Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Voice is Heard in Ramah

When I was in Indianapolis this summer, I had the privilege of meeting Ian Douglas, the Bishop of Connecticut.  I have been thinking of Bishop Ian a great deal over the past 36 hours as he, his suffragans, his clergy and his diocese respond to the act of terror which occured yesterday.

Ian has been posting regular updates, including the most recent I've seen, here.

He mentions the messages of support and the assurances of prayer that he has received from around the world.

The Diocese of Connecticut has been blessed by sisters and brothers in Christ across The Episcopal Church and from around the Anglican Communion who are holding us all in their hearts and prayers. We have heard from colleagues in almost every province of The Episcopal Church and from around the Anglican Communion. We are being remembered in prayer and in specific worship services in churches as far away as: Australia, Canada, Congo, Dubai, England, Guyana, Myanmar, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, and others. Never before have we felt the importance and efficacy of our common bonds in the Anglican Communion than we do now in this time of need and in the prayers received.

Bishop Ian's diocese is the oldest Anglican bishopric outside the British Isles.  In 1784, the Bishop of Aberdeen and two other Scottish bishops consecrated Bishop Ian's predecessor, Samuel Seabury, establishing an enduring link between the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the Episcopal Church in the United States.  Today, there is a formal Companion Diocese relationship between the Diocese of Connecticut and the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney.  The following prayer was written by the present Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Robert Gillies, in response to the events of yesterday.

Sustaining and redeeming God, 
In sadness and in the tragedy of awful loss, we offer before you those young lives lost as a consequence of human violence this past week. 
We raise in the distress of this time the families of whose children are no longer to share life and joy with them. 
We mourn those other families also fractured by the needless killings of that day. 
As Jesus first came to his people and lives of the young and innocent were lost in the cruelty of one individual upon others, so now 2000 years on we stand alongside those whose similar grief is beyond our imagining. 
Holy and loving God bring all consolation that can be brought to those most in need of your presence today, and never cease to make your presence real in this their hour of need.
To you we voice this prayer, Amen.

Bishop Robert's prayer makes reference to the now often forgotten story of the Holy Innocents as related in Matthew 2: 16 - 18.  Herod, terrified at the prospect of a new King in Israel, orders an act of mass murder and state terrorism.  This aria relates to the the scriptural account:
A voice is heard in Ramah ... Rachel, weeping for her children.  She refuses to be comforted because they are no more.
The selection does not speak of hope, for the hope which Jesus brings is not yet known.  We pray that the Rachels of Newtown may know a greater and more immediate comfort.


1 comment:

SCG said...

I had thought of the Holy Innocents when I was reading through a friend's sermon and she kept referencing "innocent children." I hope that this horrific act will finally be the tipping point for us to get on with getting over our gun obsession in this country.