Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anguish and Hope

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 -- Week of 6 Epiphany, Year One
Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898
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. 948)
Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19(20-30) (morning)       119:121-144 (evening)
Isaiah 63:15 - 64:9
1 Timothy 3:1-16
Mark 11:27 - 12:12

There is such anguish in the words from Isaiah today.  And there is such hostile futility in the words from Jesus today.  It makes me think of all the ways we are being foolish and unfaithful in our day.

Isaiah speaks of a catastrophic dual effect.  The nation's leaders' have failed to listen to God and to follow God's ways.  God has hardened their hearts and hidden from them.  The prophet looks at the wasteland around him and cries out to God, "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down so that the mountains would quake at your presence."  He remembers the ancient works of God and yearns for God to remake the creation.  "O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.  Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever."

In Mark's gospel, Jesus speaks to the leaders of their unfaithfulness in tending the vineyard God has given them.  He tells them that the owner of the vineyard "will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others."

I think of so many ways that our nation has failed to listen to God and to follow God's ways. 

We have failed to listen to the prophets and to reform our greedy destruction of the very earth we live on.  Although the scientists have warned us since at least the 1970's, we continue to raise the planet's carbon dioxide levels, and we pollute God's creation.  Instead of responding with creativity and hope when our nation was attacked, we reacted with mis-targeted vengeance, and initiated a decade of war that has wreaked grave suffering without increasing security.  Greedy financial giants have lent money irresponsibly and provoked a world wide economic crash.  Thirty years of economic policies that favor the powerful and rich have concentrated wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people.  Thirty years of deficit spending (except of course for the Clinton era) have left us with a massive national debt.  We continue to try to enforce an unjust and immoral immigration system that breaks up families and turns good people into criminals.  We have failed to uphold our public education, and we have still not managed to make health care affordable and accessible.  Meanness oozes from broadcasters and politicians.

It is ironic that the most hopeful signs at this time come from the Arab people of North Africa and the Middle East.  It is like watching God stir up the hearts of those who have been oppressed for decades.  A spirit of freedom and self-determination is blowing across a portion of our world, making the dream of the non-violent overthrow of plutocracy and oligarchy a very real possibility.

"O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence -- as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil."  The fires of hope are kindled and our planet is being redrawn.  Let us join our prayers with those who wish to reclaim their lands from dictators and elites.  May Arab hearts be courageous, expansive and true, and not be tempted by fundamentalists and extremists.  Maybe the big-hearted ideals that are changing the Arab world could awaken a new courageous activism on behalf of compassion and egalitarianism in our nation as well.  May the hand of the Potter mold new civilizations of justice and peace.

Lowell

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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
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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

3 Comments:

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CO2 has not been identified as the cause of global anything, Lowell, coorelation is not causation. That is a statistical fact. And here is another fact, concensus is not science, sorry, you have no facts, just idea's and a group of global weather religionists.

Clinton ERA? LOL, there was no deficit his last year in office only, that does not qualify as an era, sorry. And remember who was running the house of rep, yeah, not democrats.

Do you have a solution for our education? I didnt' think so, because money is NOT the problem. We spend more than anyone. Howver, we have the best football teams and that is all that matters. There are 1 million seats open in private schools but the democrats and Obama won't allow vouchers. Instead he forces student to go to failing schools to appease the teachers unions who care more about their retirement than the kids

And how about your non-violent overthrow. What about Iran, and today libya. The beating of reports, the rape of reporters. And now the military is in charge? Yeah, there is HOPE, I hope it works out.
Obama's utopia? How is that working out for you?
Wow, talk about revisionist history.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Freedom is alwayss a struggle and might not be very pretty, but for a peacemaker in her own little way Egpyt is a beautiful thing to watch. Freedom and democracy bubbling up from those being oppressed, instead of imposed by foreigners with guns. War brings only bitterness. Non-violent change gives the opportunity for healing and peace to flourish. And I peacefully and non-violently hold my shoe up to anonymous.

Peace, Janet

 
At 12:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Janet, I suspected you had been wading around in a utopian pigpen, and now that I see and smell your shoe, I know I was right.

The revolutionary war brought freedom, and the best country ever.
The civil war brought emancipation and the end of government sactioned slavery.
WorldWar II brought the end of tyrany in Europe.
All wars fought against an ideology of superiority.

Now in truth, Egypt may be on its way to true freedom, but there is nothing to celebrate yet. Hundreds dead, no real plan, continued protests(i guess they aren't all satisfied) another failure from Obama. And don't forget the spread of unrest. Islam is not the answer if they seek freedom, it is the problem whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

 

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