Friday, January 28, 2011

Scripture Speaking to our Need

Friday, January 28, 2011 -- Week of 3 Epiphany, Year One
Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Theologian, 1274
To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:
http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/category/holy-women-holy-men/

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 944)
Psalms 40, 54 (morning)       51 (evening)
Isaiah 50:1-11
Galatians 3:15-22
Mark 6:47-56

So often when I am thinking about something or worried about a particular person or thing, the readings of the Daily Office seem to speak with some particularity. 

Last Friday I wrote about a young man Jonathan Chavez.  Jonathan sang in our choir briefly, and he was a voice student of one of our parishioners.  An incredible talent.  When he was 14 he was brought here from Peru by his parents.  He graduated from Rogers High with a 4.0 and now is two semesters from graduating from the University of Arkansas, carrying a 3.8 in the Honors College.  Because of some bad legal advice, his parents did not apply for his legal residency until recently.  The backlog for processing such applications is years behind.  I understand the immigration service is just now working on applications filed in 2003.

So when Jonathan reached his 18th birthday without his residency application accepted, he became incredibly vulnerable as an illegal alien.  This Christmas break he was picked up when he rode the bus to see his mother in Florida.  INS/ICE demanded identification papers from everyone getting off the bus.  He's been incarcerated ever since.  At a hearing yesterday a judge took into consideration the testimonial letters from so many friends who know him, especially know of his commitment to Christ and his Christian leadership.  He is the president of the International Student Christian Association at the U. of A.  He's known for his ability to memorize and recite passages of scripture from heart, with passion.  Behind bars he is witnessing to drug dealers and leading Bible studies.  He says he reads his Bible from 5:00 a.m. til dark while in the detention facility.  On this side of the bars, his friends are praying.  They've set up a Facebook page, "Praying for Jonathan Chavez."

For me, today's psalms seem to speak hope to his situation.

Ps. 40 -- "I waited patiently for you, O God; you stooped to me and heard my cry.  You lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; you set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.  You put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust in you. ...In the roll of the book it is written concerning me, 'I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart.'  I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips, and that, O God, you know.  Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance; I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.  ...Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O God, make haste to help me.  ...Though I am poor and afflicted, you will have regard for me.  You are my helper and my deliverer; do not tarry, O my God."

Isaiah 50 -- "The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.  Morning by morning he wakens -- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.  The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.  ...The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.  Who will contend with me?  Let us stand up together.  Who are my adversaries?  Let them confront me.  It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?"

Jonathan's next hearing is scheduled for February 17.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Lowell

__________________

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
--
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


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