Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on November 16, 2018

As of this writing on November 16, 2018, the death toll from California's Camp Fire has risen to 63 — making it the deadliest wildfire in California history — and the list of the missing contains 631 names. It is the worst of the fires currently ravaging California, but the Woolsey Fire in Malibu and nearby areas has burned nearly 100,000 acres and hundreds of houses; the Hill Fire in Ventura County, more than 4,500 acres.

Pictures of people and animals fleeing the fires are heartbreaking; the thought of those who couldn't get away is even more so. California Governor Jerry Brown observed that "we’re in a new abnormal, and things — things like this will be part of our future. And this won’t be the beginning. It’ll be things like this and worse."

His remarks are not some dire, apocalyptic pesssimism . . .

Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on October 29, 2018

Upon hearing the heartwrenching and horrifying news of the shooting assault on the Tree of Life Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we asked Rabbi Ted Falcon of the Interfaith Amigos for a response. He immediately wrote back to share his reflections with us.

And so we pray this news ...

Blessing always calls us to the immediacy of the present moment; it is an invitation to mindfulness. In the case of hearing terrible news, we are invited to share blessing in this form:

“Blessed are You,
Eternal One our God,
Universal Presence,
the True Judge.”

Something bringing pain and suffering has occurred that is outside of our control, and we are asked to be fully present to that pain with energies of blessing.

As the consistent rhetoric encouraging greater polarization and demonization of the “Other” has flooded our country and our world . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on October 11, 2018

Image credit: Hurricane Michael on October 9, 2018, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

As of this writing in October 2018, we're facing into the devastation of the third strongest storm ever to hit the United States: Hurricane Michael, with sustained winds of 155 mph and unusually low central pressure. At least two people are dead, thousands lack power, and we're only beginning to assess the ravages to homes and businesses.

Meanwhile, the Weather Channel reports "Waterlogged Carolinas Brace for Flash Flooding, Possible Widespread Power Outages" as Michael heads north into areas that have not yet begun to recover from September's Hurricane Florence, which brought storm surges and heavy coastal and inland flooding. And the Indonesian island of Sulawesi will be reeling for years after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on September 28 left more than 2,000 confirmed dead, with as many as 5,000 more still missing. And a year after Hurricane Maria, we are still asking whether Puerto Rico can recover.

If it isn't already obvious, we could keep adding . . .

Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on October 2, 2018

On Friday, September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia, triggering a tsunami with waves up to 10 feet high. Water toppled and swept away buildings in the coastal city of Palu, home to 350,000 people, on the island of Sulawesi.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has deployed a local team to the area and is conducting an assessment of medical and humanitarian needs in coordination with the Indonesian national response mechanism. The team is composed of medical, logistics, and water and sanitation specialists.

According to the official report of Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 29, 2018

What we do in emergency situations speaks volumes about who we are, as 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama's courage and quick reflexes show. Upon seeing a child dangling from a fifth-storey Paris apartment balcony last Saturday (May 26, 2018), he scaled the building Spiderman-style and deftly hoisted the four-year-old to safety. Gassama's strength and flexibility alone were astonishing, but it is his complete lack of hesitation to come to the child's aid that earned him a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. President Macron offered Gassama a gold medal for "courage and devotion," French citizenship, and a job as a firefighter.

“I ran. I crossed the street to save him,” Gassama, from Mali, told Macron. “When I started to climb, it gave me courage to keep climbing.” He says God helped him, and adds “Thank God I saved him.”

And so we pray this news ...

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 16, 2018

May 15, 2018 was the 70th anniversary of Yawm an-Nakba, which translates from Arabic as "Day of the Catastrophe." It commemorates the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland when the state of Israel was established during the 1948 Palestine war.

Seventy years later, Yawm an-Nakba has taken on new sorrow and significance after violence at the border fence between Gaza and Israel on Monday left 60 Palestinian protesters dead and doctors struggling to keep up with the tide of Palestinians suffering gunshot wounds. Tensions had been building for many days leading up to the official relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had a celebratory air in ghastly contrast with deadly events along the border.

Although the U.S. staunchly defended the actions of Israeli troops, international condemnation was strong and swift. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was "profoundly alarmed" by the killings. The International non-profit organization Doctors without Borders stated that the violence was "unacceptable and inhuman," and that "it is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time." Queen Rania of Jordan, a close U.S. ally, tweeted that it was "a dark and sad day in history, marked with more Palestinian sacrifices. When will the world's conscience mobilize to give Palestinians the rights so many of us take for granted? May God have mercy on those who lost their lives defending Jerusalem's proud Arab identity."

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 15, 2018

Visions for a more just and compassionate world can take decades to come to fruition. We now have the soul-stirring opportunity to be part of Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign, inaugurated in 1968, as it takes on new life in 2018. “We don’t need a commemoration, we need a reconsecration,” proclaims Reverend Dr. William Barber, a pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, an articulate and charismatic leader in the contemporary civil-rights movement. (You can learn more about Barber's role in the campaign, together with Reverend Liz Theoharis from New York's Union Theological Seminary, in the May 14th issue of The New Yorker.)

Started on Mother's Day 2018 and continuing 40 days until June 23 — the last day of the 1968 effort — the revived Poor People's Campaign calls people to protest policies that perpetuate poverty, systemic racism, war, and ecological devastation. Across the United States, concerned citizens grounded in an ethic of love are mobilizing others, engaging in civil disobedience, and using social media to spread the word.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on March 14, 2018

When a school shooting happens, there is usually one lone shooter. By contrast, the steady response to school shootings — recently given yet another boost of fervent energy by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — has been a chorus of many thousands, united in grief, concern, and outrage.

Today, March 14, 2018, marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and students all over the United States marched out of their schools to honor those who died. At the same time, activists have placed 7,000 empty pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn, an impossible-to-ignore symbol of the children lost to gun violence.

Moved by the powerful voices of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, we offer some of their words here as a prayer: not one of beseeching, but one of courage and commitment. These are young people who care passionately about the well-being and safety not only of their own community but of communities everywhere, and their words imbue us with strength.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on September 20, 2017

On Friday, September 15, 2017, more than 110 Buddhist teachers from more than a dozen countries united to call upon Buddhist leaders in Myanmar to help stop "systematic violence and abuse directed against hundreds of thousands of our Muslim sisters and brothers in Myanmar’s Rakhine state."

Letter: Lion's Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time has brought to our attention a letter from Buddhist teachers and practitioners who are "greatly disturbed by what many in the world see as slander and distortion of the Buddha’s teachings." We are moved by and grateful for their powerful message. They draw a stark contrast betweeen compassionate Buddhist teachings and the murder, beatings, starvation, rape, and now exile being inflicted upon the Rohingya, whose homes are being systematically torched behind them as they flee.

And so we pray this news ...

Posted by Mary Ann Brussat on September 8, 2017

In late August and early September 2017, we have seen an unprecedented series of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Harvey and Irma created massive damage when they made landfall, and as of this writing, Jose is following in their wake. We have prayed about the people, animals, plants, and even the buildings that have been affected. But what about the hurricanes themselves?

Dr. Jerry Epstein is a physician, a pioneer in mental imagery, and an authority on the Western spiritual tradition and its application to healing and therapeutics; his work is available at www.drjerryepstein.org. In The Encyclopedia of Mental Imagery, he compiled a collection of some 2,100 exercises from his teacher, the late Colette Aboulker-Muscat of Jerusalem, who understood that the images we have in our minds can be used to heal and transform our lives. He has contributed an imagery exercise for taming Hurricane Irma, which can be used with any hurricane or extreme weather event.

And so we pray this news . . .

RSS

About This Blog

The daily news summons us to prayer. The people, situations, and events of our times call out for our compassion and God's healing presence. In this blog we will pray in a variety of forms as we lift up the needs of the world. We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. More