An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry
As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted on Mondays through May.
Habits of Grace:
An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry
April 20, 2020: God Hears Our Prayers
April 20, 2020 Click here to watch and listen to the video..
The late professor Walter Wink, in one of his books, says that "History belongs to the intercessors who believe and pray a new future into being." None of us know the mystery of prayer and how it works. I don't know the intricacies of prayer's mysteries. What I do know and believe, is that prayer makes a difference. It's not a magic foot. It's not a way to... It's not a form of wish fulfillment, but it is a way of bringing our deepest needs and concerns and our very life into our consciousness and into the very presence of God.There's an interesting story in the eighth chapter of the Book of Revelation, just a few of the verses, where you have this swirling of events happening in history and a world in chaos and the text says, "There was silence in heaven for half an hour." Walter Wink and others looking at that say that in its highly symbolic language, the Book of Revelation may be trying to tell us that even in the midst of all the chaos of the world, the prayers of God's people actually make a difference. Because if you look at that small section of the first few chapters of chapter eight in Revelation, during that silence of heaven, it says that the prayers of the saints are mingled with the incense before the throne of God and that those prayers are taken right to God. God hears our prayers. God responds in God's way and we respond.
Prayer matters. It's not magic, but it makes a difference. There's a prayer in the prayer book that I thought you might like. It's a prayer for in times of sickness, for use by the sick person, but maybe it's a prayer that can apply to us all.
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever shall be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. If I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words and give me the spirit of Jesus.
What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer. God love you. God bless you and may God hold you and this whole world, the entire human family and the whole of creation in those almighty hands of love.
April 13, 2020 Click here to watch and listen to the video..
It looks like the storm has passed over and the sun has come out, at least for a little bit. It is the day after, if you will. Monday in Easter week, Jesus has been raised from the dead. The miracle has happened. Hallelujah, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. When I served as a priest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina back in the 1970s, I learned about a custom that was old and venerable, that was part of the tradition of the Moravian community, of which there was a large settlement there in Winston-Salem. In old Salem, near the Salem church, near God's Acre, the Moravian cemetery there, early on the morning, before the sun rises, the Moravian community and other friends and well-wishers gather on Easter Sunday morning before the sun comes up. And there is the Easter sunrise service. It begins with these words, “The Lord is risen. All hail, all hail, victorious Lord and Savior, thou hast burst the bonds of death,” and the music begins and the congregation processes from the church to the cemetery, to God's Acre. And when you see the Moravian cemetery, there are no mausoleums. There's no differentiation. They're dignified headstones, like in a military cemetery. Everyone has the same headstone with their name and information on it, but there is no differentiation, for the cemetery itself is a reminder of our equality before all mighty God who created us all. Not many hours before Jesus sacrificed his life, and just a few days before he was raised from the dead, he said this to his gathered disciples, "Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be driven out, and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself". God came among us in the person of Jesus to reconcile us with God and to reconcile us with each other. To help us and to show us the way to become the human family of God and to show us that, that is God's mission. That is God's dream and that is God's intention, and Easter is a reminder that together with our help and support, God's will, will be done. Archbishop Desmond Tutu some years ago said this about that quote:
"God sent us here to help God realize God's dream of a new world and society, gentle, caring, compassionate, sharing.” ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself’, God says. “Please help me to draw all.” For there are no outsiders or aliens. All are insiders, all belong, black and white. Rich and poor. Young and old, male and female, educated, uneducated, gay, lesbian, straight, all belong in this family of God. This human family, the rainbow people of God, and God has no-one but you, and you, and you and me to help God realize God's dream.”* Hallelujah. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Amen.
There is a prayer that begin the Good Friday liturgy may be perfect for this time. "Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this, your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and given into the hands of sinners and to suffer death upon the cross. Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen: