Pray With Us!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

“’Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’
At once they left their nets and followed him.”

There are a lot of fisherpeople in MN. Some have real gifts and passion for the sport. Me? I’m a sort of “Honey, I’ll hang here with my novel while you cast” sort of fishergal. But pulling in your meal is such a powerful thing, as one night of endless bass showed me. (If you want a glimmer of the beauties of fishing, go watch Lauren Knapp’s utterly delightful “Fishing in Heaven” here: https://vimeo.com/28992129) Leaves me thinking about fishing for people… We do it because it will, ultimately, feed us and feed the world. Hope to see you on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Charis ECC, 7117 Washington Ave. South.
I look forward to seeing many of you at Mass at 11 a.m. In gratitude for your companionship on this journey,

Trish
Pastoral Director
Charis
An Ecumenical Catholic Community
http://www.newcatholiccommunity.com
cháris Χάρις khar’ece

Our name means grace, good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Let’s Go Down to the River to Pray

Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching. — The Prophet Isaiah
This Sunday is the last day of the season of Christmas. Am I the only person with the tree still up? Well, it’s not liturgical year correctness, I admit, just a busy life and travel schedule!
It’s fascinating to me that the last day of this season is a huge leap forward from the birth and other narratives set in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem and the road to Egypt. We have fast-forwarded from Magi to the banks of the Jordan. People are flocking to John for the Baptism of repentance he is offering.
Our English word baptism is derived from a Greek word, baptizo, which means to plunge, drown or sink. John’s baptism is in synch with the many water rituals of his time, the root of the current practice of mikvah in contemporary Judaism. Archaeologists have uncovered a deep and complex series of interconnected pools at Qumran, and speculate that the monks regularly underwent ritual cleansing by water. We know from the Gospels that ceremonial washing was important to the followers of Jesus, as was ritual handwashing to the Pharisees.
One of the historical records of the time, written by Josephus, the Jewish historian, references peopl;e going to John as a moment of ritually completing their personal conversion.This baptism signified a turning away from sin in preparation for the reign of God that was, hopefully, breaking in.
And, of course, Christians believe that Jesus represents, in a complete and gracious way, that inbreaking of the divine life, revealed for all of us.
The wonderful liturgical theologian Max Johnson describes the baptism of John akin to the crossing of the Jordan made by the people as they entered the promised land. To go into the Jordan with John is to be ready to enter a new age. So it seems particularly powerful that Jesus himself enters into that ritual. And of course, no surprise that we hear the voice of Isaiah on Sunday as well, proclaiming as Judaism makes a critical shift away from violence and internecine conflict that God’s servant will be the one who brings justice by following a path of peace.
As our nation dances with the possibility of escalating violence in Iraq with Iran, and as portions of the world sear under the lash of climate change (please see prayer for Australia, below), we need this reminder of who Jesus is, was and will be. We need the daily renewal of baptismal power and fervor. I say. More on that Sunday!
I look forward to seeing many of you at Mass at 11 a.m. 7117 Washington Ave. South, just off the Valley View Road exit of 169.

In gratitude for your companionship on this journey,
Trish
Pastoral Director

Charis
An Ecumenical Catholic Community
http://www.newcatholiccommunity.com
cháris Χάρις khar’ece
Our name means grace, good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Photo is of a mural in Medjugorje. Thanks to U.S. Catholic for source material for this reflection.

Australian Bush fires

Peter Bierer is a friend of our community. This prayer he wrote just appeared in America Magazine. We join him in praying for Australia.

Prayer of Lament for Australia

How long, O Lord?

Every day, I see images and hear stories of the devastating bushfires in Australia. Raging fires, blackened forests, burned-out homes, ash-filled skies, scarred animals, traumatized children and communities.

I am filled with sorrow, my soul is heavy with grief.
How long will the fires last, O Lord?
How long will the destruction and death continue?
Where are you, God?

I am sad, O God.

I grieve for the loss of human life, of homes, animals, plants and trees, and the scarring of the earth. I am saddened for the original custodians of the land, the First Peoples of Australia, and the poor and marginalized disproportionately affected by the fires. As Jesus wept for Jerusalem and the coming destruction of the temple, I weep for Australia and the destruction of this sacred land.

Turn my sadness into compassion.

I am fearful, O God.

I am afraid because these fires are out of my control. I feel helpless and small. When will this torment end? How many lives will be affected by the fires? There is no end in sight. Will relief ever come?

Turn my fear into hope.

I am angry, O God.

I look for someone to blame. Whose fault is this? Scientists have warned for decades of the dangers of climate change, yet our leaders sit idly by, making promises with little to show in action. I am even angry with you, God. Can’t you stop the fires by some miracle? Are you even listening? I know that pointing fingers will not help, but I am upset.

Turn my anger into resolve.

I am ashamed, O God.

Am I partly to blame for these fires? I hold tightly to my comforts and conveniences which contribute to higher carbon levels in the atmosphere. I am ashamed because I do not know how to help.

Turn my shame into healing.

I am grateful, O God.

I am thankful for the firefighters who work tirelessly to protect your people and all creation; for the volunteers and those who donate money, supplies and their own homes to assist those in need; for the “good news stories” which spark hope. I am grateful for the rain when it comes.

Turn my gratitude into action.

How long, O Lord, how long?

I cry to you in my helplessness as I witness the tragedy unfolding in the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit.

Come, Holy Spirit, Enkindle in us the fire of your love fill the hearts of your people and renew the face of the earth.

Instead of bushfires, come with the fire of your love, Holy Spirit.

Fill us with compassion and mercy to stand with our sisters and brothers affected by the fires. Give us strength to join in their suffering and bear witness to their pain.

Instead of the driving winds that add fuel to the fires, come as a gentle breath.

Bring fresh air to drive away the toxic fumes and ashen skies. Breathe new life into us, inspire us with love to care for one another and the earth.

Come, Holy Spirit, as a refreshing rain.

Open the heavens, quench the flames, heal the parched land and nourish our souls, renew the face of the earth.

Come, Holy Spirit, with the peace of a dove.

Calm our anxieties and fear. Lead us from the temptation to blame one another and become divided. May we be bearers of peace.

Come as a balm, Holy Spirit.

Anoint and soothe the wounds of the victims, seen and unseen. May we be balm to one another.

Be our Advocate, Holy Spirit.

Listen to our inward groaning and give us words to speak in places of power. Speak through us that we may be prophets of love amid the kingdoms of selfishness and greed; that we may speak hope in times of despair.

Veni, Creator Spiritus!

Heal the land. Heal our hearts. Make us new again.

To you, O God, I entrust my sorrow, my fears, my anguish, as well as the people, the flora and fauna, the land of Australia.

Help me to find consolation and be grateful for the many gifts and joys present in the midst of this tragedy.

Reveal to me the path of life.

Fill me with love, guide me in hope, and lead me to act with mercy and compassion.

Amen.