Dying for Justice
WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE
May 27, 2012
Dying for Justice
For an all-text version, click here.
THIS YEAR'S THEME: The Year of the Lord
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: What does the Lord require? Justice.
Open your Bible
Light a candle
From the Bible:
John 14:1, 16-31
1: "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.
16: And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17: even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. 18: I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19: Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20: In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21: He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." 22: Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23: Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24: He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. 25: These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. 26: But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28: You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29: And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. 30: I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31: but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence."
"He who loves his country and from good will benefits it, in the other life loves the Lord's kingdom; for there the Lord's kingdom is his country."*
* AC 6821.
Dying for Justice
We have explored a number of ways that we can “do justice” for the Lord this month.
On this Memorial Day week-end, it seems fitting to consider the many people who have given their lives in a fight for justice.
“Decoration Day” seems to have grown up in many towns around the U.S. after the Civil War by many women’s groups in the south who decorated the graves of men who died in the war. It was first officially observed on May 30, 1868, with honor to the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. After World War I, it became a time to honor soldiers of all wars.
In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.
To help revive the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."
On Memorial Day, of course, we honor the many throughout history that have gone to war for our country to fight for some aspect of justice to help preserve our freedoms.
Yet, the issue is far more complicated than that. Swedenborg tells us:
“Wars which have as an end the protection of our country and our Church are not contrary to charity; the end for which they are waged declares whether there is charity in them or not." (T. C. R. 407.)
How does one determine whether a particular war has a just cause? Many have become conscientious objectors to particular wars and have asked to serve to some other way. Some Swedenborgians have attained this status as a result of their understanding of his writings.
Other issues of justice in war concern how we treat our soldiers and our veterans. Are we attending to their physical and emotional needs?
One of our ministers, Rev. Susan Turley, has raised important questions about how we are addressing the mental health needs of our troops.
Rev. Susan Turley is a chaplain at the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital where she ministers to veterans. Turley became a military mom in despair herself when her son died in Iraq in 2006.
Her only child, Army Pfc. Keith Moore, committed suicide just two months after deploying to Iraq. The Army now calculates that for the first time since the Vietnam War, its rate of suicide exceeds that of the general population.
Turley’s work with veterans helps her understand what her son went through, but the young men she meets often remind her of Keith. She hopes telling her son’s story will help raise awareness about the growing problem of military suicide. Keith seemed to be depressed about their mission and his role. He gave signals of being distressed. If just one person had responded to him, Rev. Turley points out, his life could have been saved. Some days are very hard for her to be at work.
She turns to her Swedenborgian faith to cope with the loss. She is committed to preventing suicide among other military, and tells her story frequently. The military is starting to have more material and training available on suicide prevention.
She does not feel that the Iraq war was a worthy cause to die for. She feels Keith’s death can only have redeeming qualities by her responding to it in a way that prevents other suicides. She believes in the afterlife, and that she maintains a relationship with him now – as her angel.
She finds way to bring good out of the tragedy by working to change the way the military works with mental health and for us all to understand the high rates of suicide among soldiers – during and after service.
Perhaps “justice” on Memorial Day is not so much about whether the cause of a particular war was just, but how we use tragedy to make our world more attuned to justice issues on all levels.
Here is an account of her journey.
You can order her DVD here:
At 3 PM local time on Memorial Day, observe a moment of silence for all of those who have died and their friends and family. Pray that we all will work for deeper justice within our military and our society.
Inspiration & Prayer for 5/27/12:
Memorial Day is a Federal National Holiday devoted to honoring the sacrifice of our service men and women who died in battle.
Today we honor them with flowers, flags and prayers. Some celebrate this day with picnics and fireworks.....How do you
Celebrate this day?
War is a terrible event that has impacted all of us around the globe with its violence and sacrifice of fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. How I am going to celebrate this day is to honor my own family and friends with prayers for Peace.
I honor all those who sacrificed themselves so I could have the privilege and freedom to celebrate as I wish. Will you join me in my prayers?
"Beloved Father of us all, who dwells within our hearts, we come to you with sad eyes and prayers to care for our fallen ones who died in war protecting our right to worship you as we choose, dissent as we choose, and to peruse life as we will. In honor of them we ask for peace for our planet, peace in our neighborhoods and peace in our homes.
We ask that you change our hearts, give us the ability to truly love others, and give mercy to all. Thank you for your Grace this day, thy will be done. AMEN."
With Love and Prayers,
Close the Bible
Go in peace, working for the Lord's justice.
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