Tag Archives: justice

Prepare the way, O Zion

Prepare the way, O Zion,
your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley
a level way appear.
Greet One who comes in glory,
foretold in sacred story.

Refrain:
Oh, blest is Christ that came
in God’s most holy name.

He brings God’s rule, O Zion;
he comes from heaven above.
His rule is peace and freedom,
and justice, truth, and love.
Lift high your praise resounding,
for grace and joy abounding.

Refrain

Fling wide your gates, O Zion;
your Savior’s rule embrace.
His tidings of salvation
proclaim in every place.
All lands will bow before him,
their voices will adore him.

Refrain

–Words: Frans Mikael Franzen (1772-1847); tr. composite; adapt. Charles P. Price (b. 1920)
–Tune: BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN (melody from Then Svenska Psalmboken, 1697)

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Psalm 72:1-7;18-19

Give the King your justice, O God, *
   and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously *
   and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
   and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people; *
   he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
   from one generation to another.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
   like showers that water the earth.

In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
   there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, *
   who alone does wondrous deeds!

And blessed be his glorious Name for ever! *
   and may all the earth be filled with his glory.
   Amen. Amen.

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When justice shall be throned in might

“Thy kingdom come!” on bended knee
the passing ages pray;
and faithful souls have yearned to see
on earth that kingdom’s day.

But the slow watches of the night
not less to God belong;
and for the everlasting right
the silent stars are strong.

And lo, already on the hills
the flags of dawn appear;
gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
proclaim the day is near:

The day to whose clear shining light
all wrong shall stand revealed,
when justice shall be throned in might,
and every heart be healed;

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
shall walk the earth abroad;
the day of perfect righteousness,
the promised day of God.

–Words: Words: Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1891
–Tune: ST. FLAVIAN, 1562

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Exploding with Compassion

My heart explodes with compassion. Sometimes I want to run up to every single person I pass and tell them that I love them. This feeling is strongest when I encounter people who exude anger or hostility toward me or others. I believe that they who often exude that anger or hostility do so out of fear or mistrust or negativity that has been inflicted upon them.

Last night, I encountered compassion on foot. I walked side by side with Love. I witnessed God’s Spirit moving through the streets of Capitol Hill in Seattle through and with the hundreds of people of all faiths and no faith as they walked from one Cathedral to another. We walked to show that Love Wins and that God is Love, not hate. We walked to tell the city and the nation and the world that God relishes in compassion and mercy, and God mourns with us as we cry out in lament after the heinous murders in Orlando and so many, many, many other cities.

We walked in memory of the all victims of gun violence. We walked to lament the continued unaddressed issues of gun violence in our country. We walked to show that people of faith stand on the side of justice, and that those other people of faith who express hate and hostility towards those not like them do not represent us.

I follow the religion of love wherever love is found,
for love is my religion and my faith.
Holy, holy, holy,
You are the Lord God.
Heaven and earth
are full of your glory.

Kyrie eleison, eleison.

Images of our walk through Capitol Hill, starting at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and ending at St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral.

Images of our walk through Capitol Hill, starting at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and ending at St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral, Seattle, Washington.

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Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed,
great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
his reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,
to set the captive free,
to take away transgression,
and rule in equity.

He comes, with succor speedy,
to those who suffer wrong;
to help the poor and needy,
and bid the weak be strong;
to give them songs for sighing,
their darkness turn to light,
whose souls, condemned and dying,
were precious in his sight.

He shall come down like showers
upon the fruitful earth;
love, joy, and hope, like flowers,
spring in his path to birth;
before him, on the mountains,
shall peace the herald go;
and righteousness, in fountains,
from hill to valley flow.

Kings shall fall down before him,
and gold and incense bring;
all nations shall adore him,
his praise all people sing;
to him shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend,
his kingdom still increasing,
a kingdom without end.

O’er every foe victorious,
he on his throne shall rest;
from age to age more glorious,
all-blessing and all-blest.
the tide of time shall never
his covenant remove;
his name shall stand for ever,
his changeless Name of love.

–Words: James Montgomery (1771-1854); paraphrase of Psalm 72
–Tune: ES FLOG EIN KLEINS WALDVÖGELEIN (German folk song)

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Reflection on “Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace”

Today is my second day in Oklahoma City attending a conference run by The Episcopal Church called “Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace: An Episcopal National Gathering to Challenge the Epidemic of Violence.” Today is only the second of three days, but my head is already overflowing with lots of ideas on how we as the Church might more vocally and effectively respond to the continuing violence that plagues communities of all sorts. Violence is not something that just affects “them.” We are all victims of violence.

I’ve learned about Jorge Fuentes, a 19-year-old random victim of violence in South Boston (facebook.com/bpeaceforjorge) and how his senseless death has rallied people from all across the Boston urban and suburban areas to respond collectively to violence. I’ve learned about The Community of the Cross of Nails (www.crossofnails.org), formed by a relationship of two churches (one British, one German) after World War II. I’ve learned about an organization called Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence (faithsagainstgunviolence.org) and the Gun Violence Sabbath Prevention Weekend (http://marchsabbath.org/) that organization facilitated this past March and is planning again for 2015. I’ve learned about how attitude and perception matter when contemplating how to respond to violence. I’ve learned about how Episcopalians are working with non-Episcopalians and how non-political people are getting engaged with their politicians to lobby for change. I’ve learned about grassroots bottom-up efforts and top-down initiatives led by governments and schools and churches. I have heard the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury speak and “rally the troops” so to speak. I have heard priests and lay people speak. I’ve heard a bishop who is a former police officer give personal witness to the impact of violence in his life. I’ve spoken to young adults who work in their local communities both within and without their churches to promote positive change.

And yet, there is still so much work to do. There are so many complexities to the epidemic of violence. There are so many resources that provide materials. What is one to do? It is so overwhelming, and as a result, too many people remain silent. Our baptismal covenant makes it exceedingly clear: we are to always strive for peach and justice among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. This Easter, when many of us will renew our baptismal covenant, the words of this conference will echo in my heart.

There is one comment that I heard today from a speaker at the conference, the Rev. Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, author of Becoming the Transformative Church. In responding to a question, she stated: “Holy conversations are not an event, they are a process and an attitude.” I think this one statement sums up why so much of what people have done in response to violence is insufficient. Many people will attend a vigil, or say a prayer, or read an article and say “what can I do?” but do nothing. It is a process and an attitude change, not one specific event that we do. We must continually work toward reconciliation and change. Without continual reflection, continual conversation, continual prayer and continual hard work to make the change we see needs to happen, there will be no change. Violence will continue. We will all continue to be victims.

Tomorrow, our conference continues with more conversation, and a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. We will visit this site of overwhelming atrocity as a visual reminder of incredible violence committed to innocent people. It is moments like these that we work toward making a thing of our history. It is possible. Through prayer, continual conversation and reflection, and a lot of hard work, it is possible.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.

Click here to read an article from Episcopal News Service about the conference.


Click here to read an article from The Oklahoman about the conference.

logopeaceokc

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Lenten Reflection – Day 27

In the last few weeks, there have been news stories about churches who are trying to lure people into their fold by offering guns to those who attend retreats or worship services. When I first heard of this, I was shocked. It is utterly shocking at how blatantly against the example of Jesus such a gesture is. Jesus embodied non-violence. Jesus embodied turning the other cheek…it got him killed. Jesus embodied peace. The fact that a church would turn the goal of increasing membership, or in their eyes “winning souls for Christ,” no doubt, turns the message of Christ upside down and spits in the face of the example of Christ’s life.

I am a Christian who believes that a life of humility, service, and sacrifice is what God calls us to in Jesus Christ. Not a life of superiority, aggression, and paranoia. That is what these churches are perpetuating…a life of “shut your mouth and defend yourself” instead of a life of “turn the other cheek, listen, and speak.”

May the God of love in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. Lord, have mercy!

Here is one such article about this on Sojourners.net.

“The Deserter” by Boardman Robinson (1916)

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