You cannot serve God and the occupation.
A short liturgy for the Sabeel-Kairos Conference
Make a Difference in the World
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
Half-truths, superficial relationships,
So that you will live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice,
Oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you will work for justice, equity and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain,
Rejection, starvation and war,
So that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.
From ‘A World of Blessing’, edited by Geoffrey Duncan
God of darkness… as well as God of light
Wounded God… yet healing God
When we stumble on the journey and see no hope
May we take time to walk away from what distracts us,
Take time to pause and be silent.
You were not there in the earthquake nor in the wind nor in the fire
But in the sheer silence;
It is there we meet you again.
May we go to the silence to restore our equilibrium –
To gain the strength to cast our net again as we realise
You have not done with us yet…
There is still hope.
St. George – The Palestinian patron saint of England
That St George was a Palestinian is often a surprise to people. So here is a prayer/meditation to use around this time to remind us of the lessons we learn from St. George.
He is known as ‘the healer’– we can be thinking of those involved in healing in our own communities and around the world in these difficult days.
This comment of the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir Ali is helpful. He pointed out in a letter to The Guardian some years back that “There is often a perpetuating of Edward Gibbon’s error of identifying the patron saint of England with the “grasping or violent” “George of Cappadocia” …… but the patron saint of England, is, rather, George of Lydda in Palestine. This Palestinian is known in the Eastern Church as the Great Martyr and is also the patron saint of Christians in Syria, India and other places in the East.”
So St.George is an international figure and a figure with a message and a spirituality which I hope will be reflected in this prayer.
A Prayer / meditation for St George’s Day
God, the distant memory of the martyr St George
Can still inspire and challenge us.
This saint from Palestine is still remembered across the Middle East –
As the Healer, and as “the Green One” who protects the environment –
He brings the faiths together
Because he is respected across the faiths,
So in England where he is our Patron Saint
This encourages us – especially in this time when we need healing –
To support one another,
To respect different viewpoints and faiths,
And to look after this wonderful world we have been given.
It reminds us to love humanity and love our world.
God, let the witness of a martyr
Who stands for the values of your community,
Against the powerful empire of domination,
Remind us of the journey we must take –
A journey showing compassion, mercy and justice to all
So that our world might be healed in these difficult times And brought back from the ways of violence
To the ways of wholeness.
May any ideas of excluding the other be removed
From our minds and lives,
As we realise that in you, giving God,
There is no scarcity of blessing.
We do not have to try and own you or define you –
You have already defined us
By making us in your image
And by showing us the example of your vulnerable love.
Song for Easter
Jesus of the Scars
If we have never sought, we seek you now;
Your eyes burn through the dark our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-marks on your brow,
We must have you, O Jesus of the scars.
The heavens frighten us, they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by your scars we know your grace
O Jesus of the scars we seek you now
O Jesus of the scars we seek you now
We must have sight of the thorn-marks on your brow
We must have you, O Jesus of the scars
The other gods were strong but you were weak;
They rode, but you did stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds but you alone.
music by Garth Hewitt
poem by Edward Shillito, written at the end of the First World War
Prayer for Easter
O God, whether in India, Greece or Bethlehem
Or anywhere else in our global village
Lead us through the wilderness of worry, despair,
Illness, sorrow and suffering
And lead our wounded world to the resurrection of hope.
May we all learn from this world wide virus
That we are all in this together.
So no more violence and war,
No more greed and selfishness –
It is time to support one another
And genuinely love our neighbour as ourself.
Garth tells the background to the song:
“‘Let Nothing Disturb You’ was inspired by some words of Teresa of Avila, also known as St Teresa of Jesus (1515 – 1582). She was a Prioress and Carmelite nun, a central figure in a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal.
And she wrote these words as a poem, translated here:
All things are passing
God alone never changes
Patience gains all things
If you have God
You will want for nothing
God alone suffices
These words were taken by musicians at Taizé and turned into a short four line song – suitable for times of worship, and the song is repeated again and again. Taizé music is beautiful and very suitable for Lent. I heard the Taizé song from friend and guitarist Dave Perry who played it to a group of us one evening – Dave was the guitarist on my new album My Name Is Palestine, which includes this song.
I liked this chorus, and thought that for a song on an album it needed a bit more progression so I wrote three other verses and then a chorus section. The words are picking up on the original theme of Teresa and also Taizé, where again the song is normally sung in Spanish so I end the song with the Spanish words “Nada te turbé”. Read more…
Garth Hewitt writes redemption songs
and then sings them without fear.
His voice comes through clearly,
challenging us by his witness to act for justice. His is a brave voice,
needed more than ever in a fearful world, and in a sometimes timid church.
Please God, it will help us
sing redemption songs of our own.
The Revd Lucy Winkett
Rector, St James’s Piccadilly
previous Chair of Trustees of Amos Trust