Happy 7th Day of Christmas!
Pray for peace! Work for peace! Live in peace!
Happy 6th Day of Christmas!
Happy 5th Day of Christmas!
Today the Church also remembers St. Thomas Beckett. Born in AD 1118, Thomas eventually became the Archbishop of Canterbury. In AD 1170, Thomas was brutally murdered after he confronted the king for his seeking to exert power over the life of the Church.
“Will someone not rid me of this meddlesome priest”, said the king. Four knights burst into the cathedral at night, and murdered him at the high altar.
For those who stand up to power, who refuse to be bullied, who work for liberty in conscience, and freedom of religion, St. Thomas Beckett, pray for us.
Do not fear the Herods of this world…
“But every Herod dies, and comes alone
To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.”
Happy 4th Day of Christmas!
Today the Church also remembers the Holy Innocents, that otherwise nameless and unremembered group of children who were brutally murdered by a power mad king in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus and so eliminate a possible threat to his continued dominion.
How often do we accept when we are told by those holding the reins of power that “collateral damage” is acceptable or inevitable, or do we turn a blind eye towards the suffering of children, when inflicted in the name of maintaining privilege, luxury, access to cheap goods, or dominion?
How long until we see every human person as our own child, our own most beloved, for whom we have the duty of care? How long until we refuse to serve any power, system, economy, or person that reduces anyone into a commodity, a problem to be eliminated, an alien, or as lacking the same human dignity that we demand for ourselves?
…until the day that we are ourselves transformed by the love of God, and the world is renewed…
For the dawning of that day, please, pray.
Pray for peace. Work for peace. Live in peace.
Happy 3rd Day of Christmas!
Today the Church also remembers John, the “beloved disciple”, who as a young man was one of the early disciples of Jesus. Of all the male apostles, John is the only one who did not run away when Jesus was arrested and crucified. He stood with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of the the cross, and there Jesus commended the duty of care for his mother to him. John cared for Mary until her death many years later.
He lived to old age, even though he faced exile, deprivation, and torture because of his faith in Jesus. He wrote many of the works that are part of the Christian holy scriptures, perhaps most famously the words that begin with “God so loved the world…” and “God is love”.
In gratitude we remember John, faithful witness of Jesus and his astonishing revelation that the nature of God is love.
On this second day of Christmas the Church remembers St. Stephen, a deacon of the early Church of Jerusalem, who was the first Christian martyr, murdered for being a known disciple of Jesus.
It seems an odd thing for the Church to honor a victim of such a horrible death on the day after it celebrates the birth of the Holy Child. It asks us to consider our religion, ask what place and importance it has in our lives, and begs the question if our lives are any different, any more true, because we follow Jesus.
This is the prayer for the feast of St. Stephen:
We give thee thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand; where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Here’s a lovely meditation for this second day of Christmas: