Thursday, May 29, 2014

Care of Creation

"God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day."

Recently, a group of us have come together to recommend wording changes to our Baptismal covenant.  These changes would emphasize care for God's Creation.  This is to begin what is usually a very long process leading to experimental use and eventually Prayer Book wording change.  I am on board with the process, but I wonder about the effectiveness of a simple wording change at the time of Baptism.  We still baptize infants so the covenant is agreed to by God Parents ( who often loose touch with their God Children over the years.)  Also a simple promise made in the context of a service I believe to be a rather weak method of making a change.

As I write this there are people in California who are suffering from some of the worst fires in recorded history for the area.  California, additionally is suffering under extreme drought conditions.  This is affecting farmers and agricultural workers and probably has untold affect on all kinda of people.  This isn't the California I knew as I was growing up, full of fields of produce, orchards and vineyards.

Right next to California is Arizona, where my son and his family (with my only granddaughter) live.  They have been experiencing some of the hottest weather ever.  I cannot imagine daytime temperatures of 113 degrees!  When I visit them I cannot drink the tap water.  It is OK for showering and other things, but not so good for drinking.

I read that the polar ice is melting rapidly and may cause the rise of oceans.  I hear news accounts of islands of garbage floating in the Pacific and other places.  I also read and hear that many of our legislators are playing ostrich (putting their head in a hole and waiting for reality to pass them by.)

Somehow, I do not believe that a statement made in a Baptism is going to make a great change.  I do think that the Baptism covenant discussion can be a beginning of our awareness.  This awareness can lead to change.  In Genesis it says that God looked at Creation and thought it was good, so good we were entrusted with it's care.  So far we haven't been good stewards!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bring Back our Girls!

It has been very disturbing to me that about a month ago 276 School Girls from Nigeria were kidnapped and taken violently from their school.  It has taken about three weeks for most of the world to become aware of this sad event.  The Militant group that kidnapped the girls is threatening to sell the girls as brides for $12!  The basic reason for the kidnappings is that the girls were being educated.
The Nigerian Government has been slow to act and the safety of the girls and their future is in doubt.

I am asking each of you to include the following prayer in your daily prayers:

O God, we cry out to you
for the lives and the freedom
of the 276 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
In their time of danger and fear,
pour out your strong Spirit for them. 
Make a way home for them in safety.
Make a way back for them
to the education that will lift them up.
Hold them in the knowledge
that they are not captive slaves,
they are not purchased brides,
but they are your beloved daughters,
and precious in your sight. 
Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers
and of all who choose violence against women and girls.
Cast down the mighty from their seat,
and lift up the humble and meek,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

this prayer has been written by Elizabeth Smith, Diocese of Perth, Australia

some links to news articles:


Presiding Bishop calls for prayers for South Sudan

The Presiding Bishop has called the Episcopal Church to prayer and action for South Sudan in response to the continuing crisis there. South Sudan became a nation in July 2011 following almost half a century of civil war. Fighting continues in parts of South Sudan and the humanitarian crisis is vast. The conflict has left thousands dead and more than 1.2 million people have fled their homes.

Since May 16 marks the commemoration of the Martyrs of the Sudan in the Episcopal Church, Sunday, May 18 has been chosen as a specific Day of Prayer for South Sudan and Sudan. All are invited to join in prayer for our brothers and sisters in South Sudan. 
Here is the collect for that day:
O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by your providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plentiful harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.