Treasuring Safety

“If you knew all that I knew,
my poor Jerusalem,
you’d see the truth,
but you close your eyes,
but you close your eyes.

That’s from Jesus Christ Superstar. I listened to it so often as a teenager and young adult that I think I can sing it from start to finish! Those words have been ringing in my ears and heart all week. Before the mass shooting at not one, but two mosques in New Zealand. One of the first things I did when I heard about the massacres in Christchurch was to text Sheik Abdullah Hussein from the mosque in Halifax, he was one of the people that came out the night we held the community vigil. I simply offered our prayers for him and his community. His response simply said, “Thank you so much for reaching out, I really appreciate that.”

And while I was going in a very different direction with my reflection for this morning, the title still holds. But we are going to do some things a bit different this morning. Because I don’t have many words to offer. I have other people’s words, and they are far more eloquent than mine. The first is a video from broadcaster Alweed Aly. You can view it here. 

This from the Bishop of Wellington in New Zealand:

Firstly, we want to encourage all of you to be active in friendships and partnerships on the ground in your communities. In particular, where you have grass-roots connections with our Muslim brothers and sisters and our refugee communities, please extend the hand of friendship.

Secondly, these are days when people need tangible expressions of peace, hope and love. Get together in your communities, host meals for neighbours, be organised in our non-violent revolution of love, embark on co-ordinated random acts of kindness.
In both of these things, never underestimate the testimony of such humble action of friendship and love.

Thirdly, and above all, as a people of prayer, in solidarity with people who died whilst at prayer, we call you to pray. Our determination to pray is our defiance against the un-Godly hatred and violence witnessed in this land. Pray to roll back the powers of darkness. Pray with faith. Pray with hope, Pray with love. Pray publicly. Pray consistently. Pray in solitude. Pray in solidarity with all of humanity who humble themselves in acts of prayer.
http://movementonline.org.nz/11614/bishops-pastoral-letter-following-the-terrorist-attacks-in-christchurch/?fbclid=IwAR1YXaaJDnI6NMj_AcynpuyrQMUItzuvqWm0S32Vvm48uLBNErZU9g0ERUY

So, we are going to pray… we are going to pray using an ancient practice called lectio divina.

Lectio divina means praying with scripture… and at times when it seems as if hatred will prevail, sometimes all we can do is lament and pray.

So can pray. And in our prayer, be strengthened and inspired to create a world that is more loving.

First Movement – Lectio: Settling & Shimmering

Begin by finding a comfortable position where you can remain alert and yet also relax your body. Bring your attention to your breath and allow a few moments to become centered. If you find yourself distracted at any time, gently return to the rhythm of your breath as an anchor for your awareness. Allow yourself to settle into this moment and become fully present. Listen for a word or phrase that feels significant right now, is capturing your attention even if you don’t know why.

I will strike the singing bowl to start the silence and to end it.

Luke 13:31-35

13:31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 13:32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 13:33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 13:34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 13:35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Second Movement – Meditatio: Savoring & Stirring

Allow the word or phrase which caught your attention earlier to spark your imagination. Savor the word or phrase with all of your senses, notice what smells, sounds, tastes, sights, and feelings are evoked. Then listen for what images, feelings, and memories are stirring, welcoming them in, and then savoring and resting into this experience.

Luke 13:31-35

13:31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 13:32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 13:33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 13:34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 13:35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Third Movement – Oratio: Summoning & Serving

Listen for an invitation rising up from your experience of prayer so far. Considering the word or phrase and what it has evoked for you in memory, image, or feeling, what is the invitation? This invitation may be a summons toward a new awareness or action. © Christine Valters Paintner – excerpted from Lectio Divina—The Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer (SkyLight Paths Publishing) 

Luke 13:31-35

13:31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 13:32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 13:33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 13:34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 13:35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Does anyone have anything they want to share from that experience?

We feel so helpless don’t we? Or at least I often do… What can we do as individuals and as communities of faith to combat hatred?

• Stop sharing memes such as the one that says Canada spends more money on refugees than it does on pensioners. https://ccrweb.ca/en/pensioners-myth

• Gently express disappointment when racist/misogynist/homophobic comments are made in your hearing. Don’t dismiss them as “oh, that’s just so and so, he’s always like that.”

• Educate ourselves. Listen, read and watch the news with a critical eye.

• Build relationships with people who are not like you.

Moderator Richard Bott writes, “Prayer is a conversation with the Divine – a time to speak the words of our hearts, and to listen, with all of our senses, for what God may saying to us. I believe that God is deeply entwined with every part of the universe, all times and all places. The intimacy of that togetherness is so deep, that when God moves, Creation does, too. When Creation moves, God is right there in the dance.
In that way, prayer is important, in and of itself.

But prayer is also an act of reflection, of challenge, and of call to action. Prayer is a starting point, in which we speak our deepest words not only to God, but to ourselves.
Our prayer should always change *us*, calling us to be the action that is God’s response to the prayer.

St. Theresa of Avila, one of Christianity’s great mystics, wrote, ““Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.”
Speak the words. Share the prayer. Be the response that lives God’s love in the world.
Richard Bott

Amen.

Luke 13: 31-35
March 17, 2019
ECM

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