Prayer and Help needed for Burundi

January 19, 2007

Anglican appeal: Famine and floods in Burundi a national crisis

Source: Anglican Communion News Service
ACNS 4238 | BURUNDI | 19 JANUARY 2007

The Government of Burundi has declared the situation in the country a national disaster and called for national and international assistance to deal with the crisis.

After a period of poor rains in September when maize and beans are normally planted, the rains arrived but have been prolonged and heavy with severe thunder storms.

The rains have caused much damage throughout the country. Houses and other buildings, such as schools and churches, have been destroyed. Bridges and parts of roads have been damaged disrupting travel and communication. Crops have been washed away or destroyed by flooding. For example, in one small district alone it is estimated that over 1000 homes have been destroyed, and many acres of crops have been swept away by floodwaters.

There are reports of people having died and school children unable to go to school because of hunger. Incidents of diseases such as cholera along with severe cases of malnutrition and other related diseases are increasingly stretching hospitals and medical resources to their limits. The conditions particularly impact the most vulnerable such as orphans, widows, and those already suffering from HIV and AIDS. In some places it is said that food stocks have run out and the local population are depending on food being brought in from Rwanda and Tanzania. The World Food Programme which recently visited two northern provinces to assess the situation found that many people were already surviving on one meal a day.

Read it all at ACNS — including details of how to support a financial appeal

And please ramp up the prayer for Abp. Ntahoturi and the entire Province of Burundi!

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UPDATE: A second ACNS article providing new details of the most recent flooding is here.


From the blog comments: A reader asks a great question

January 19, 2007

Obviously Lent & Beyond is not and has never been a blog where we expect a lot of discussion in the comments, but this morning we’ve got a reader who has asked a great and important question.

He wonders about the phrase “comfortable gospel” in the 1928 BCP prayer for meetings that we have been featuring as part of the Primates prayer campaign:

so to direct, sanctify, and govern them in their work, by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, that the comfortable Gospel of Christ may be truly preached, truly received, and truly followed, in all places, to the breaking down the kingdom of sin, Satan, and death;

How would you all answer? Weigh in in the comments on that post, and then I will probably bring some of the discussion up to the top level of the blog over the weekend.


A Prayer for Renewal and Unity in the Church

January 19, 2007

I’ve discovered there are advantages to monitoring one’s site meter and the referral logs (what words people are entering in search queries that lead them to this blog). We’ve now been running this blog for almost 3 years and have over 3000 entries. I’ve forgotten A LOT of what’s posted! Sometimes the referrals lead me to fantastic posts I’ve forgotten all about!

That was the case again this morning. A referral on “we pray for a renewing” led me to this hymn / prayer which I posted last summer, funnily enough with the exhortation to “keep it handy” — obiously I didn’t heed my own words well! Anyway, it’s exceedingly appropriate in this week of prayer for Christian unity, and in praying for the Anglican Communion in the lead up to the Primates meeting.

***

Update: research on Google reveals that the tune used for this hymn is Londonderry air

Lord of the church, we pray for our renewing:
Christ over all, our undivided aim;
Fire of the Spirit, burn for our enduing,
Wind of the Spirit, fan the living flame!
We turn to Christ amid our fear and failing,
The will that lacks the courage to be free,
The weary labours, all but unavailing,
To bring us nearer what a church should be.

Lord of the church, we seek a Father’s blessing,
A true repentence and a faith restored,
A swift obedience and a new possessing,
Filled with the Holy Spirit of the Lord!
We turn to Christ from all our restless striving,
Unnumbered voices with a single prayer–
The living water for our souls’ reviving,
In Christ to live and love and serve and care.

Lord of the church, we long for our uniting,
True to one calling, by one vision stirred;
One cross proclaiming and one creed reciting,
One in the truth of Jesus and his word!
So lead us on till toil and trouble ended,
One church triumphant one new song shall sing
To praise his glory, risen and ascended,
Christ over all, the everlasting King!

Timothy Dudley Smith
(a British hymnwriter)


Primates prayer day 12–Abp. Fidèle Diropka of Congo

January 19, 2007

Mark 4:38-39
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

When I was drafting the prayer profile for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I was struck by a certain parallel–this nation has the highest frequency of thunderstorms on Earth, and the ethnic strife and civil war has been the bloodiest in history since World War II. Natural tumult of the atmosphere and spiritual tumult on the earth.

This land is also blessed with great mineral reserves and potential wealth. Let us pray for a mining of great spiritual wealth as well as mineral wealth.

O God, rich in mercy, we thank you for the abundant rainfall on the Congo. May there be an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit as well.
O God, rich in mercy, we thank You for the mighty Congo River flowing through this nation. May a mighty river of forgiveness flow through this land.
O God, rich in mercy, we thank You for the vast rain forest, teeming with life. May Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo shelter life In Christ Jesus, indeed eternal life. Amen.
Romans 6:21-23

Divine Physician,
Give Your servant Fidèle the balm of understanding You and knowing that You are the Lord of lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness. Heal his wounds, Lord, for they are many. Amen.
Jeremiah 8:21-22, 9:24


A great prayer for Christian Unity

January 19, 2007

Roman Catholic blogger extraordinaire Amy Welborn (Open Book) has had several Anglican posts of late, meaning I’ve been reading the comments on her blog more than I usually do.

One commenter offered an awesome prayer for Christian unity:

Lord send forth your Holy Spirit, to convict us of our pride and party spirit, our triumphalism. May Your Holy Spirit maintain us in the Truth, but may the same Holy Spirit maintain us in Agape-love. Pour out into the hearts of all the baptized a burning desire to be one-not in any false irenic, quick solution, glossing over real differences, but real, true and abiding communion.

Amen.


Epiphany: the Forgotten Season

January 19, 2007

I was looking for a collect online yesterday on the Liturgies.Net website, and I came across this short meditation on the season of Epiphany. I found it really helpful to think about the bigger picture in terms of the themes of the lectionary readings in the season — something it’s all too easy to forget about… and of course the question “Who do you say that I am” is one that has incredible urgency in our current Anglican struggles!

Epiphany: Notes on a forgotten season.

The Season of Epiphany seems to have almost disappeared from Western Christendom. It used to be a season; now it is only a single day. Our Roman Catholic brethren in the United States celebrate only the DAY of Epiphany. And they don’t even celebrate it on January 6th: it’s been moved to the Second Sunday after Christmas, and the next Sunday is the Baptism of the Lord. The whole thing from December 25th to The Baptism of the Lord is just “”The Days of Christmas.”

And after the Baptism of the Lord, it’s just called “Ordinary Time” until Lent. Not “Epiphany.” Similarly, the Season of Pentecost has also become “Ordinary Time.”

A great deal is lost when you do this. Epiphany and Pentecost observed as whole seasons are beautifully analogous to the two classic types of sacred life: Active and Contemplative. Whereas Pentecost – the Season – is about actively living out our faith by being the church in the world, Epiphany – the Season – is given over to the contemplation of who Jesus IS.

The word “Epiphany,” of course, means “Manifestation,” and the season is given over to focusing on many Scriptural revelations of the nature of Christ. As it follows Christmas, it almost seems as though the liturgy is saying, “Ok – so now we have this baby. So who IS he?” And the whole rest of the season is given over to answering that very profound question.

It starts with the first Manifestation to the Gentiles – the wise men from the East who came, bringing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that show that this child is King, God, and Sacrifice. Then it moves on to His baptism where the Spirit descends and the voice of the Father calls Him the Beloved Son. Then, in one out of the three liturgical years (it used to be in all three) the week following recounts his first miracle – Cana – that miraculous foreshadowing of the water and blood which flowed from His side. Then, the encounter of Paul on the road to Damascus. The Confession of Peter, where the Christ’s identity is stated plainly. And the climax, of course, is the Presentation in the Temple, where we all can say – just like Simeon – that our eyes have seen the Savior. In this context, I think the recent practice of commemorating the Transfiguration on the last Sunday of Epiphany is a good one. The Transfiguration is not only perhaps the most complete Manifestation of Christ before the resurrection, but a fitting prelude to Lent, just as in the Gospels it is the event that immediately precedes Jesus turning His face toward Jerusalem and taking the road to crucifixion.

And the readings of the other Sundays also tend to be miracle stories: Jesus healing lepers, the blind, the demon-possessed; calming the storm; walking on the surface of the sea.

Although some have changed the name of the Season, the readings have for the most part not changed. But by calling it “ordinary time,” the character of the season receives scant attention. Because of that, many Christians – even those who follow a church calendar – are probably unaware that the period between Christmas and Lent possesses a unified theme. Many are unaware that it is a time to examine, to think about, and to answer the most fundamental question of our faith:

“Who do you say that I am?”

– Carl Fortunato

Source: Liturgies.Net


Isaiah 45:25-45

January 19, 2007

“Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22)

LORD, we look to you for salvation. Please help us be steady in you.

“I have sworn by myself; the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.” (Isaiah 45:23)

Holy Spirit, let your church confess with our words and deeds that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Help us bow the knee of our hearts as well as giving outward submission to him.

“He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against him.'” (Isaiah 45:24)

Jesus, much of the Episcopal Church is incensed against you because you will not dance to their tune; have mercy on us and restore us with your righteousness and strength.

“‘In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.'” (Isaiah 45:25)

Father, please bring us and all your faithful people to the riches of your glory. Help us by your Holy Spirit to seek after that crown of righteousness that will never tarnish or fade away. Thank you.

Albany Intercessor


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