Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 13

Saturday, June 13, 2020

In the Fog

Our Darkness

Christ’s Light

Zechariah 12:10

I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Words of Grace For Today

Compassion and supplication,

to look and mourn, to mourn as for an only child.

What profound grief … to mourn the loss of a loved one,

a child no less, and

an only child.

.

..

When we are caught in deep emotion, especially deep sadness, despair or grief, we do not function well.

And it is good to hear again and again that at these times

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be there with us, interceding for us, helping us to ask for what we really need.

Even the Holy Spirit is caught by our sadness, despair and grief. The Spirit sighs so deeply words cannot express the Spirit’s empathy for us.

No matter what, there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. When we do not remember this, the Holy Spirit carries us until we can remember.

Thanks be to God, for into the darkest days of our lives the Light of Christ shines.

Prayer: For Trinity Sunday & Everyday

Our Breastplate Prayer for Today

tip of the hat to St. Patrick and his Breastplate Prayer (see below)

Mist and Mysteries

Caught in the Mists

of Mystery, Doubt, and Threats,

We Invoke

The Trinity, 3in1

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

As the saints before me faced these same battles, help me persevere giving God the Glory, even under threat of death.

Help me remember all that God has given us:
the Goodness of Creation, the Law, the Prophets,
the Psalms, the Gospels, the Epistles, and more
to revive my weary spirit and sagging strength.

Jesus came to tell God’s story most plainly: God is always for us, claiming us, forgiving us at great cost, sending us out to share the story of Jesus’ Grace, God’s Love and the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing together people of all kinds.

Seeing the wonders of creation that the last centuries of progress have laid to waste, I still affirm: God wants this all to be GOOD again, including all that I do.

Yet, the Devil would have me filled with fear.

Name the fears of this day:

Fear of a virus called Covid 19.

Fear of being alone and forgotten.

Fear of deadly and destructive riots hijacked from peaceful protests against police abuses (as if God does not treasure young black and young First Nations’ men as much as us!)

Fear of police power and martial law abused.

Doch!

God, you have promised again and again I do not need to be afraid!

Christ sent the Holy Spirit, the mysterious, powerful fire of God, to envelop, motivate, and protect me:

up, down,

to the left, to the right,

in front of me, and behind me

(making sure I am not lazy in the calling Christ sends me to!)

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

Now as I raise my hands from the bed, make them work for Christ.

As I put my feet to the floor, make them move for Christ.

As I warm up my voice to speak, use my voice to proclaim the power of the Trinity: Creator, Redeemer, Holy Maker and Guide.

Amen

..

.

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer Information

These words came to us as part of a collection, published in 1903, of hymns found in two old manuscripts. With this hymn/prayer were these words: Saint Patrick sang this when an ambush was laid against his coming by Loegaire, that he might not go to Tara to sow the faith. And then it appeared before those lying in ambush that [Saint Patrick and his monks] were wild deer with a fawn following them. [‘Wild deer’ can also mean they were hidden in a thick mist, something well-known in Ireland.] see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Breastplate

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.

Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism.

Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,

Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In hope of resurrection met with reward,

In prayers of patriarchs,

In predictions of prophets,

In preaching of apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of holy virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

.

Christ with me,

Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation.

Amen!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 11

Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dark. Just Dark? Hang on to the Word! Our Stories are not Finished!

Jeremiah 14:7

Although our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; our apostasies indeed are many, and we have sinned against you.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Words of Grace For Today

Of all the days of the year this Saturday following Good Friday has always been the day most filled with nothing, or rather void of everything. Jesus lays dead in the tomb. To repeat a buzz word repeated in history at many times: God is dead.

What can we do, except wait for God to prove by wondrous acts that God is not dead! And that God is and always has been, and always will be standing right beside us, no matter how blinding bright or deep dark our days are?

This day always is a day to remember our sins, from our blatant and intentional turnings from God, to the subtle ways we deny Christ’s work to free us as we try to play ‘god’ in our own lives and in others’ lives. When all is lost, this is the day to remember …

in anticipation that God is not done,

not with Jesus’ story! It does not end with Jesus decaying in the tomb of the dead.

We can remember with anticipation that God is not done,

not with our stories! Ours do not end in weeping, grieving, suffering, loss, or death.

God has much more in mind for us.

God is not done with us yet.

A Name for Ourselves: God’s Gift

Who are we? Do we need to make a name for ourselves? Will we ever be satisfied with God’s Word present among us?

Good Potential

God created the universe. On the seventh day God rested and declared it was all good. God created us with such potential: the potential to reach for the stars, the potential to love one another, ourselves and even our enemies. Our power of imagination to see what is not and strive to accomplish things new and wonderful carries us from one generation to the next. We can share the breath of beauty, the wind of hope, and the fire of the future with one another.

Evil Potential

God also gave us freedom, so that we have the potential to reject the gifts God gives us. The goodness of life is fragile. There are so many ways for life to go wrong. We can choose to dive into the depths of darkness, to hide our false pride and our self-centered arrogance, to wallow in the despair that consumes generation after generation. We can succumb to addictions and armed conflict, to abuse and terror that causes PTSD in its victims, to Gaslighting, bearing false witness, and even murder. We have the potential to destroy all of life on earth, but the real destruction are all the avenues we create for life to implode on itself.

Jane

Jane sat at the table in her favourite restaurant, enjoying the familiar smells that reminded her of the news she had received here. Years ago, on this very spot she’d opened her letter of acceptance into university, the first one in her family, ever. That shaped everything about her life, now a Doctor of History, a professor emeritus, a famous author. Later that same day years ago she’d received the other news that formed her life and was bringing it to an indecent early end. She had MS. She had lived with it for so long, many years in a wheelchair, but now her systems were slowly giving out. Her name given to her at her baptism is Jane.

The White Purity of Birch, The Bleach of Life is not so pleasant a white.

Babel Blessing

In the lesson from Genesis we read how the people came together to build a marvelous city and a tower that would reach the heavens, in order to make a name for themselves. They also distrusted God’s rainbow, and wanted security from any future flood. God comes to bless the people with confused speech, with different languages, so that their prideful project will halt. Divided the people disperse far and wide to inhabit the earth. Ever since, we create divisions and conflict more easily than we build healthy communities. We have built more than a tower of Babel as our fossil fuel consumption produces more pollution than the earth can tolerate, resulting in violent climate change. Our civilization is built on time bombs that destroy people.

George and Emily

George and Emily walked the beach, they’d grieved the addiction of their daughter for an eternity, grieving the birth of grandchildren, each lost to foster care. Now they’d received the phone call they’d feared. Jenny had overdosed on drugs yet again. This time she had not recovered. Their names are George and Emily and they gave Jenny her name at her baptism.

Languages A Gift

Today we recognize the power of languages. They keep us apart and distinct. Yet when we live in a second language, we experience not just different grammar and words. We experience more of the world that God created good. Different languages carry different pieces of the marvels of this creation which we can barely fathom in a full lifetime.

First Pentecost

That first Pentecost the disciples proclaimed in their own language the wonders of God’s work for everyone. God inspired the listeners to hear the disciples in each listener’s own language. As at Babel God confused the language of the people to save them from their pride, so at the first Pentecost God overcame the language barrier in order that people could hear and understand each other and the Good News of what God had done in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Language is powerful.

Greta

Greta was born in Jena, in East Germany. A Christian, at great cost she had dedicated her life to serving Christ. Working with youth she excelled, until jealous gossip was started about her. Under intense pressure and unearned shame Greta slowly lost her confidence, then her sense of self, and finally her sense of reality. She succumbed to a half living state of senseless babble that sometimes erupted into excruciatingly painful clarity about what had been done to her, and how helpless she was. Her name, given to her at her baptism, is Greta. She remained Greta even as she lost her mind to the horrendous cruelty of gossip that pretends to know reality beyond God’s goodness.

Clarity in Miracles

Like the disciples we always want God to be more clear. The words are plain enough. Yet God rarely leaves it to just the words. The signs, the miracles, that accompany the Good News are remarkable. We may not recognize what God is doing, but we always hope that in the end all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well, for God created the universe and said it was good.

That first Pentecost so that people could not miss the miracle of the Holy Spirit given to God’s children, God marked the disciples with tongues of fire.

Small Miracles, double sun, leaves growing.

Fire

One of the distinct gifts God gave humans is Fire. It is powerful, both for good and for evil. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, guided the people through the wilderness with a pillar of flame, and will cleanse us at our judgment with God’s purifying fire.

As we have breathed these past weeks, the result of climate change brings more wildfires, and more smoke that covers vast areas, inhibiting life in so many ways. Humans are not the only ones affected by wildfires. The smoke reduced the available solar power, a nuisance at least for those whose electricity is produced by solar power. The greater loss was to the plants whose basis of life depends on photosynthesis.

In the face of life so challenged, God finds ways to bless us, with hope.

Sam and Allicia

Sam and Allicia both lost their childhoods to wars of terror and genocide. In their teens they each survived the squalor and hunger of refugee camps, their families having all been killed. Sponsored as immigrants in their late teens by a Lutheran congregation in Edmonton, they met, shared the struggles of finding their way, fell in love, were married and are expecting their first child this summer. With different mother tongues they communicate in Canadian English. Their names given to them at their baptisms are Sam and Allicia. They have chosen names for their first child at its baptism, in memory of their families lost.

Our Name

Though we reach for the stars, to make a name for ourselves, to succeed at what we attempt, even to make life more than it is, there is no name that we can make for ourselves greater than what God has already given us. With tongues of fire God has marked us, anointed us, and called us.

Three Confirmed, we stand with them

As these three, Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah, were marked with the cross in their baptisms, and now they stand as young people, maturing, beginning to accept responsibility for their own being, so we each were marked. At the right time we also stood on our own to respond to the gifts that God gives us, promising to receive, abide in, act out of, and grow into the people God calls us to be. Today we still stand, not on our own as if our faith were merely personal or private. Rather we stand as one faith community united by the fire of the Holy Spirit. As we stand with one another in love, so we stand with these three young people. Their names, given to them in their baptisms, are Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah.

Our name: potential as love

Again today we share with them the name God has given us all. There is no greater name. It is not a name we could make for ourselves. It is the name that God gave us in our baptisms and shares with us each day. God names us God’s children.

The language of our name is not limited to one of the diverse languages that God gave us to propel us across the earth, to inhabit it and do well by it. The language of our name is love, in all its rainbow colours.

In our love for one another we best reflect the One who abides with and in us, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. It is in our love for our enemies that we dance with the miraculous power of life which the Spirit pours down on us in the form of flames of fire.

As we do what it takes to love one another, though the world roils with conflict, abuse, and destruction, we rest in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. We have no cause to be troubled. Nor do we suffer the greatest enemy: the denial of evil’s potential. Nor do we need to fear flood nor fire nor anything, for God is at work to keep evil in its place and God in God’s place … and to keep us on earth with and for each other.

Our name given to us in our baptisms is children of God. We are the inheritors of the miracle that brings life to be with a word, with a breath, with a breeze, with a fire.

Amen