Friday, May 18, 2012

Grace: Heartily Unto the Lord

RantWoman hereby submits her offering for the Reflection Paper at the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference.
Grace, Heartily Unto the Lord

2 Corinthians 9:8: There are no limits to the grace of God, who will make sure you will always have enough of everything and even a surplus for good works.

“My mind too much tossed by a variety of interests and duties … it is a little like being in the whirlwind and in the storm; may I not be hurt in it,   … (but) enabled quietly to perform that which ought to be done; and may it all be done… heartily unto the Lord, and through the assistance of His grace….” Elizabeth Gurney Fry,

Dear Patriarch Kirill, Patriarch of all Russia, Happy Easter. For more information about what else I wrote of movements of God and concern for real democracy everywhere, please click below. WARNING: This post contains the name of an all-women punk band from Russia. The band’s name is in English and the English includes a word some women fling around with pride and others rate as a common vulgarity. Because of a protest performance by the band in February at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the Patriarch has been uttering this word multiple times in press conferences. I admit to possibly unseemly delight. Readers are advised of the vulgarity issue and have the option to click or not to click.

The short version: all-female punk band stages impromptu performance in cathedral. Performance features a bunch of punck jumping around and shrieking with one chorus of vulgarities and one of Church Slavonic style delivery by prostrating singer: “Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, Please Drive away Putin.” Anyone who has been watching the “please God, no. Please God, no, not that one either” parade of aspirants to the presidency in the US can probably relate.

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord and through the assistance of his grace:

Dear Friends in my spiritual sharing group,

The poem “They have threatened us with resurrection” by Guatemalan poet  Julia Esquivel, including whirlwind and not sleeping because of both memories and forces deep inside, moved me deeply

In Spanish and worth it if you can because the rythms are different:

Example query: "threat" and "resurrection" are not usually words I think of together. What rises for you from the juxtaposition?

One Friend, heartily unto the Lord, paraphrasing slightly: the resurrection calls all of us. We SHOULD find it frightening to be called to be like Christ with eternal life available.

Another Friend, heartily unto the Lord, paraphrasing slightly: I didn’t get a darn thing out of this poem but what about Night of the Living Dead and endless cycles of violence?”

To myself, heartily unto the Lord, “YES! I knew this was going to be a good group. I KNEW this would be a good poem. But I was just thinking of memory. Could I forget? How I would want to. Could I forget?  How? Would I want to?”

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord, for Valentine’s day with bright read acrylic baseball socks—which my own mother tried to convince me contain cotton:

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord and through the assistance of his Grace:

I received the following draft State of the Meeting report proposed by the bedbugs who live in our Meetinghouse:

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord, this time not drafted by bedbugs:

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord, as approved by Business Meeting:

“twas Grace that tought my heart to fear and Grace my fears relieved. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see….” Ummmm, wait a second: 

Faith healing with stalker vibe overlaid

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord, through the assistance of his Grace,

Faith healing with cigarette smoke at a bus stop

May it all be done heartily unto the Lord, through the assistance of his grace, in the voice of a wee child:

1 Peter 4:10: As generous distributors of God’s manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure you have received.

So, um, God, I seem to be overachieving about something or other but I am not so sure “manifold grace” is what first comes to mind. Could you maybe at least make some suggestions about the “in service to one another” part?

Oh Wait, God of Grace and God of Glory!

This hymn is a prayer -- a prayer for God to bestow power upon the church -- and wisdom -- and courage "for the facing of this hour."  The hour that they were facing at that time was the Great Depression -- an economic disaster that drained the nation of life and hope.  "For the facing of this hour," There is never a time when we do not need God's help "for the facing of this hour."

"Save us from weak resignation" is an important part of the prayer.  "Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore."  We are always tempted to believe that the evils that we face far outstrip our resources to deal with them -- tempted to retreat into a safe place and wait for the storm to blow over -- but evil unopposed doesn't blow over.  It takes the sacrifices of dedicated men and women to build a better world.

"Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour."  That was a good prayer when Fosdick first wrote this hymn in 1930.  It is a good prayer today.

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