Friday – July 12, 2019
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is
to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are
just as important as our answers.”
― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
A Word of Hope
I just watched, for the second time, Won’t You be my Neighbor? It’s the biography of Fred Rogers and is a movie worthy of multiple viewings in our turbulent world. Check it out!
I was in my late ‘20’s when I met Fred Rogers at a Puppeteer Convention. He got into a conversation with me about my animation work on Sesame Street and asked me why an animator was at a puppeteer convention. I told him I loved both puppets and animation. He told me, “You know, actually I’m more of a storyteller than a puppeteer. I precociously replied, “I know. I’ve seen your work.” I then saw Mr. Rogers explode into a belly laugh the likes of which we would never see on his gentle PBS show.
I was honored to talk with him several times throughout that week, especially after he learned about our mutual interest in theology; it turned out very progressive theology. He opened the door for me on a world of interpretations I never knew existed. I was enthralled with the wisdom of the man as well as his generosity in spending time talking to an anonymous kid like me!
We see a lot of quotes from Fred Rogers these days as memes in the social media and I am so glad of that. Wisdom the likes of his never dies and every time I read one, I think, “My friend said that.” Millions of others of us who grew up with him think the same thing. He was everybody’s friend. Often, after any disaster, natural or otherwise, we will see this quote from our friend:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Every time I am horrified by a news report about what we are capable of doing to each other, that’s what I’ve been doing; looking for the helpers, and it fills my heart with joy to see that there are millions more of them than the same list of haters attempting to spread their usual venom. They can’t begin to realize that Jesus already has given us the antidote to their toxic actions and Fred Rogers is still our helper, interpreting Christ for yet another generation.
One more thought from Mr. Rogers, in the form of a prayer:
Help us to remember: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Thursday – July 11, 2019
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
Word of Hope
I love my church. I have been attending the Cathedral of Hope since early in 2008. In my time at COH, I have witnessed the multitude of people who perform various ministries within (and outside of) the church. This is one of the things I find so appealing about COH. I was raised in the Catholic Church. In my personal experience, members of my Catholic Church were not encouraged to become ministers of the church. There was not much talk about church members actually being the church. We occasionally gave money for people in far-away places that were hungry and needy. The experience at COH is so very different than that.
From the first contact with COH, people are encouraged to seek out a ministry that appeals to them, and even to suggest a new ministry if they do not find the right fit. I love singing in the Sanctuary Choir, and I love writing a new devotion each month. My very favorite ministry is The Walk, a three day spiritual retreat which helps participants to experience God’s grace as they grow in their relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
I tried the prison ministry, but that was not a good fit for me. I admire the people who continue to write cards and letters each month to people who are in prison. I served at the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope once or twice, and found that this was also not a good fit for me, but I do support this ministry and Pack the Pantry with my gifts. These ministries are life changing for some of the participants, and I am proud to be a member of the church that performs these ministries. It takes all of us to make the Cathedral of Hope what it is- a place of extravagant welcome. It’s an exciting environment each time I enter the doors; there are always people actively attending to their various ministries
July 11th is “Cheer up the lonely” day. This is a great reminder to reach out to someone who might be feeling cut off from everyone else. Do you know someone who is sick, disabled, or depressed? Make it a priority to reach out to them. They will be thrilled to hear from you!
Loving God, thank You for leading me to the Cathedral of Hope. I have learned so much from the other church members here about how to serve You. I want my actions to be pleasing to You, and I want to show others the way to become part of the church alive.
Cathedral of Hope Member
Wednesday – July 10, 2019
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
A Word of Hope
Sometimes it is all too easy to see the work of the enemy. It feels like being caught in the rain without an umbrella even though you packed one. Sometimes Lord, I just want to give up. I feel the urge to quit, creeping up on me with each temptation Satan brings. As soon as I say, “I’ve had enough,” it is like the ground beneath me starts to tremor and all hopes of peace and balance are lost.
The Sprit answers, “Here I am, I never left. I had to bring you back to me. Without realizing it you got tied up in the cares of the world. If I let you have your way you’d be paying a far greater price. It is out of love that I allow you to suffer.”
I forget who said, “God takes you to rock bottom to discover God still reigns over the bottom.” Trials bring us closer to God because a weary heart makes a greater demand on God. I know that the good I do is not in vain; therefore, though You slay me, yet will I praise You. Even if my body breaks my heart will sing a song of thanksgiving. And if tears shall flow like streams, I shall lift up my voice and cry out to You for help. No devil, thorn in the flesh, or root of bitterness will deceive me for I know who my God is.
He is my strength and my defense. She is my Mother. Christ is my Brother. My Lord comforts me when my wounds have become far too many to number. My God is Love, and although there is too much love for me ever to be able to comprehend, I will spend eternity learning Her ways.
I have tried not giving up. I have tried not getting angry or bitter. Yet, I fail time after time. Allow me to be faithful at the bottom so that when I meet You, I will have no regrets. Help me to remember that not everything is the devil; sometimes, it’s just life. Jesus, in Your precious name I pray, Amen.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Tuesday – July 9, 2019
When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travelling companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theatre. Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ But when the town clerk had quietened the crowd, he said, ‘Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither temple-robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.’ When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly. Acts 19.28-41
Word of Hope
One of the great joys of being part of a Progressive congregation is that spiritual growth is not only allowed, but encouraged. In the passage above we see the crowd sticking to their beliefs, “Artemis is great”. And interestingly, the Greeks believed the goddess Artemis was, for the most part, a defender of women! Not only that, but the town clerk, the local government representative, quiets the crowd who are attacking the Christians. Local officials even urge Paul to stay away for his own safety!
I am not saying that the freedoms of religion and speech as we understand them were at play. The government of Ephesus was no doubt a religious based one. The fact that there are laws in place dealing with blasphemy shows this. But clearly they were not going to allow religion to be the cause of the peace being broken. There is a way to handle this and the actions of the Ephesians are potentially illegal too. There is not cause too justify the commotion.
What then can we learn from this? Even without official religious laws, there are better ways than riots, angry shouting, and creating fear to deal with differences. This does not mean no gatherings. It does not mean no expression of your thoughts. It means being civilized.
Too often in our time we cause commotion without civility. We need to learn from this passage, from St. Francis, from Gandhi, from Martin Luther King Jr., from Nelson Mandela, Thich Nhat Hanh, and of course Jesus, that anger only inflames anger, hate only creates hate, and that peace begets peace. Instead of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, what if we say a handshake for a handshake, a hug for a hug, a kiss for a kiss?
God of peace and love, teach me to love, accept, and to grow in faith, understanding, and civility. Let me hear others and let my actions speak Your love.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
Monday – July 8, 2019
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. Psalm 6.9
Word of Hope
July 4th we celebrated Independence Day. The true meaning of independence builds on the previous “holidays” we have commemorated- Memorial Day and D-Day! Never before has the full impact of the high price paid for my freedom been so obvious as this year.
Over a year ago the opportunity was announced for the UT Alumni Band to participate as the official band for the commemoration of the 75th D-Day remembrances in Normandy France. It was a perfect opportunity for our family. Barb’s Dad was one of the pilots involved in the invasion of Utah Beach. It was a perfect way to honor the memory of his service and all the thousands of soldiers from America and the Allied Nations who purchased our freedom on the beaches of Normandy France. We immediately signed up and started paying for the trip. Barb’s sister and one of our best friends signed on as well.
It soon dawned on me that my high school and college history courses left me with little more than an awareness that D-Day was the event that began the process of defeating the German occupation of Europe. If we were going to actually be on that hallowed ground, we needed to know the real details of the magnitude of that endeavor and how it happened and what was involved.
A trip to the World War II Museum in New Orleans gave us a vision of what went into the D-Day attack. We spent an entire day seeing pictures and visual depictions and listening to actual recordings of Eisenhower and others involved in the decision of when to start this huge process.
But seeing that and watching the movies and hearing the numbers of people involved and those who lost their lives, nothing prepares you to actually see the cemeteries! Utah Beach Cemetary has total burials of 9,388. Brittany American Cemetery is the final resting place for 4,405 of our war dead.
Hearing the UT Alumni Band play “Hymn to the Fallen” and the US and France national anthems was beyond touching on these hallowed grounds! Other bands participated as well. Visiting the graves and looking for Texans was touching. I brought poppies to place on some graves.
The enthusiasm of the French people was amazing. At St. Mere Eglise the square was totally filled with grateful French who acknowledged the part the US had in the liberation of their town 75 years ago. Seeing that beautiful burnt orange group of 280 UT Alumni Band participants come down the street for the parade was such a wonderful experience.
All 550 of us involved in this trip (and many of our Facebook friends) have a much better understanding of the cost and the success of the original D-Day.
So I hope you feel grateful for your freedom as you enjoy the rest of your Summer.
God of amazing freedom and liberty, we thank you for all those who fought and died for our freedom over the years. We thank you for our freedom to worship you in our own way, as we allow our fellow citizens that same right.
Cathedral of Hope Volunteer
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)