Holy Week is filled with stories. How easy it can be to think these are stories from long ago.
The olive tree, the olive branch… symbols of peace – then and now.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for the peace of Syria… pray for peace.
Door of the day… (Old City, Jerusalem Olive Tree, Pinterest)
“It was a year ago today…” the reporter began this morning on NPR as she reflected on the story of this young of refugee, would – be – immigrant, washing up on shore.
A year ago today this image was shared all over the world. An image that spanned race, creed and origin to touch the hearts of our common humanity with sadness and a cry for compassion. He was just a child. Not a thief nor a murderer but just a child following his parents to a place of safety and hope. As I settle in for bed tonight his image is before me.
May our hearts be softened as we face the pain and suffering of our world. May we learn to listen and respond with support and compassion. May we pray for peace and make it so.
BY OMID SAFI (@OSTADJAAN), ONBEING COLUMNIST
It was the shoes
that broke your heart.
The sweet boy, chubby in the flesh
was laying down on the beach
Face in the waves
He almost looked like he was sleeping
Except that this sleep
Had no awakening.
It was the world’s conscience that seems to be asleep
with little sign of awakening.
You couldn’t see the boy’s face.
Aylan is his name.
Aylan was his name.
Aylan was the name his momma called him.
You couldn’t see Aylan’s face,
But you saw the shoes that a parent,
Had lovingly put on him earlier that day.
Wherever there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure. RUMI
My heart breaks as I watch whole countries crumble in the wake of hatred, unimaginable violence and destruction. I do not understand and feel small as I try to think about solutions.
Cradling loaves of bread, this man weeps. Tears that could be for all that has been lost or tears that could be gratitude for the bread that he holds. Bread he may be unable to provide as before – before his world became the battleground of dangerous egos and heartless acts. In this picture we can only see a small bit of what his loss may include. A bombed out building – was it home, his children’s school, the hospital which had been caring for his loved ones? Whatever this building had been, its shelter is only a memory now.
And so we meet a balance of opposites – ruins and treasure. Unable to hold back the grief rising from his heart, this man walks ahead with food for the journey. He carries a treasure – simple yet basic. The ruins surrounding him are overwhelming. Captured in this picture is the image of what was and movement toward what will be.
I have always believed that phoenixes rise from ashes, whatever those ashes may be. Believing this requires that I, too, must hold a balance of opposites. It is impossible to reach out to thousands of people displaced and homeless. When a scene such as this refugee camp is presented in the news, I am reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Today I toss my first stone across the waters through prayer. With this man’s picture before me, I offer prayers for all people displaced by war as they search for peace, safety and a place to call home .
A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian Conflict
We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus
To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus
To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection Lord Jesus
To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection Lord Jesus.
For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
In the hope of Christ we pray. Amen.
There are scary things happening in this world. Where fear is not real, it appears people are trying to create it. May we walk through these days assuring ourselves and those we meet ‘all will be well’, living in faith not fear.
Be not afraid Angel words to humans Fear not Easier said than done Let not your hearts be troubled Divine words There is so much to make us afraid So many things that are just wrong and hard So many broken places, people and hearts – so many sobbing… My heart, your heart, Boston, Texas, Conn, Oklahoma, Ground Zero, the world, the world, the world… Your heart, my soul Your mind, my heart Be not afraid Fear not Let not your hearts be troubled… May God help us not to give into fear and or despair… Encourage a friend today… Encourage yourself Fear not…