Habits of Grace

Habits of Grace, June 16, 2020: An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry

[June 16, 2020] As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted each week.These meditations can be watched at any time by clicking here.
June 16, 2020: In this month of June
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During this month of June, we find ourselves in the midst of great titanic struggles, hardships, and difficulties. When important things are at stake, when the lives of God’s children, and the life of the world in many respects is at stake. Even as I speak, protestors march through our streets, protesting the way we have been. Protesting for the way we could be. Black Lives Matter, protesting in our city streets that we might learn to live the ways of justice, and mercy that reflects the heart of God’s love. And even as I speak, this month of June is Pride Month when our LGBTQ siblings remember and recall, and continue their struggle for equality and mutual respect, and human dignity in our society, in our church and throughout the world.

And even as I speak, the COVID-19 pandemic continues in strange and unanticipated ways, but it continues. This is the month of June. These are some hard times. Hard times for all, but really hard times for so many. Sometimes it’s helpful to go back and look how others navigated hard times. I went and picked up a small book. There’s a book of sermons by Harry Emerson Fosdick. It was published in the mid 1940s, in 1944 I believe. It was a collection of sermons that he preached as the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, during the Second World War when the entire world was in an apocalyptic struggle between good and evil. One of the sermons he titled, “In such a time as this, no dry-as-dust religion will do.”

He pleaded with people of God to draw closer to God for strength and energy. To live lives of love, of faith, of hope. In that same period of time, he composed the hymn that’s found in many of our hymnals, and I would offer it for us this week in this month of June.

God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
crown thy ancient churches’ story,
bring her bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
for the facing of this hour . . .

Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of thy salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving thee whom we adore.

(Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1930)

God love you. God bless you. May God hold us all in those Almighty hands of love.

Reference: “No Dry as Dust Religion Will Do,” A Great Time to Be Alive: Sermons on Christianity in War Time, Harpers & Brothers, 1944

Habits of Grace

Habits of Grace, June 5, 2020: An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry

[June 5, 2020] As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted each week through June. These meditations can be watched at any time by clicking here.

June 5, 2020: For Quiet Confidence

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I had intended to do our Habits of Grace earlier this week on Monday or Tuesday, as I usually do, and then so many things began to happen, both in our country and in our wider world that I wasn’t able to get to it.

In the midst of all that was going on, there were a few moments when so much was happening so fast and it was so chaotic, that at one point, I was on a Zoom call with a member of our staff and we were working on videos and interviews and it was so much and so chaotic, I remember just saying, “Let’s just stop, and pray.”

And the prayer I prayed was a prayer from our prayer book. It’s toward the end of the prayer book on page 832 called “For Quiet Confidence”. This prayer is based on a time in the life of the prophet Isaiah, when the people of Judah and Jerusalem were living in a time when their country was in turmoil and things were uncertain and chaos seemed to be ruling.

The prophet Isaiah said, “You must remember that it is in returning and rest, that you will be saved; in quietness and confidence, you will find your strength.” And this is the prayer we prayed and I offer it for all of us. Let us pray:

Oh, God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and in rest, we shall be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength. By the might of thy Spirit, lift us, we pray thee to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

God love you and keep the faith.

Interfaith Remembrance

An invitation to Episcopalians to join in an interfaith remembrance of all who have lost their lives to COVID-19

May 22, 2020

From the Presiding Bishop (Video and text)

 

“On the last weekend in May, The Episcopal Church is joining with other faith traditions (Jewish, Muslim, and Christians who are Protestant, Catholic, and Evangelical) in remembrance of all who have lost their lives to COVID-19. All are invited to offer prayers of grief, of lament, of support, for those who have died, for their loved ones and all who grieve, and for the healing for the human family and our world at this time.

A number of faith leaders came together this week, and decided that the last weekend in May, we would invite members of our various congregations to offer prayers of grief, of lament, of support for those who have died, for their loved ones and all who grieve, and for the healing of our nation and our world at this time. And so, in the last weekend of May, which is the weekend of Pentecost, I would invite us, as the Episcopal Church, and all of our congregations, in ways that are appropriate to our communities, to offer to join with Jews, Muslims, Christians who are Protestant, Catholic, and Evangelical, who have decided to come together to pray for those who have died, and for all of us who grieve, and to pray for the healing of our nation.

You can do this in any way that’s appropriate, as part of the prayers of the people, very simple part of the prayers of the people, or in some other way that is appropriate and fitting for your community. But however you do it, let us pray to the Lord our God, that he may hear us, that he may hear our hurts, and that God may heal our land.

God love you, God bless you, and may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.”- Bishop Curry

ENS – One way Episcopalians can incorporate the gravity of the pandemic into their worship is by praying a new collect, composed by a team of Episcopalians and Lutherans, called “A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit Among the People of God.”

Written “to unite us in common prayer and revive us for common mission” during this crisis in the spirit of Pentecost, Curry and his Lutheran counterpart, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, invite congregations to pray it from Pentecost through the first Sunday in September. In addition to expressing a shared desire for renewal in a troubling time, the collect also commemorates nearly 20 years of full communion between The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The collect will be used in Washington National Cathedral’s Pentecost service, during which Curry will preach.

One way Episcopalians can incorporate the gravity of the pandemic into their worship is by praying a new collect, composed by a team of Episcopalians and Lutherans, called “A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit Among the People of God.”

Written “to unite us in common prayer and revive us for common mission” during this

A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit Among the People of God

God of all power and love,
we give thanks for your unfailing presence
and the hope you provide in times of uncertainty and loss.
Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle in us your holy fire.
Revive us to live as Christ’s body in the world:
a people who pray, worship, learn,
break bread, share life, heal neighbors,
bear good news, seek justice, rest and grow in the Spirit.
Wherever and however we gather,
unite us in common prayer and send us in common mission,
that we and the whole creation might be restored and renewed,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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A Recognizable God

May 11, 2020