Here is the world

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For the last two weeks this country’s news and news from all over the world has drawn our attention to tragic stories of people’s lives being changed forever through senseless, selfish, angry and disturbing acts of violence. Violence that has caused death and life-changing injury.

Wait… did I not write about this three weeks ago, last month and the month before that?

No need to be flippant. Everyone is aware of the tragic state of affairs in this country and the dangerous anger rampant in our world. We may not all agree on what to do but many of us are certain that something needs to be done.

We are in the season of Advent. On this second Sunday, the prophets call out for preparation and repentance. May we look upon our world for all its beauty and its danger moving forward with fearless compassion. May this movement be as prayer. Called to repent, instructed to prepare – may we seek to find the points of light streaming through the dark clouds before us. Light that brightens a path to peace and safety.

Oh Tender Mercy,

Dawn upon us this morning,
Break into the shadows of death
that seem to be overwhelming
the many worlds in which we live, and those in which we don’t that surround us.
Oh Tender Mercy,
We pray for those
who are in mourning,
who grieve,
who are suffering in the desolation of loss,
who are drowning in the pain of the senselessness of violence.
Bring forth the light of hope to hold them as they sit in the shadows.
In silence and word, we offer prayers for those we know who are struggling: (silence)
O Tender Mercy,
Break upon us with your dawning,
Guide our feet with the strength of our prayers,
to walk in the ways of peace with action,
to do what we can do as your people
to pave ways of peace wherever we go.
O Tender Mercy,
Your dawn is new every morning,
and we are grateful the points of light in our lives, in the midst of the shadows around us. Your love prevails.
O Tender Mercy,
Break forth among and within us.
Amen.

(Sunday Prayer Advent 2c RCL from RevGalBlogs  )

Listening in silence…

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The message behind the words is the voice of the heart. Rumi

It seems that I have had much to say recently on the topic of actions and intentions. At the moment it appears, we have plenty of examples in our world that warrants this type of reflection. As I read articles in other venues, I am aware that these topics are on the minds and hearts of many people.

Words are very powerful tools. They can build up or tear down. They can bind us together in security or sprinkle dust of anxiety. We find ourselves at a point in history when many public words are thrown around to create confusion and instill fear. And this is their intention…

Actions leave large impressions on those who witness them. They can encourage people to share goodness by example or carry anger and fear to their extreme. We find ourselves at a point in history when actions are rising in danger, giving permission for the spread of hostility and fear.

These words and actions appear larger than life attempting to destroy trust and community. It is the result of power and greed. We experience those with great power (a power we have bestowed) to tower over those who have little power (a position that has been forced). It is a situation that continues to grow as our culture is overwhelmed with the noisy distraction of talk.

So I ask – Where are the quiet places? The places that allow words to be used only when necessary and the heart’s intention is understood. The places where we begin with trust and build communities designed to care for one another because we believe it is the good and faithful thing to do. Where are these places?

Maybe this is the most important question now. If these quiet places are not found in obvious and welcoming forms then the noise that is dismantling our communities will continue to be successful toward its goal. Are we able to create environments where people can come to find rest from the noise and re-member the importance of trust and compassion? Can we help the great and the small not only talk with one another but work together to show another way of living and serving in this world? I am convinced it can be done and even more certain that people are longing for the invitation to act on the ‘voice of the heart’.

What do you think?! Have you found examples of this happening? Share what you think, what you know and where we can go to see these quiet places in action.