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My dear friend,
So often I fail with words.
Therefore let this,
Serve as a suitable replacement.

My heart aches for you,
Whom I cherish sincerely.
Your hurt,
Is my hurt.
Believe me when I say,
I know your pain.
For I have been
There before.

But please my dear,
Do not harden your heart.
Let your emotions run
Free.

When they told you that holding them
Would make you strong –
They lied.

For just like every
Other muscle,
The heart must be torn,
Before it can become strong.
Often many times in a row.

Life has dealt you a cruel hand,
But just as a phoenix rises
From the ashes,
So too shall you.

I see the innocence,
In your eyes.
And the pain that
You use to mask
It.

But the pain is
Temporary.

And behind them both,
I see your
Strength.

But as you suffer,
Through this pain,
Do not lose hope.
Do not believe the lies
You have been told.

You are worth more than words.
Do not forget that.
You are more beautiful
Than the stars.

Our Father in heaven,
Has made you in His image.
He has bestowed upon you,
His likeness,
O daughter of Eve!

As tears from my cheek,
Stain this pad
Where I write
These words,
Know you are loved.

Loved
For just being who,
God has made you.

He has crafted the heavens,
And the stars.
Yet you are more important
Than all else in creation.

Let that fill you.
For it is felt
In the embrace of a friend.
Or in the laughter
Of a joke.
Or in a rambling
Line of prose.

Someday perhaps
You shall find someone.
Perhaps not.
Either is fully acceptable,
And up to you.

But never settle
For a life without love.

Embrace the day,
And keep your heart open.
Because people will fail you,
All of us.

But there is One
Who does not fail.
And how great
Is His love for us.

And His love for you.

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Today we mourn a child of God, Maya Angelou, who has passed away from this earthly world. But moreso, we rejoice in the life that she lived, and in the legacy which she has left behind. In memory of her kind soul, I post this little quote of hers on life.

 

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

-Maya Angelou
(April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

A Collect for Memorial Day

O God of Heaven, hear our prayers and our lament.
Hear us O Lord.

For those who have fallen in uniform;
Lord hear our prayer.

For those who have lost their life in service to their cause;
Lord hear our prayer.

For those who have come home, crippled and maimed;
Lord hear our prayer.

For those who have suffered psychological trauma due to violence;
Lord hear our prayer.

When shall morning come?
We wait for the Lord.

Lord hear our prayers;
Hear our lament.

For the casualties of war, both sinner and sinless;
Christ have mercy.

For the widows and orphans;
Christ have mercy.

For the destruction of communities;
Christ have mercy.

You Lord, are our refuge.
We cry out to you, O Lord.

Lord hear our prayers;
Hear our lament.

Almighty God, we are guilty of heinous sins against your Holy Name. We have murdered our brethren, sought retribution, and more.
Have mercy, O Lord.

We have defiled your Sacraments, and have forgotten all love for our enemies. In our grief we have forsaken the way of the Cross.
Have mercy, O Lord.

Lord do not be angry with us, for we are heartily sorry for our actions against You.
Have mercy, O Lord.

+Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Amen.

I have felt the heat of hate burn within my heart. its flames have risen to the heavens of my soul in hellish delight. But in those moments, true delight could not be found in my heart. There was only perversion and evil, for the enjoyment of hate is an abomination unto the Lord. And when there is hate in the heart, Christ does not abide there.

For if God is the very epitome of love, as the Scriptures state, then hate is the antithesis of God. Therefore as such, an abomination to the very nature of God Almighty, hate cannot be found in his Holy Presence. To find such would render the Scriptures and the Gospel void. A voided Gospel, having no place in our lives, would then render Christianity meaningless and simply another cult of hate in the tumultuous world in which we live.

The Kingdom of God

The life of a Christian is a cycle. Every day we must strive to live in accordance with the ways and teachings of Jesus, the Christ. This is something that I am sure we each find extremely trying and difficult. Yet we proceed ever onwards, trusting that the Lord would see us through each day.

In the Scriptures, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God, that we may withstand the advances of the enemy. That when those dark spiritual forces come against us, we may fend them off. But there is more to being a Christian than fending off your heart and mind against evil thoughts and spirits. The Christian is called to be an active force in the world in which he or she lives. Though we be but travelers in it.

In the Greek Scriptures, we are taught that we are to advance the Kingdom of God. This is singularly the most frequent theme to be found in the New Testament. The idea of this spiritual utopia. It is not a place to be visited nor a goal to be reached. It is a frame of mind. The Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come, for they did not understand. The Kingdom of God is neither here nor there. The Kingdom of God, Christ taught, is within us. It is among us.

The Kingdom of God is how Christians ought to live their lives. When we live active lives that speak to our faith, we are advancing the Kingdom of God. For it is only advanced by involving others in it. We live the Kingdom of God by how we treat other people. It is advanced in how we care for the poor and the sick, the widowed and the orphaned, the imprisoned and the downcast. It is impossible to advance the Kingdom when living a solitary pious life, for you are cut off from community. As prominent Christian sociologist and author Tony Campolo puts it, ‘The Kingdom of God is a party’.

The Law vs. Love

We as Christians get mired down in the bog and the muck of rules and guidelines which we have set down for ourselves. Of course we do not mean these to be things that take over our lives instead of Scripture, yet inevitably this does occur. The more we preach out against certain things, the more we find ourselves bound to the rules we created to keep us free. And it causes us more harm than good. For we become known for what we are against, rather than what we are for. Or we forget the initial reason we quit doing certain things in the first place.

During the time of the ministry of Jesus, there were many out to trap him in his words. Once, he was asked what the greatest of the commandments was. Jesus replied that we should love God with all of hearts, with all of our souls, and with all of our minds. Second to that, we should love our neighbors as ourselves. That upon these two things, the entire Law, and all of the Prophets, rested.

That means that at the foundation of the entire Scripture – both Hebrew and Greek – is that we should love. Love God, and love each other. If we can understand this, and use this as the lens with which to read the Bible, we can greatly improve our journey as Christians. For these are the ultimate laws by which we should live our lives. We teach this to our children as babes, that they should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In a world filled with violence and revenge, we are in sore need of such a reminder.

O great God of Heaven!

How far we have strayed from your Holy commands.

In your most august Name,
we have murdered our brethren,
plundered the poor,
and spit upon the forsaken.

Even now we have cast an idol
of steel
and iron
and we have worshiped it-
crying,
“Lord! Lord! Truly only thou art god!”

No longer is our trust placed in You,
O Lord.

Our trust is in missiles
and machinations of war.

With a single button,
we can annihilate the entirety of our enemies.
We can send millions of your children to their deaths.

Without regard for our own children,
we have raped the earth of its natural resources
in futile attempts to gain temporal riches.

This we have done in spite of knowing
that true richness is found only in You,
O God.

Forgive us Father of our sinful ways,
and guide us back into Your merciful arms.

Let us be blessed enough to somehow accomplish
even a minuscule portion of Your work
before we enter eternity.

Thy will be done, O Lord.

Amen.

28 April 2011 (revised 29 May 2014)