Listen Beyond the Tweets to the Deep Peace of the Still Small Voice

Inner Peace KempisOn this quiet summer morning, I arise to find the airwaves clamouring with the sound of Tweets. As news of war and rumours of war penetrates my consciousness and awaken me to the surreal clamouring of madmen who hold the power of life and death in the grasp of their tiny hands, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of the talking heads. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can, however, control the way we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….Let us open ourselves to the sound of the still, small voice, the Daughter of a Sound, the Bat Qol who calls us Beyond the Beyond and Beyond that also toward the Deep Peace…. 

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

Deep Peace: John Philip Newell

Inner Peace KempisAs news of wars and rumours of war penetrate our consciousness, it is so very tempting to give in to the cynicism of our age. While our hearts grieve for our broken world, let us remember that while we cannot control the actions of others, we can control how we react to the actions of others. Let us not fall into temptation. Let us live in hope. Let us pause in the gentleness of this summer morning to turn our being toward the dream of peace. Shalom, Salam, Santi, Pax, Udo, Santi, Axsti, Salmu, Sith, Paix, Peace….

Two videos which present John Philip Newell’s interpretation of the Celtic prayer for Deep Peace

Mothers’ Day: It’s Time to Put Away the Sappy Sentiments and Turn Over a Few Tables in the Temples of Hallmark!

True Mother Julian of NorwichIn a world where rape remains an weapon of war as whole populations are transformed into refugees, in a nation where the number of aboriginal women murdered soars above a thousand, in communities where mothers continue to struggle to feed, cloth, and house their children, there is no time for sappy sentiments on the day established to call for peace.  Peace can only be achieved through justice and justice for mothers requires action by women and men everywhere.

Preachers have several choices when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel on Mothers’ Day.  We can of course ignore the fact that it is Mothers’ Day. After all Mothers’ Day does not appear on the Church calendar of feasts and commemorations. However, Mothers’ Day is reported to be the third highest attendance day; out numbered only by Easter and Christmas! I suspect that a great many offspring choose the day to placate their mothers. So ignoring the event seems like adding insult to injury to those guilt-ridden offspring who hope that their efforts won’t go unnoticed. Sadly, the presence of the Christmas and Easter crowd, all too often tempts the preacher to resort to sentimentality in order to entertain the infrequent worshippers. The history of the creation of Mothers’ Day ought to compel preachers to resist temptation and find the courage not to compromise. 

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

To those of you who continue to point out that the Mothers’ Day apostrophe belongs between the r and the s, all I can say is: “Move it!”  Until we can move beyond thoughts about our very own mother to the realization that mothers everywhere are worthy of celebration the vision of peace that this day is designed to call us all toward will remain but a dream. Let this day be about mothers everywhere!!! Moving the apostrophe is but a small reminder that the holiday does not belong to any individual mother but to mothers every where!!! Let peace break out this Mothers’ Day!!!

For additional resources for the celebration of MOTHERS’ DAY click here to listen to a MOTHERS’ DAY sermon click  here

Way of Peace Dialogue, Jesus and Buddha

Jesus & BuddhaA humble conversation between Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Laurence Freeman OSB (Roman Catholic priest and a Benedictine monk of Turvey Abbey in England and Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation).

Listening to the Drums of War and Contemplating the History of God

asherah

They’re at it again, the powers that be, calling for a military strike to punish a dictator for a military strike that went too far. As the drums of war sound, I hear phrases like “We must stand with Israel”, “Christians are being persecuted” and “Muslim Brotherhood”. When will the children of Sarah, Abraham and Hagar stop their squabbling? Surely, it’s time for us to move beyond our tribal ways? Are we doomed to go on repeating the patterns of the past or can we look into our past as a way of moving beyond our history?

“We cannot be religious in the same way as our ancestors. Our perspective has entirely changed. We have looked at the world from outer space for example. Each generation has the task of looking back at its traditions, looking back at its scriptures and looking at its own peculiar and unique circumstances and making a creative jump to apply the past tradition to the problems of the present.” 

Theologian/historian/lecturer Karen Armstrong’s book A HISTORY OF GOD forms the basis for this documentary which explores the way humans have perceived the idea of a supreme being throughout history. During these days, of warmongering we would do well to reflect upon our shared histories. 

Preaching on Mothers’ Day – Don’t Compromise!

True Mother Julian of NorwichPreachers have several choices when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel on Mothers’ Day.  We can of course ignore the fact that it is Mothers’ Day. After all Mothers’ Day does not appear on the Church calendar of feasts and commemorations. However, Mothers’ Day is reported to be the third highest attendance day; out numbered only by Easter and Christmas! I suspect that a great many offspring choose the day to placate their mothers. So ignoring the event seems like adding insult to injury to those guilt-ridden offspring who hope that their efforts won’t go unnoticed. Sadly, the presence of the Christmas and Easter crowd, all too often tempts the preacher to resort to sentimentality in order to entertain the infrequent worshippers. The history of the creation of Mothers’ Day ought to compel preachers to resist temptation and find the courage not to compromise. 

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

What If? – Remembering September 11, 2001

As our thoughts and prayers turn to that horrendous day, I can’t help wondering about all that has transpired since and wondering “What if…..?”  In the days following the terrorist attacks the following email message was circulated the world over, I’ve kept it all these years.

“Bomb them with butter . . . .”

A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.

Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don’t have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let’s offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs.

Bomb them with information. Video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism. Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their “guest”. Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective that is denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban can’t collect and hide it all. The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let’s give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, agree to enter the civilized world. That includes handing over terrorists in their midst.

In responding to terrorism we need to do something different. Something unexpected. Something that addresses the root of the problem. We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Laden’s of the world water their gardens of terror.”

This morning as the September sun shines as brightly as it did eleven years ago, I can’t help wondering what might have happened if we had paid attention to our better angels. In the  words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it… Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

We will never know what might have been. But I wonder if we are ready to learn to forgive. On this bright September morning can we turn our hearts, prayers and minds to the challenge of peace? Can we begin to forgive? Do we have the courage to ask for forgiveness? 

As one who strives to follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I am struck by how quickly my own hunger for justice can so quickly devolve into an acceptance of measures that only appease my own desire for security. The challenge for me is to follow Jesus beyond what seems prudent to a place beyond fear. Do I have the courage to forgive? Do I have the courage to ask for forgiveness? I wonder???

MOTHERS’ DAY – Peace is the Way

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”