Pray, ponder, and seek God’s pastures of protection in a time of violence
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO—“Ponder the lives that were lost..and the day humans will learn war no more” (Isaiah 2:4), the newly installed Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, Michael Buerkel Hunn, reminded a congregation of several hundred people during a service of Remembrance at The Cathedral of St. John in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I did as Hunn asked. I pondered, prayed, and pleaded for God’s mercy in a day-and-age defined by violence; be it the shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue, the people at a country and western club in California, or our war-weary soldiers in battle-torn terrain around the world. We must pray for families, friends, and even foes (as Jesus commanded, see Luke 6:28) affected by violence, asking for God to comfort, bring courage, and a conviction that violence is not the answer; Christ is.
After Hunn spoke and opened in prayer, Canon Maxine Thevenot, led a choir in the performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Maurice Durufle’s, Requiem, Opus 9. Both performances and pieces were moving.
To help us remember people affected by violence on Veteran’s Day, particularly the men and women who serve, I leave you with the texts used for Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms: Psalm 108 verses 1-5, Psalm 100, and Psalm 23. On this Day of Remembrance, do as Michael Buerkel Hunn requests: “Ponder the lives that have been lost, and the day humans will learn war no more.” Using the texts as our teacher, we must learn to pray, praise, ponder, and seek God’s pastures of protection in a time of violence.
Psalm 108, vs. 1-5: A song. A psalm of David.
1 My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
2 Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
3 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
4 For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 100: A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 23: A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord