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Dear Friends,

As we begin this letter it is August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus.  Jesus is transfigured in the company of Moses and Elijah and in the presence of his apostles Peter, James and John. 

The accounts  are recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and in the Second Letter of Peter.  They tell us, "While Jesus was praying, his face changed in appearance and his garments became dazzling white."  

Today is also the seventy-fourth anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Those present report "a dazzling white light, a flash bringing brief illumination and then, lasting night."   

This past weekend in the massacres in El Paso and Dayton we once again saw the deadly dazzling light of automatic weapons used to kill.  This interplay of dazzling light offers us fruit for meditation.

Melissa Musick Nussbaum reflects on the readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration.  In the first reading, The Prophet Daniel says "a surging stream of fire"  flowed out of the throne where the Ancient One sat.  In the second reading, Peter tells us, "We possess this prophetic message of Jesus' Transfiguration that is altogether reliable.  You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."   Melissa reflects, "A surging stream of fire is what we men and women constructed and used against other men and women, other sons and daughters of God [in Hiroshima].  We would do well to consider today the ways in which we continue to use light to bring darkness and dominion to bring death.  We would do well also to consider the counsel from Second Peter, that 'the prophetic message' given to us of Christ's majestic glory is not a weapon, but 'a lamp shining in a dark place.'  It is not ours to own or use against others.  The message belongs to anyone longing for the light of Christ, and its radiance falls on all who seek  It brings life, not death.  We are called to be attentive to this message, this lamp, as one is attentive to a flashlight leading the way in the mountains on a moonless night.  We must be attentive to the lamp and follow it 'until day dawns and the morning star rises in all our hearts.'''   

As the massacres of El Paso and Dayton echo in our hearts, as Trump's rhetoric continues to incite to violence as he bellows that immigrants are invaders and that people of color need to go back where they came from, we are challenged to become transfigured into action: what can we do? how can we stand up and speak out?

Alla Renee Bozarth offers a poem that brings us back to the horror of Hiroshima still going on in our world:

Transfiguration and Annunciation

For Hideo Hashimoto, Professor of Philosophy and Religion
Lewis and Clark College, after hearing him tell this story
at a Portland Concert for Peace in the Civic Auditorium,
Feast of the Annunciation 1984~

On Columbus Day, 1962, the man stands
in the Peace Memorial Garden in Hiroshima—
His dead nephew appears, a ravaged child of twelve,
tells him his home across the sea has been swallowed
by a typhoon, tells him the sign, “This will never happen again”
is a lie:

tells him of Vietnam and Cambodia, eaten as by
white death devils from Manchuria, tells him
of future assassins, Nicaragua’s agony and civil war
in El Salvador— tells him of an American president’s
boast of one million bombs like that of Hiroshima—
begins to tell him of an incident—

then the boy stops
unable to say what he sees
as if he had been killed
by yet another bright light

And then the boy says,
“The destiny of humankind
is in your hands. I am destroyed
but you can still help. Go and tell them
I said this— Open your hands and reach
across lands to lay down arms and play the music
of Life with your kin, with your future.”

And then the boy disappeared
and what remained was
the distant sound of a whale,
singing softly and alone in the world
except for four human beings, listening~

The song came from a deep place and long silence,
softly at first, and then with increasing power
it began to send light out in all directions
into the sorrow and loneliness of things.

The human beings felt it filling them
as they opened themselves to its beauty--
a girl and a grandmother and a boy
and a grandfather. The children
were sister and brother.

Filled with the song of the whale,
they might grow up to begin
the healing of the world.

              Alla Renée Bozarth,
                        Stars in Your Bones: Emerging Signposts on Our Spiritual Journeys by Alla Bozarth, Julia Barkley and Terri Hawthorne, 1990.

How can we contribute to the healing of the world?  We are told that when the people of El Paso heard what happened, they lined up to give blood to the victims (“without asking if the receiver was Democrat or Republican.” )  They also lined up to register to vote.

Ayanna Pressley says, "Change can't wait."    How can we build a better world today? How can we bring about change? How can we make our world a little kinder, more peaceful?

This Prayer for Disarmament developed by Pax Christi resonates with our hearts:

.Prayer for Disarmament

 

Breath of All that is,

Preserve us from our own madness,

Direct us away from dealing destruction to others,

A path which leads to the ruin

Of ourselves and our world.

Protect us. Help us to hear you.

 

Jesus Christ, Beloved,

Show us your precious face in all others,

You in us, and we in each other, from all places.

Teach us how to lower our defenses,

Feed us Love which transcends fear.

Heal us. Help us to let go of all fear.

 

Holy Spirit,

You Call us, in our minds, in our world,

And through each other. Speak to us. Speak through us.

When we worship power, control money,

When we cannot forgive, or shove pain onto others,

Call us. Light the fire of Love.

 

We will not be afraid.

We will not be afraid.

Love transcends all fear.

You Are with us always.

Amen

Published by Pax Christi N. California. Image and prayer by Kris Vanderheiden

This prayer was given at a Pax Christi gathering in D.C. in July, 2019. On the front is a

painting of the Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, Japan, following the atomic bombing of

Nagasaki, August 9,

Published by Pax Christi N. California. Image and prayer by Kris Vanderheiden

At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound.  We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us.  Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world.  We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey.  We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life. 

Praying for you the blessings of breathing together,  

Ron & Jean