Sunday, 18 August 2013

Making Demands of God

An insightful reflection from Kayla McClurg, Church of the Saviour, on Psalm 82... a faith that can demand of God, a faith that dares to pray, hope and work for a different world.

"The psalmist has experienced God as a God of justice and mercy, but when he looks at the vast needs of so many, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the nations failing to serve, he has to wonder. He interrogates the Holy One, demanding response. “What’s going on, God? How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? How long will you delay?”
Would we dare such boldness? Do we have such raw and intimate relationship with God?

The psalmist talks to God as one might a spouse—a spouse who has been quite a disappointment lately. Not only does he take the risk of haranguing God, he lays out in plain language what he thinks needs to be done. The psalmist gives God a “honey-do” list, a reminder of what awaits repair if God hopes to clean up the mess the world is in. Here is the psalmist’s list (I wonder what would be on mine): Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute; rescue the weak and the needy. Just do it already!

Do you notice the psalmist does not ask for God’s intervention in his personal life and community? The relationship between them is greater than that. For the psalmist, God is not a personal peddler of goods, a well-stocked pantry to whom he goes for replenishment. In the psalmist’s daring, we hear what a deeper, more intimate connection sounds like, what it means to be in alignment with God’s own heart.

When we dare to speak honestly on behalf of the silenced ones, perhaps it is because we know that God and we want the same things, that we are bonded with a covenant love that can be trusted., and we will be yoked together in the tasks at hand. In the depths of this kind of love, we can dare to ask boldly, dare to call God, our beloved, to task. C’mon, God, show us the right hammer and nails for the job. You know how to fix this!"

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Clare: A Heart Free For the Lord

St Clare, whose feast we celebrate on 11 August, was a woman who responded to Christ's call and grace with magnificent courage.

Christ, poor and crucified, captured her heart. Thereafter her one desire was that she be utterly his.

She sought to allow grace form in her a heart turned fully toward the Lord, and she taught her sisters to walk the same path of absolute surrender to Christ.

The external poverty and simplicity of the life she embraced was the sacrament, the outward sign of an interior disposition - a heart utterly free for the Lord!

This passage, from her First Letter to St Agnes of Prague, reveals a woman who knew the treasure that was hers in Christ, a brave woman willing to jettison all that would hinder the deep work of his redeeming love.
Be strengthened in the holy service you have undertaken
out of an ardent desire for the Poor Crucified,
who for the sake of all of us 
took upon Himself the Passion of the Cross.

O blessed poverty,
who bestows eternal riches on those
who love and embrace her!

O holy poverty,
to those who possess and desire you
God promises the kingdom of heaven
and offers, indeed, eternal glory and blessed life!

O God-centered poverty,
whom the Lord Jesus Christ
who ruled and now rules heaven and earth,
who spoke and things were made,
condescended to embrace before all else!

What a great laudable exchange:
to leave the things of time for those of eternity,
to choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth,
to receive the hundred-fold in place of one,
and to possess a blessed and eternal life.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Mr Obama: No Guns for Syria!

Christian leaders in USA, including the Franciscans, have written to President Obama with a clear message concerning the civil war that is tearing Syria apart.

They ask for strong diplomatic efforts, and continued humanitarian aid, but they state arms should not be sent to Syria as it will only prolong a brutal war.

The Franciscans in Syria (members of the Custody of the Holy Land) know the suffering and devastation at first hand as they struggle to protect and support those from all communities impacted by the war.

Letter to President Obama