Sept. 16, 2020
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam,
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The LORD of Hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Psalm 46:1-4, BCP, p. 649
Yesterday a parishioner wrote to ask if the Episcopal Church has a relief agency responding to the wildfires along the west coast of the United States. Indeed, we do! Episcopal Relief & Development is responding not only to the wildfires in the west, and Sally and Laura and Isaias and other windstorms, but also the explosion in Beirut, and is engaged in on-going development programs with a special focus on improving the lives of women, children and those affected by climate change. In its own words:
For over 75 years, Episcopal Relief & Development has been working together with supporters and partners for lasting change around the world. Each year the organization facilitates healthier, more fulfilling lives for more than 3 million people struggling with hunger, poverty, disaster and disease. Inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, Episcopal Relief & Development leverages the expertise and resources of Anglican and other partners to deliver measurable and sustainable change in three signature program areas: Women, Children and Climate.
If, like the parishioner who asked the question, you feel moved to participating in disaster assistance through Episcopal Relief & Development, please click here.
Our prayers are also asked for ----
All who are ill including,
Claire, Kate, Frank, Jack, Margaret S, Phillip
for Dale and all others contending
with Covid-19 disease, and for all facing financial hardship because of the paIndemic.
May they all know the healing power of
Christ's presence and love.
For the repose of the over 196,000 of our fellow citizens,
who have died of the coronavirus.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord, and
may light perpetual shine upon them.
Let us offer prayers of thanksgiving for the birthday of
Katherine Frydenborg, and Gabrielle Johnson.
bless these your servants, as they begin another year,
may they continue to grow in wisdom and grace.
Let us join Kathleen & David Jones
in celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Continue to bless them, that their home may continue
to be a haven of blessing and peace.
Please continue to hold in prayer:
Judy & Ed S, Frank, Michael M, Richard D, Dave K, Brian A, Jim & Annie, John, Joan G., Lois C., Winnie Z, Bernie and family, Susie & Paul, Pam McG, Julie H, Murray E., Brooke & family, Kate S., Tracy M., Carl, Michael S, Joanne N-R, Madeline H, and Kelly G,
Also: Paul D, Susan S, Linda B, June C, Charlie K, Anne C, Mark S, Angela G, Maria, Bob, Olivia, Lois T, and Jo B.
Please also remember: St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel (Haiti).
To add names and concerns for Wednesday's and Sunday's intercessions, and this "Let Us Pray" letter, please send them to YFNR at firstname.lastname@example.org with any details you care to share. Names will then move to the "continuing" list for 30 days, and the longer term list upon request.
Sunday School Families Be on the lookout for the invitation to a Sunday School lesson and picnic Sunday evening September 20, 5:30-7p.m.
Wednesday Evening Prayers will resume today, Wednesday, September 16 at 7p.m. You can join the livestream via www.facebook.com/cecguilford
Thursday Bible Study will resume our conversations with, and about, the saga of Jacob and Joseph tomorrow, Thursday, September 17, at 9:30a.m. We'll pick up where we left off with Genesis chapter 32 (if memory serves!) Here's the Zoom link
And another thing ... or four about forgiveness.
1. On Tuesday the brief meditation from the Church of the Savior in Washington, DC included a -- new to me -- insight about forgiveness, that has been variously quoted by Lily Tomlin and Oprah Winfrey:
" forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past… It involves accepting that the past cannot be changed, while recognizing that it need not control our future."
2. On Monday, I read the Bishop of Washington (DC)'s, reflection on forgiveness. Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde and I had both re-read a sermon by the Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor -- though we quoted different portions of it. You can read Bishop Mariann's essay here.
3. In my Sunday sermon I also quoted a passage from a 2008 sermon by the late Rev. Ann Richards that is so personal that those of us who knew her can hear her preaching it. I'm grateful to Annie Rae for sharing the sermon with me, and I'd be happy to return the favor by passing a copy on to you. Just reply to this message.
4. Finally, the opening extended quotation in my sermon was from the Rev. Barbara Crafton. I was asked to include it here:
We think forgiveness is something it's not, and we balk at them. For instance:
1. Forgive and forget. Nonsense. History has happened and forgiveness doesn't wipe it out.
2. If I forgive, it'll mean what was done was okay. Also nonsense. You don't have to forgive things that are okay -- they're already okay, right?
3. It will mean the wrongdoer gets away with it. Nope. Actions have consequences and the one who sins against you will have to pay for their actions. We all must.
4. It will mean the wrongdoing didn't really hurt me. No, it won't. Forgiveness is not acquittal See #2.
5. I can't forgive the wrongdoer; they're not even sorry. Your forgiveness isn't really about them, although they occasioned the need for it. Forgiveness is about you: Your freedom. Your future. Getting your life back.
6. I can't. It's been too long. Maybe it happened long ago. but if you're carrying it around now, it's a current reality.
7. I can't. The one I'm furious at is me. That's the one person most people can't forgive, most often. More than anyone else. Ask yourself if you could hold out on anyone else as long as you are holding out on yourself. Make use of the Church's assurance of God's forgiveness in a sacramental confession, and then ask yourself if you are above God (Hint: the answer is, No!)
In the faith, hope and love of Christ,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Rector
p.s. Thanks for all the kind inquiries about my family's well-being in Oregon. So far as I know everyone who evacuated is back in their homes including my brother, sister-in-law and nephew. Kevin reports that the smoke is still thick, but "not horrible." Their animals are still boarded elsewhere. The airstrip adjacent to their home is being used as a staging area for firefighting, including sending out drones because the smoke and fog are too thick to send out planes.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!