called Jump Jim Crow that was written and performed in blackface all over the country by a white man, Thomas Rice, beginning in about 1832. This stereotyped mocking image was applied to the laws of racial segregation that became known as Jim Crow Laws.

The full text of this speech is available here: 
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/our_god_is_marching_on/





Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayers of the People: You called? 2nd Sunday after Epiphany and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

for Sunday, January 18, 2015, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany and Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr., Readings: Yr B, 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Ps 139:1-5, 12-17; Reading from Rt. Rev Quintin E. Primo, Jr.*, [1 Cor 6:12-20], John 1:43-51    

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before,“Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  
[1 Samuel 3:10]
...Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”...Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
 [John 1: 43-46]
              We're all invited, we've all been called ~ what is our RSVP?  I show up at church fairly regularly, give to charity, help people from time to time, I even pray and sometimes it isn't just for Divine intervention to get myself out of a jam. But, taking in the readings for this Sunday - have I really answered THE CALL? Have I turned my life over to God, truly followed Jesus, and listened to the Holy Spirit? God knows. 
         Would it were easier to be like young Samuel and merely follow the instructions of an elder. Or to be like Philip, readily follow Jesus and then invite the slightly snarky Nathanael to simply "Come and see." It is time again to consider how I am to live my life. It is never too late to begin - even Constantine, the first Roman Emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, declared Christianity as a state religion, built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Old St Peter's Basilica, convened the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 from which we still use the Nicene Creed, wasn't baptized til his death bed; or St. Augustine of Hippo who said in his Confessions [written between 397-400] that in the early days of his conversion he asked God to make him chaste and continent (self-controlled) but not yet.  SO, when does YET arrive? Or, how many times have I waved it away? God knows.
        What will it mean for my life, how will I have to change, what will others think, am I ready? God knows. Speak, Lord, for I, that is, - um, er - I, your (slightly frightened) servant, is listening. I'm more or less ready to come and see. And, just maybe I'll even be able to pass along the invitation to  someone else to come and see, someday. God knows.
          
LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, You have searched us, known us, and named us from even before we were in the womb. Tingle our ears and awaken our hearts that we may hear again, listen, and follow Your call to us. Let our faith be as full as a child’s, our vision as clear as our brother Martin’s, and our fortitude as steadfast as our brother Quintin’s, that we may claim You as our own as You claim us as Yours.

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer           
RESPONSE:  May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, in a world of turmoil, hatred, and fear, let us dream no longer but rather, actively seek justice, mercy, and peace from all who govern, dictate, or hold Your people hostage in any way. Let us be among those who make freedom ring from every corner of this earth. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, caress the hearts and minds of those who suffer from sickness, addiction, and depression, and give strength to those who give them care. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, whisper words of hope to those who are grieving and give them a glimpse of the heavenly mountain top where all Your people live for eternity. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart

~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart
                       
~ All-Knowing, All-Seeing God, we give You special thanks for those lead us in Your church and guide us on our journey to You. Grant them wisdom, insight, and hope, and guide them to embolden us to follow and reflect You with our thoughts, words, and actions in each and every day. We pray especially for: add your own petitions and in memory of the witness of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bishop Quintin Primo.

O God, our Strength and our Redeemer
May our souls be free at last to serve You with gladness and singleness of heart
 
The Celebrant addsAlmighty Lord of Justice and Righteousness, give us the courage to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bishop Quintin Primo to seek the path of Christ in our lives, and to believe that through our individual and collective actions, we will overcome violence, oppression, and intolerance and be a force for unity and equality for all. We ask through Your Son, Jesus Christ who calls us to follow Him, and through the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, who together with You reign as One God, One Lord of All now and forever.  Amen.

The Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew in Wilmington, Delaware was formed as an intentionally diverse congregation and celebrates the legacy of Dr. King on this Sunday, and also that of the Rt. Rev. Quintin E. Primo, Jr, who many of us were privileged to know. This is a reading from his autobiography. For more information on this unusual faith community, see www.ssam.org

*A reading from “The Making of a Black Bishop”
   by the Rt. Rev. Quintin E. Primo, Jr. [1913-1998]
       Thinking of novel ways to serve the diocese (Rochester, NY) ...on behalf of St. Simon’s Young People’s Fellowship, we sponsored an annual diocesan-wide choral evensong service for Episcopal young people. The attendance grew from less than 100 the first year to more than 500. The event was designed to accomplish two purposes: to revive the beautiful and once popular sung evening prayer worship service held in many Episcopal churches during the 30’s and 40-s...; and, to provide safe, congenial, and non-threatening surroundings for black and white urban and suburban, small town and rural, middle-class and underclass, and sometimes “no class” young people to socialize, discuss racial and social problems, and proffer practical solutions. Participating clergy persons, youth advisers, parents and the young people themselves benefited enormously from their open discussions and shared experiences.
       For example, one morning in Chicago, a young white priest came to my office and asked my secretary to see me “for two minutes. The thought-to-be- stranger identified himself by saying, “Bishop Primo, as a high schooler and teenager, I participated in your yearly choral evensong services for young people at Simon’s in Rochester, New York. I was so inspired by them and you, that I with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, decided to become a priest and professional counselor. I want to thank you again, and let you know that I am available to serve as a weekend supply priest should you need me….”
       A few weeks later, the incident was repeated. This time it was a U.S. Marine Chaplain form Virginia, who was in Chicago on business. Entering my office, he said, “I have little time as a taxi is outside waiting to take me to O’Hare Airport. However, I felt could not leave Chicago without seeing you and telling you that I was a teenager when you were at St. Simon’s…..Father Dan Bennett brought me up twice to your annual choral evensong service for young people. I learned a lot about racial understanding and tolerance, and now I am a champion of human rights for all.” I was deeply touched by the Chaplain’s surprise visit and testimony of what those evening prayer services, discussions and socializing had meant to him. I knew there were others who had had similar experiences that I would never know about; it supported the fact that if you reach diverse people in their attitude and behavioral formative years and bring them together for positive and enlightening interaction, the seeds of racial tolerance, unity and understanding can be models and references that impact the remainder of their lives and those with whom they come in contact.



Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prayers of the People: Wade in the Water, 1st Sunday after Epiphany

for January 11, 2015, 1st Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Readings: Genesis: 1-5, Ps 29, Acts 19:1-7, Mark 1:4-11   

   
    In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."  [Mark 1:4-11]

          Baptism, for some a rite of initiation and adoption into the Christian faith, for others a sacrament of the Christian Church, required by some, deemed unimportant by others. Whether by aspersion (sprinkling), affusion (pouring), immersion (total or partial, standing or kneeling, or submersion), as an infant, child, or adult, water is the channel of holiness, although there is admission through Baptism of Desire - if you want it, you have it. But John is clear that only Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. Yet many of us who have been baptized as infants or, even as older children or adults, take this Blessing for granted.
          There is credible historical evidence, outside of the Gospel descriptions, of the Baptism of Jesus and it is considered the beginning of his Ministry. We are called by Jesus to follow, why not begin at the beginning? The words of an old Negro Spiritual say it best. God will trouble the water - stir it up - so we can see the right place to enter:  

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God's a-going to trouble the water


Look over yonder, what do you see?
God's a-going to trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming on me
God's a-going to trouble the water


         From the waters of Creation, to the waters of Baptism, Christ is our bridge over waters troubled and calm and who comes to set our souls ablaze with the infusion of the Holy Spirit. Whether baptized before now or not, it's time to be refreshed and renewed as we begin our own ministry again. Come on in, the water is fine.

LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ Almighty and Divine Creator, in the Beginning, from the waters of the formless void and darkness, You brought forth light and life. From the waters of Birth and Baptism, Christ came forth as our new Beginning, bringing new life and new light to the darkness in our souls. Let this be a new First Day as we come forth to receive our Baptism in the Spirit and to serve Christ in others and ourselves.

Spirit of the Living God
RESPONSE:  Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

~ Almighty and Divine Creator, strengthen us to carry Your voice over the troubled waters of political oppression, injustice, and greed. Let us be heard in the halls of government, through the channels of diplomacy, and in the spheres of corporate influence as we demand peace for all of Your people everywhere. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

~ Almighty and Divine Creator, calm the hearts and minds of those unsettled by illness, physical challenge, or despair. Bring rest to them and to those who provide for their needs. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

~ Almighty and Divine Creator, help those immersed in grief find solace knowing those who have gone ahead are now risen in the splendor of Your eternal life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

~ Almighty and Divine Creator, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

~ Almighty and Divine Creator, ascribe Your special blessings to those who lead us to wade with them in the waters of faith and hope, as we discover together Your holy will for us. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us as we strive to please You well in every day

The Celebrant adds: Holy LORD of Power and Glory, free us from the turbulence of doubt and inaction, and guide us to quench our spiritual thirst in the living waters of Christ’s Baptism. We ask this through Jesus, Your Beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit, our Fount of Wisdom, who together with You are One God, now and for ever.   Amen.


Alvin Ailey - Wading in the Water
                                  If the video does not display, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H49lzTf6-mE


Requests for prayers or meditations for this space or private use may be sent to Leeosophy@gmail.com. All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way.