Praying Together

Of all the gatherings,

prayers spoken,

during Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba and the United States,

the 9//1 Interfaith Service

lingers

as the most memorable.

Pope Francis

asked God to

“look on us,

people of all faiths and religious traditions,

who gather today

on this hallowed ground,

the scene of unspeakable

violence and pain.”

During the

interfaith service,

Iman Khalid Latif

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

alternated words of peace.

More pairs followed

two Hindu women,

two Buddhists,

two Muslims,

a Sikh father and daughter

and a Protestant

and Orthodox Christian.

The Pope sat in the middle.

and followed in the program.

“God judges us according

to our deeds,

not the coat we wear”

were the words

in Punjabi and English

by daughter and father Sikhs.

Cantor Azi Schwartz chanted in Hebrew

a prayer to honor

the 9/11 dead.

The Eight Beatitudes

were read in the the

ancient Greek

and then in English.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,for theirs is

the kingdom of heaven.

The service was

finished with the Pope

offering a gesture of peace-

a handshake,

an embrace

or a bow.

The Young People’s Chorus of New York City

more than 60 teenage

boys and girls

wearing different colored scarves-

sang

“Let There Be Peace on Earth”.

Glancing around the room,

several members of the

interfaith audience

suggested the faith leaders

stay in the room.

“Lock the doors”, said one, “until the

group

figures out how

to achieve world peace.”

Do Unto Others

While the focus

is on the multitude of

Republican candidates,

Bernie Sanders,

Senator from Vermont,

who distinguishes himself

as a Socialist,

spoke to a

leading evangelical Christian college.

He spoke of

Common Ground.

His faith

is Jewish.

“I am far, far

from a perfect

human being,

but I am

motivated by a vision

which exists in

all

of the great religions-

in Christianity,

in Judaism,

in Islam,

Buddhism

and other religions-

and which is

so beautifully and clearly

stated in

Matthew 7:12.

“So in everything,

do unto others

what you would have

them

do to you,

for this

sums up

the law of the prophets.”

“That is the

golden rule.

Do to others

what you

would have them do

to you.

It is not very complicated.”

Not exactly

a campaign slogan

but

a

compass

to live by.

THOUGHT LEADER

Thought Leaders

are especially

important

during times of

Disruptive Innovation,

a concept

used in

this time

when things

aren’t working

and ways of thinking and doing

must be changed.

Since Pope Francis was chosen,

he has become a

powerful

THOUGHT LEADER.

From his first moments

Pope Francis

showed his

humility

asking for us

to pray for him.

He chose

simple garments,

comfortable black shoes,

paid his own hotel bill,

moved into a

simple apartment.

During Holy Week,

he washed the feet of the poor,

not all Catholics.

He told priests

to be merciful and compassionate

 towards those who are divorced

women who have had

abortions.

When asked about homosexuals,

he replied,

“Who am I to judge?”

Smiling,

he loves everyone

and in return,

he is loved.

The rules have not necessarily changed,

but the

TONE

has completely.

This change in tone is

Francis’

greatest achievement,

and it is HUGE!

In this

political season,

candidates

could learn

because Pope Francis

is an astute politician

in the best sense of the word.

As a South American

he sees the entrenched Vatican

as needing to be cleaned up,

finances and favoritism,

swept out.

Reflecting

compassion.

the tone,

the message

is that God is a God

of LOVE,

not JUDGMENT.

The Church’s role

is to make God

accessible.

Coming to the United States,

his first trip to North America,

he will speak

at the United Nations,

address Congress,

say Mass in Madison Square Garden.

Popular entertainers will

engage people,

using their words and music

to

open up people’s senses

to the music of their hearts.

Disruptive Innovation.

Bring it on!

The Week of Apple

Thinking of

Fall

crisp apples?

Is it a coincidence

that Apple

has a

big product announcement

scheduled for

this time of the year?

Many years

there is a

dazzling

announcement that

a world-changing product

will be available

at the Apple store near You!

That has meant

some Septembers

that there will be

lines outside

as if a rock star is

appearing.

On the web marketplaces,

some people are

selling their older but still good phones

to get a

bigger, better,

this year’s design.

I don’t have

an I-Phone.

How can I live

without one,

you might ask?

I function

very well,

thank you,

with my Jitterbug phone.

A flip phone,

it does what I need it to do.

That is what

technology means for me.

It is to serve me,

not complicate

my life.

I have a  three and a half year old

Mac

which this week

announced that my Safari app

was no longer

being

supported

so I ordered it to

upgrade.

Now I have to hunt for

previously familiar

functions.

I couldn’t find my

e-mail Files.

A flash of insight

came to me in the shower

and

I found where

to make the Files

show by clicking under my name

and the word “show”

appeared.

Click and there they were.

I did not want to spend time on the phone

or responding to the screen
“May we help”

and not have the

question

I needed

show.

I have a four and a half

year old I-Pad which

has Kindle

loaded in it.

Generally
I prefer books in my hand.

Luddite, no!

I did publish

a book

Living Lines

on the Espresso robotic

book-making machine

at The Harvard Book Store.

Now that is amazing!

Synchroncity and Opportunity

I see

synchronicity

In

the shocking murder of

nine people

in a Bible class

at the AME Emmanuel Church

in Atlanta

by a young white supremacist ,

many retailers no longer

selling Confederate flags,

the decision in Georgia

and other states

to remove the

Confederate flag

from public display.

President Obama’s

moving eulogy,

words moving into

singing

Amazing Grace with

all joining in.

Conjecture, publicity

To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee’s beloved book and movie

told by young Scout

seeing her father Atticus

through a child’s eyes.

The much anticipated

release of the

old, discovered

first book

taking place twenty years later.

Go Set A Watchman,

portraying Atticus

in a segregated  town,

challenged by a

climate, calling, demanding

equal rights for blacks and white.

An Off Broadway show

Hamilton

moves to Broadway

full of hip hop

historical characters played by

multi-racial cast.

Another play

Amazing Grace 

opens on

Broadway,

its writer, leaving his job

compelled to write this story

and produce it.

Publisher of Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

moves up release date

so we can read

his words written to

his fifteen year old son.

Growing up in Baltimore,

he feels the same

fear for his son

as week by week

there are

unnecessary murders

by police of young black men

barely adults.

Whatever events, words, books, musicals

might stir you,

move me,

the convergence

is an opportunity.

In the words of Amazing Grace

that forgiveness and redemption

are possible

regardless of sins committed,

“Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind,

but now I see.”

What can I see now

that I did not see before?

What do you see

that you did not see before?

“‘Twas grace that taught

my heart to fear,

And grace my fears

reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!”

Where To Begin

You

do not

convince

people

with arguments,

strategies,

or tactics.

You

convince them

by learning

how to

welcome

them.

For that,

it is

necessary

to keep

doors

open,

above all

the doors

to the heart.

Pope Francis, South America, July, 2015

Let there be peace

on Earth.

And let it

begin

with me!

Coming Together

Through the virtual world

we come together

to celebrate

triumphs like

the U.S.

Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup.

We mourn

together when tragic events

occur

all too frequently.

Recently,

in my town

adults and children

gathered on the lawn

of one of the churches

for an interfaith service.

Each different clergy person

spoke or prayed

with those gathered together.

Some places of worship

no longer

are filled weekly

with people of their faiths.

Coming together

from time to time

as members of the community

strengthens each in their own faith

and

conveys that

even though it is

important for us each to pray

in our own traditions

that we realize that we are

on the

same wave length

acknowledging

our God,

our Source,

our Light.

Liberty and Justice

As we place

our hand on our heart

“I pledge allegiance

to the flag

of the United States of America

and to the Republic

for which it stands

one Nation

under God,

with liberty

and justice for all”,

can we

 focus

on

liberty

and

justice and

open our arms

to

open our hearts

to

people of all shades,

their own person hoods,

and those who work to make

this country their own.

Liberty

and

Justice

for all.

Blessings

on this

4th of July!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Watched

To Kill a Mockingbird

countless times.

This time

it moved me

in ways

more deeply.

When you know the story already,

the details become

more striking.

The trees’ leaves

play a role.

Scout and her brother Jem

are out at night

quite a bit.

The black and white film

intensifies

 light, darkness and shadows.

Sometimes it is scary.

They call their father

Atticus.

When

Tom Robinson, a Negro

was standing trial

for raping

a young white girl,

Scout and Jem

ran to the courthouse

to watch the trial.

Sitting in the balcony

with the town’s Negros,

they listened to

Atticus giving an

impassioned defense.

“All men are created equal”.

Mockingbird

was published in 1960,

barely before

the civil rights movement

began.

Recent events,

the murder of 9 people

at a Bible study

in a Charleston church

have brought many people

together.

The Confederate flag

still a symbol of the Civil War and slavery,

is being taken down in many places

where it still resonates

with hatred.

Large retail businesses and manufacturers

will not sell these flags.

Pulitzer Prize writer

Harper Lee

has been in the news quite a lot.

The mysterious discovery of a manuscript

which may have been

her original version

taking place twenty years later,

will be published soon.

Go Set A Watchman

is preordered, events planned

many conjectures about its

origin and its history.

Before that story takes over,

read To Kill a Mockingbird

and watch the movie with deep attention.

It is my favorite movie and book.

It is real and true and

we are living later versions

of the basic story.

With justice

for all and

RESPECT

for all human beings.

With Amazing Grace

Whatever side of a bridge

each of us stands,

no one

can be

untouched by the events of this week

June, 2015.

Sharp divisions

on civil rights

about race and same-sex marriage

have permeated

hundreds of years of our history.

Shock shook us.

A young white man

entered the historic

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

in Charleston

sat with nine black people

for an hour

of Bible study

and then shot them.

At his court hearing

the families of those slain

forgave him.

Within days, the governor

called for the removal of the Confederate flag,

still held high while

the American flag

honored the dead

at half mast.

On Friday morning,

the Supreme Court

announced its decision

on same-sex marriage.

In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eloquent words,

“No union is more profound than marriage,

for it embodies the

highest ideals of

love,

fidelity,

devotion,

sacrifice,

and family.

It would misunderstand these

men and women

to say

they disrespect

the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it,

respect it so deeply,

that they seek to

find its fulfillment for themselves.

Their hope is

not to be condemned to live

in loneliness,

excluded from one of

civilization’s

oldest institutions.

They ask for

equal dignity

in the eyes of the law.

The Constitution

grants them that right.”

In the afternoon

on the same day,

President Obama

gave an eloquent eulogy

at the funeral of the slain

Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.

Pausing for a moment,

President Obama began to sing

Amazing Grace,

how sweet the sound.

When he sang

“I once was lost,

 but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see”

6000 people and a 1000 outside

joined him in the

hymn.

Perhaps others like me

joined in.

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieve’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.”

GRACE

GRACIOUS

DIGNITY

For ALL.

PEACE