Monday, October 27, 2014

Making the path easier

In the Gospel reading for today [Matthew 23:], Jesus had seen that by their actions, those who were supposed to be leading the people were in fact restricting them, imprisoning them in unfair laws, limiting their movement by laying heavy burdens of unnecessary requirements on them. The Church has placed burdens on people in the way it has interpreted and taught the Bible and rules it has made.
For some years some in the church have been shedding some of the burdens placed on them by past expectations and understandings of Scripture. Many old perceptions have died or have been left behind as people have been freed to understand things in new ways or have come to know the historical Jesus better. At the same time there has been much wandering in the wilderness. We have been burdened with the upkeep of grand buildings sometimes built as a display of wealth and skills rather than to the praise of God.
Many laments for congregations that have been lost.
There is debate about whether sudden death is less painful than anticipated death. Is it better for death to come suddenly or for it to take months or years. I do not know. I think it is good to have time for good-byes.
Paul worked hard to avoid being a burden to the people he cared about. We can put burdens on people who are grieving by telling them they should be behaving in a certain way, according to a certain pattern. We can burden them with guilt by asking if they had done something differently might their loved one still be alive. We can burden them by putting our understandings of God, Christ and the Bible on them by saying things like, “God took him,” or “His work on earth was finished.” These kind of things aren’t always the comfort that is intended.

Can we make the path easier for others by acting with compassion and love, n helping to rid them of burdens.
Rev Julianne Parker
see sermons page for full sermon

Burdens great to bear

I worry and I fear,
I need and I want.
I am anxious;
I could lose everything.

I am free;
I am burdened.

Some burdens are my own creation;
I tell myself that I am dealing with them.
Others I have received,
unwelcome gifts weighing heavily
upon shrinking shoulders,
from Scribes and from Pharisees,
who, in every age,
know with certainty what is best for me

I am burdened;
I am free.

To feel, decide
to do, to don’t.
To open wide;
to will, to won’t
To bleed, to weep;
to give, to keep.
To rage, to rail;
to struggle, fail.

Listening to the silence
with eyes half-opened,
mind half-closed.
Seeing the ugly,
reaching after beauty,
coveting truth,

I am free,
I am burdened.

Holding on to freedom,
letting go the burdens.
Holding on to burdens,
letting go the freedom.

© Ken Rookes 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The feast of all-saints

A litany of all the Saints

A Litany of All the Saints
Holy ones present at our beginnings:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachel and Leah,
makers of the covenant, forebears of our race:
Stand Here Beside Us!
John and Charles Wesley, preachers in the streets;

all whose power of speaking gave life to the written word:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Louis, king of France; Margaret, queen of Scotland;
Gandhi the mahatma, reproach to the churches;
Dag Hammarskjold the bureaucrat;
all who made governance an act of faith:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary Magdalen, anointer of the Lord's feet; Luke the physician;
Francis who kissed the leper; Florence Nightingale;
Albert Schweitzer; all who brought to the sick and suffering the hands of healing:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones who made the proclaiming of God's love a work of art:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Johann Sebastian Bach; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart;
all who sang the Creator's praises in the language of the soul:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones haunted by the justice and mercy of God:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Joachim of Fiora, prophet of the new age;
Johnny Appleseed, mad planter of Eden;
Sojourner Truth, pilgrim of justice;
all whose love for God was beyond containment:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Martin Luther King, shot in Memphis:Oscar,  Romero, shot in San Salvador: Janani Luwum, shot in Kampala:
Holy ones of every time and place:
Stand Here Beside Us!
From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Jesus our liberator, creator of all:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Jesus our liberator, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end: wisdom, for creativity, for energy and for liberation to new life.
(Prayers are shared or prayed silently)
for all this and for ourselves,
We pray in faith, O God. AMEN

(Source unknown)

A vision of wholeness for the saints

And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another's will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give away to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth's abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will cherish life's creatures
And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.

The peace of the Lord to all of you. 

 Judy Chicago (The Dinner Party)

All Saints day

Saints are different from people in the world, not because they
do more, but because of whose they are, who they love, and what
it is they strive to do .
Anthony De Mello, the author of several books of meditations - 
tells the story of a family of five that was enjoying a day at
the beach.  The children were swimming and making castles in the
sand when in the distance a little old lady appeared.
     Her grey hair was blowing in the wind and her clothes
     were dirty and ragged.  She was muttering something to
     herself as she picked up things from the beach and put
     them into a bag.
     The parents called the children to their side and told
     them to stay away from the strange looking old lady. 
     As she passed by were they were sitting, bending down
     every now and then and picking up things, she smiled at
     the family.  Her greeting was not returned.
     Some weeks later, while complaining about the weirdos
     to be found on the beaches, the father family learned
     that the little old lady had made it her lifelong
     crusade to pick up bits of glass from the beach so
     children wouldn't cut their feet.
What makes a saint different?
Well saints pick up the glass that others toss down,
they believe in people no one else believes in,
they help others that no one else cares for,
And that, finally, my friends, is what this Sunday is about -
     it is about the one who called to the poor and the hungry,
          to those who wept and mourned,
               to those who were rejected and cursed,
                    and gave to them God's blessing,
the blessing of food, of comfort, laughter, and finally the
blessing of an eternal home with the Father - in that place where
there is no more tears  or sorrow or pain or death anymore.
(source unknown)