Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Prayer for Peace in Syria

Shelled Syrian home

This prayer is offered through the Church of England, but I've added the line in italics at the end.

Spirit of wisdom and grace,
the power of truth and judgement;
we pray for all who are working for peace
in the tangled conflict of Syria today.

For international leaders holding a thread of control,
for the politicians holding a thread of power,
for the religious leaders holding a thread of authority,
for the fighters holding a thread of influence,
and the citizens clinging to a thread of hope.

Bring unity through the untangled order of justice.
Bring reconciliation through truthful dialogue.
Bring new life through patient diplomacy,
determined mediation and courageous peace-making.
Bring about conversion of heart
through the prayers of  Saint Eid il-Burbara (St. Barbara)
patroness of Syria. 

We pray in the name of Christ
our source of light and love.

Saint Barbara

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian Conflict

This is essentially a Church of England prayer, but I have added substantially to it. 

We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus.

To those who have died:
Give the healing of heaven, Lord Jesus.
To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection, Lord Jesus.
To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection, Lord Jesus.

To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection, Lord Jesus.
For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
To those who are killing their fellows:
Give the remedy of love.

To the children:
Give the restoration of safety and joy.
To our war-weary world:
Give the new will of peace-making.
To all the soldiers:
Give the joy of returning to loved ones.

In the hope of Christ we pray. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Intercessions ~ Second Sunday in Lent

Lent is the Church's Springtime,/ and so we ask for new growth in Christ:/ the greening of friendship,/ patient kindness,/ faith and prayer./ We pray to the Lord.

More than one hundred Syrian-Christian women, children and elderly were abducted by ISIL this week./ We pray for them and their loved ones./ We ask for the softening of evil hearts./ We pray to the Lord.

The ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia has not held./ We pray for peace in that suffering and troubled part of the world./ We pray to the Lord.

May those who are suffering from the winter's cold find the comfort,/ shelter,/ food and assistance they need./ We pray to the Lord.

For the safety of travelers,/ For doctors and nurses,/ for those who are in prison and for their inner healing./ We pray to the Lord.

For those who are sick,/ elderly,/ frail,/ out-of-work or depressed,/ and for those who help others in their need./ We pray to the Lord.

For refugees,/ captives and those victimized by war./ For the salvation of those who have died since we last gathered in prayer,/ and for the healing and comforting of mourners/ mindful specially of those who grieve the loss of children./ We pray to the Lord.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Faith ~ Jesus Calms the Wild Sea

Rembrandt ~ Jesus Calms the Stormy Sea

With the coming of evening that same day, Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let us cross over to the other side.' And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat, and there were other boats with him. Then a great hurricane wind began to blow, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, his head on the the cushion, asleep. They woke  him and said to him, 'Master, do you not care? We are lost!'  And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Silence, Be quiet!'  And the wind dropped, and there followed a great calm. Then he said to them, 'Why are you so frightened? Have you still no faith?' They were overcome with awe and said to one another. 'Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.' Mark 4:35-41

Sitting in a kind of basin, the Sea of Galilee is surrounded by mountainous terrain. And when cold air comes over the hills and meets the warm air coming off the water, terrific storms can form quickly. So picture a little armada of boats in the evening time. Jesus (who is sleeping) and some disciples are in one of those boats. 

Or maybe Jesus was just pretending to be asleep to test the faith of the disciples. Jesus is always trying to draw faith out of us. So they wake Jesus who is quite stern in taking on the wind and waves, as if the elements are personal. "Be bound" is actually a better translation than "Be Quiet." Anyway, the men are left wondering about who Jesus is that "wind and sea obey him."

The Greek word for faith, "Have you still no faith" doesn't refer to believing but about utter trust in the power of God. So the disciples are just beginning to understand that Jesus is taking them into a completely new order or realm. First-faith.

Maybe the words of Jesus in the first verses, "Let us go to the other side," aren't so much about the other side of the lake as it is about the other side of trust. Ah! When I trust God completely I've really made a crossing. And the doorway into this kind of crossing over is humility: putting aside so much of my agenda, supposed knowledge, self-reliance and power claims, coming upon the other side ~ the new land  of reliance upon God's good lead. Do you recall when that first began to happen to  you?

I remember as a young boy serving the old Mass and kneeling at the left foot of the priest at the Consecration. I would ring the little bell with my left hand and raise the edge of the priest's chasuble a bit with my right. Talk about crossing over into a different realm! Remember the poor, broken Gospel woman, all exhausted and bleeded out, and pressed in by the crowd saying of Jesus, "If only I can touch his clothes, I will be well." Mark 5:28. It was like that: crossing over into first faith.

I'd say we've all got a crossing over into first-faith story to tell.