Couldn't have said it better myself...



"We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."

Anais Nin




Monday, April 25, 2016

Litany for Peace

This week is the actual centenary of the Easter Rising in Dublin, and as part of our response to that and the other centenaries being marked in Ireland from 2012-22, tonight Rev. Dr. Johnston McMaster gave a lecture helping us to make "God-Sense" of it all, in the different world that is Ireland 100 years on. In it he asked a number of questions including "Does violence ever bring peace?" challenging the place of the myth of redemptive violence in Christian thinking. As a partial response to that I thought I would post this Litany for Peace fromr yesterday morning's broadcast Service on Radio Ulster when we were reflecting on Jesus' challenging promise: "Blessed are the Peacemakers..." 

Prince of Peace
deliver us
From those who use violence to impose their will on others.
From those who stir others up to use violence to achieve their ends.
From those who turn a blind eye to violence and injustice because it doesn’t affect them directly.
From the mindset that might is right and the end justifies the means.
Prince of Peace
deliver us
From simplistic divisions into us and them, wherever the dividing lines are drawn.
From those who use division and fear as a means of garnering support for their position.
From endless and unproductive cycles of resentment and recrimination.
From the tendency to use words to wound and the desire to win at all costs.
Prince of Peace
deliver us
From the confusion of peace with order and justice with legalism.
From the folly of thinking we have all the answers and have nothing to learn from anyone
From the use of your word as a justification for our prejudices
From divisions in your body that bring shame on your name and make a mockery of your command to love one another
Prince of Peace
deliver us
From the pain of the past, confusion in the present and fear of the future.
Prince of Peace
deliver us
From the limitations of our own knowledge, the selfishness of our desires and the tendency to blame others for our failings
Prince of Peace
deliver us
By your words of forgiveness uttered on the cross
Prince of Peace
deliver us
By your victory over death in your resurrection from the grave
Prince of Peace
deliver us
By your Spirit breathed upon us
Prince of Peace
deliver us
We pray this for ourselves, our province, our nation, our world,
looking forward to that time when your Kingdom of perfect Peace comes in all its fullness
On earth as it is in heaven
AMEN

Shalom

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The World's Beatitudes

Over recent months in Belfast South Methodist we have been thinking about the implications of Jesus’ Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5, and in this morning's broadcast Service on Radio Ulster we were reflecting on "Blessed are the Peacemakers..." and as part of it we contrasted the words of Jesus with common attitudes in the world at large:



VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are the materially wealthy, because theirs is the kingdom of the here and now."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are those who are too busy living to think about death, because life is for living."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are the self-assertive, because they will get what they want."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are those who are satisfied with the world as it is, because they don’t have to do anything to improve it."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are the merciless, because they will never allow themselves to be at anyone else’s mercy." 
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are those who keep their hands clean, because others will do all the dirty work."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are the warriors, because no-one will ever treat them like children."
VOICE 1:          Jesus says:
VOICE 2:          "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
VOICE 1:          The world says:
VOICE 3:          "Blessed are those who get their retaliation in first, because good guys finish last in this world."
VOICE 1:          And all the people said:
ALL:                  AMEN

Shalom