|Image by Jay Huang|
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
A MEDITATIVE VERSE
I am going to bring recovery and healing;
I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
Sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
- Alternate Lord's Prayer, found in A New Zealand Prayer Book
VERSE OF THE DAY
The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak justice.
|Image by Luca Sartoni|
Since Pentecost, we have been confronted by devastating news with regard to the cruel loss of life experienced in racialized communities. The discovery of the remains of two hundred and fifteen Indigenous children at a residential school site in Tk’emlups, B.C. has haunted us, even as we have known from the TRC report and Indigenous survivors that such graves exist. Today and yesterday, we have been reeling in response to the intentional murder of four people and the intentional harming of a boy — who are Muslim. These murders are an expression of extremism, the holding of extreme political or religious views. Extremism is nothing new: it has been a part of human experience since we were created and has come in diverse forms. In the eleventh century, Christians slaughtered Muslims and Jews in the crusades in Jerusalem, killing almost everyone who lived there. The rise of Nazism and the murder of six million Jewish people during the second world war of the twentieth century — is a familiar story to us. But it is also a familiar story to us in Canada. In January, 2017, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City became a place of violence when six worshippers were killed and nineteen injured in a shooting that took place while people were gathered for evening prayer. While these larger events galvanize our attention, it is important to remember that people in racialized communities experience actions of hatred or fear often. Their wounds carry a continuing legacy of pain and trauma. How do we confront our own internalized racism and fearful responses? Today’s music selection, called “The Named Angels”, was written by Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz. It is performed here by the musicians of the Shepherd School of Music inside an art installation called “Intersections” by Pakistani-American artist Anila Agha. The installation design reflects “geometric patterns and ornamentation found in Islamic art and mosques.” (Youtube notes.) The artists invite us into a space that re-imagines how we as diverse individuals can be present to each other in the intersections of our faith and spirituality, our culture and communities. To serve God is a surrender to God’s love living in another person. It is acting on a desire to give of oneself for someone else’s well-being. When we serve God we enter into the heart of someone's suffering and dwell alongside it. A neighbour or a friend may be in need of your loving contact today. When we embrace someone’s pain, we dismantle hate. We grow love. And we live in hope. How will you let your love be heard in the wake of the London killings? Is there a Muslim congregation or association that could use your support today?
We pray for those grieving Talat Afzaal, Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, and Yumnah Afzaal. And we pray for the full recovery of Fayez Afzaal.
|Image by Brian|
The next devotional day is Friday, June 11th.
LC† Holding the Cup is a project of Lutherans Connect, supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter. Lutherans Connect invites you to make a donation to the Ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". Devotions are always freely offered, however your donations help to support extended offerings throughout the year.
Thank you and peace be with you!