April 28, 2013

The Story of God's Work

Easter 5, Year C, RCL
Acts 11:1-18
April 28, 2013

When he was confronted by his fellow Israelites in the 11th chapter of Acts, the Apostle Peter faced a real choice: He could have cowered and said, "You're right! These Gentiles are less worthy of the message of Jesus than we are." He also could have gone the opposite direction, too. He could have said, "Um, I hear what you're saying, but y'all need to remember that Jesus gave me the Keys to the Kingdom. He said I am the Rock on which the Church is going to be built.
If he had come at them with theological doctrine or an array of Scripture passages, he probably would not have won many friends, and even fewer hearts and minds.

Instead, he chose a better way...
Click here for the audio.

Peter before his detractors

Me, Ollie, my dad, my grandfather.
August 2009

April 16, 2013

It's not the encounter; it's what you do with it.

Easter 3, Year C, 2013

This is not a story about having a "Damascus Road" experience. This is a story about God transforming people and doing it with the spectacular and the subtle.

Click here for the audio.

A Litany for Those Who Stand in Harms' Way

I put this together a while back, but it seems appropriate for today.

A Litany for Those Who Stand in Harm’s Way

Psalm 91 Qui habitat (Said by all)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,* abides under the shadow of the Almighty. 
He shall say to the LORD, "You are my refuge and my stronghold, * my God in whom I put my trust."
He shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter* and from the deadly pestilence.
He shall cover you with his pinions, and you shall find refuge under his wings;* his faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,* nor of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the plague that stalks in the darkness,* nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand,* but it shall not come near you.
Your eyes have only to behold* to see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the LORD your refuge,* and the Most High your habitation,
There shall no evil happen to you,* neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over you,* to keep you in all your ways.
They shall bear you in their hands,* lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the adder;* you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him;* I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him;* I am with him in trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
With long life will I satisfy him,* and show him my salvation.

A Prayer for Military Veterans[1]
Lord our God, look favorably on those who have served this nation in our armed forces. We thank you for your presence with them in their service. Help them and us to remember their fallen comrades, that the sacrifices we honor may never be forgotten. Let the light of liberty and the love of justice and mercy burn brightly in the heart of this nation, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

A Prayer for Active Military[2]
Eternal God, the only source of peace, we pray for all who serve in the defense of this land. Give them courage and comfort in danger, patience in waiting, and discipline in the just use of force. Help us to seek for all people the freedom to serve you and each other in compassion and peace. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer of Blessing for Firefighters, Police Officers, Medical Workers, and All Who Serve Us in Times of Crisis[3]
Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on your servants, especially firefighters, police officers and other emergency workers, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Victims of Violence[4]
Loving God, Jesus gathered your little ones in his arms and blessed them. Have pity on those who mourn for (_________ and) all those killed by the violence of our fallen world. Be with us as we struggle with the mysteries of life and death; in our pain, bring your comfort, and in our sorry, bring your hope and your promise of new life, in the name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.

A Prayer for Our Enemies[5]
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Peace[6]
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer (Said by all)
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Dismissal: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.    Thanks be to God.

[1] Changes: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage, 2007, p. 68
[2] A Prayer Book for Australia, 1995, p. 204
[3] Adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal
[4] Changes: Prayers and Services Honoring Rites of Passage, 2007, p. 68
[5] Book of Common Prayer, 1979, p. 816
[6] Book of Common Prayer, 1979, p. 815