Friday, April 19, 2013

A Prayer for Boston

Pray for Us!

Dear friends,

Given the ongoing events in my beloved home town, I am aware now more than at any other time in my life that we are all involved as fellow combatants in a battle between good and evil.

Given the events in Texas, we are all reminded of the vulnerability of life, and that at any time, for any number of reasons, a violent and sudden end or change to our life can occur.

Thus it is that we all stand in the need of prayer.

My son David lives in Dorchester and knows of the Richards family because of his work with an inner-city non profit. The Richards family lost an 8 year old in the Patriot's Day explosion and the mom and sister are still in serious condition in a Boston hospital. Mr Richards was involved in the revitalization of a tough old section of Ashmont and Peabody Square where one of our great Anglo-Catholic congregations is located, All Saints Church.

David also knows the organist of St. Peter's Church, Cambridge. He lives in Watertown on the same street where the fire fight erupted in the early hours of Friday morning. We are all intimately connected with one another in the ongoing battle between good and evil.

Today at St. Gabriel's Mary Boggs preached a magnificent sermon on young adult ministry. She is a woman of enormous courage and spirit. She is from New England and is a runner. She had much to say about the events of the last week. I thank God for her witness to young people today.

The ancient church taught us at the outset that there are only two ways; "The way that leads to life and the way that leads to death". (The Didache or the Teachings) The events of the past week show us how important our work of inspiring our young people really is. This is what Mary is seeking to do in her ministry. The work of annual "Vocare" weekends is designed to help young people to discern their calling in life.

On the events of the past week, allow me to share these thoughts;

I have never armed myself with anything more than a Swiss Army knife. I don't even do that any more given the fact that I fly a lot and these knives are now not permitted. I have left my protection up to the local police. Obviously their ability to do their job is compromised by the ubiquity of heavy weapons of all sorts. 

My weaponry comes from scripture. I have always loved this scripture. Notice that all this armor comes from within.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints."
~Ephesians 6:10-18

Put on the whole armor of God.

Another resource is a beautiful Celtic Litany for Peace I have recently been using to calm myself. Allow me to share it with you.

A Celtic Litany for Peace

We have prayed for peace.
Unknowing of what we truly ask.
Peace cannot come into the house
Where love is unwelcome.
Peace cannot come into the land
Where injustice and oppression live.
Peace cannot enter or be fostered
In souls that still engage in dispute.
Peace does not come meekly and unarmed.
Peace needs the pathway of our will to change.
Peace will not come to the troubled world
Unless we first invite it under our own roof.

Peace, I am disarming myself of the need to be right;
Peace, I am disclaiming my need to feel superior;
Peace, I am dissolving my contract with fear.
Peace, I am removing my armor of anger;
Peace, I am dismantling my anxious illusions;
Peace, I am ringing down the curtain of my theatre of war;
Peace, I am undoing the locks and bolts.
Of sevenfold Peace, it is I who have kept you out:
Come in and welcome!

~from Caitlin Matthews’ Celtic Devotional.

Finally there is this thought. Tom Shaw, the Bishop of Massachusetts is in Watertown this morning. The church in Watertown is called the Church of the Good Shepherd. How appropriate that the gathering place for our church in a town beset with such violence would dedicate its church to the Good Shepherd. How appropriate that on the Sunday following these events, the Sunday in the church year comes around to Good Shepherd Sunday.

May the Good Shepherd guide, protect, and encourage us to our several callings. And may the Good Shepherd carry those home who are now no longer with us. May the Good Shepherd in all of us continue to minister to the wounds of all those maimed and bereft of their loved ones in Greater Boston and Texas. 

In the meantime; pray for us. We are all in this together.

And may God bless you.

Fr. Paul

1 comment:

Margaret Helminska said...

Fr. Paul, thank you for this.