Note: Following my February 1, 2015, retirement, I entered, as I’ve written in this space previously, my “rehirement;” since December 20, 2015, being privileged to serve the good and gracious folk of Epiphany Episcopal Church, Laurens, SC, as their part-time Priest-in-Charge.
At the start of each month, we publish an e-newsletter, The Epiphany Star (well, by what other name would a missive from Epiphany Church be called?). Usually, my message pertains to the seasons of the church year or a coming event. For September, given the tremulous tenor of our times, I have been given different words.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As I survey the world around us, the words of Thomas Paine, who wrote at a time when the American Revolution seemed unsure, come to mind, which I paraphrase: These are the times that try (our) souls…
Though every historical age has its weight of woe, our time seems…feels to me particularly burdened.
Globally, we Americans are engaged in our longest war, in Afghanistan, with no sign of its end, and…
The terrorists’ malevolence, which, save for 9/11, not so long ago seemed still far beyond our shores hath drawn closer, indeed, hath come ashore…
Nationally, however you voted in our last presidential election and whatever your political sympathies, daily we are witnesses to the roiling, tempestuous waters of our federal government in which the Leviathan of rank factionalism swallows the fair seagoing spirit of bipartisanship, and…
We behold a renewed rise of cultural and racial turmoil that perhaps many of us, surely I, had thought, had hoped that we, as a nation, had resolved, and…
The storm with a benign name, Harvey, has unleashed catastrophic horror on Texas cities and towns, especially Houston, and damaging the home of our own dear Bill and Marilyn Ladd.
At times like these that try our souls, one thing we, each and all, can do is pray; lifting our minds and hearts, souls and spirits in petition and intercession to God.
Recently, during a Sunday announcement, I shared this 6-fold pattern upon which most of the Collects in our Book of Common Prayer are constructed:
- Our call or address to God
- Our citation of an attribute or act of God
- Our prayerful request
- Our anticipated result should God grant our prayer
- Our invocation of the Name of Jesus (or of the Trinity)
- Our “Amen”, meaning, “so be it”
I offer this prayer for our daily use (I also encourage you to write and pray your own):
O God of glory and grace, from your almighty hand all good gifts are given to your children and your creation: We pray you spread abroad your Spirit of solace and strength that we, empowered and emboldened, in all our living may do your will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.