There are days where the news sucks my breath away. That happened yesterday when the news came out of the Yazidi girls, burned alive for refusing to become sex slaves. I don't even have words for this horrifying event. Horrible doesn't seem strong enough. What can I do for them when I am so far away?
There is a website/organization, yazda.org, that has information. I had no idea that Yazidi was a religion. Things to learn about every day. Wikipedia describes it:
The Yazidis are monotheists, believing in God as creator of the world, which he has placed under the care of seven holy beings or angels, the chief of whom is Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. The Peacock Angel, as world-ruler, causes both good and bad to befall individuals, and this ambivalent character is reflected in myths of his own temporary fall from God's favour, before his remorseful tears extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he was reconciled with God.
Now, the Yazidi are essentially experiencing genocide. It boggles the mind. The only thing I can say in moments like these, when my breath is sucked away, is to remember the practices that bring me life--hiking, sitting on the beach, poetry, music, watching escapist television, reading, ritual, family & friends, or silence. Sink into those things for sustenance.
Today's practice is inspired by music from Arvo Pärt, a poem from Pablo Neruda, and sacred wisdom from Gilda Radner, along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. The photo is from Matt Hobbs. It is of an art installation by Anish Kapoor, titled Marsyas. It is reported that it served as the inspiration for Pärt's Lamentate. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out).
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--sigh!
Lamentate by Arvo Pärt
*just 3 movements
Slow Lament, Pablo Neruda
Into the night of the heart
your name drops slowly
and moves in silence and falls
and breaks and spreads its water.
Something wishes for its slight harm
and its infinite and short esteem,
like the step of a lost one
Suddenly, suddenly listened to
and spread in the heart
with sad insistence and increase
like a cold autumnal dream.
The thick wheel of the earth,
its tire moist with oblivion,
spins, cutting time
into inaccessible halves.
Its hard goblets cover your heart
spilt upon the cold earth
with its poor blue sparks
flying in the voice of the rain.
Neruda, Pablo. The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (p. 35). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
Jewish Daily Reading
Christian Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading
Buddhist Daily Reading
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
― Gilda Radner
I will be taking the weekly prayer from the World Council of Churches rather than writing a new prayer daily. At this point, we know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. I know it is not de rigeur to have repetitive content, but I believe that these prayers deserve to be repeated.
Focus countries: Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
Those around the world who worked for an end to apartheid and who continue to strive against racism in all its forms.
Nelson Mandela, a beacon of hope, a leader who brought his people to freedom, and then gave up power as a model of democracy.
The prophet Ntsikana, whose witness led to the spread of faith among the Xhosa people in South Africa during the early nineteenth century. He wrote music for his people and he preached peace.
Those who care for children who have been orphaned by the HIV and AIDS crisis.
Those who raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and provide services for those living with this disease.
Those who dare to bring the issues of sexuality into the churches and society in order to prevent people from dying.
Songs which proclaim justice, freedom, and hope.
Overtone singing, the ability to sing two notes at the same time, and the uhadi, a musical bow used to accompany songs.
Ecumenical efforts in these countries as they seek to find unity and face political, social, and cultural challenges with a united voice of faith and witness.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
Stability and justice in the government, that all may receive fair treatment.
Those who lead subsistence lives, who continue to live in substandard housing, are unemployed, who do not have access to safe water or sanitation, who suffer from malnutrition and the effects of drought.
A fair distribution of wealth from natural resources so that it contributes to the general well-being, not just that of foreigners.
Continued healing and rebuilding of these nations that have been torn apart on the basis of race.
Land and educational reform, economic justice, and access to medical care for people of all colours and ethnicities.
Women and children who continue to bear the brunt of poverty and are vulnerable to domestic violence.
Young girls who have been raped in the mistaken belief that this is a cure for AIDS.
Parents who see their children die of disease and malnutrition, and children who see their parents die of AIDS.
For those who suffer, are homeless, or are sick
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.