Feel the heat of the fire,
and the breath of the wind.
Listen to the wind,
it cools with its soft breath.
Or it roars,so loud that
it sounds like a speeding train
rushing over the house
that shakes with fear.
We hide in the closets
hoping the ravages
of the hurricane
pass us by.
Sit before the fire
on a winter’s night
or on a star filled
summer night-warmth and beauty.
Or know fire in the drought
of a Florida winter,when
it catches hold fast.
We create controlled burns
to clear debris and prevent the
spread of destruction by fire.
Yet, when it catches hold anyway,
back away, away
and watch it ignite
all the trees and brush,
homes and creatures
as it rushes through the night.
Ah, the power of wind and fire.
Ah, the power of our God
Whose Holy Spirit moves across
the face of the earth
and within us
to renew the world.
Breath of God who
gives us breath,
and life after death,
Breath your Spirit
on us again as Jesus
did on the disciples of old,
Rest on us
Spirit of the Living God,
Powerfully clear away the
self-filled, self righteous
greed and entitlement
that starves the rest of the world,
that wars with those we deem enemies,
who are your children and creatures
Create in us a new spirit,
of love, of justice,
of sacrifice when need be,
of passion for your renewed
creation,every bit of it.
Give us the languages to
speak your word of Love,
in love, with love
in their mother tongues
to everyone, everywhere,
and not to rest until the word
and the love is spoken in
the most hidden corners
of lives and places.
Come Holy Spirit,
fill our hearts and
lives, kindle them
with the fire of your
love and send us forth.
Then it will be Pentecost
Pastor Judy Lee
I have put today’s lesson in a poem but do grasp this power for yourself.
You may want to read for yourselves the readings of this day
that has the power to renew us and the face of the world, if only we let it.
Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104;I Corinthians 12:3b-7 and 12-13; or Galatians 5:16-25; and the Gospel John 20-19-23.
Know that the feast of Pentecost is fifty days after Passover (and our Easter).
The feast, called Shavuot, calls the Jewish people together in an obligation to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest given back to God, and the giving of the Law, the Torah, and the covenant of God with God’s people. That’s why there were so many gathered in one place in Jerusalem when God’s Spirit suddenly entered to renew.
Start with Acts 2:1-11 and for this try your NAB, KJV, or RSV,NIV or other versions and The Message//Remix-The Bible in Contemporary Language-Eugene Peterson who writes: “When the Feast of Pentecost came,they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind,gale force–no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, alike a wild fire,the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them”.
then ponder: Psalm 104’s “Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth. Then consider the variety of gifts and yet the unity of the Spirit of God in us individually and as one church with its cleansing and empowering power. And finally consider Jesus breathing new life into the disciples as he breathed on them and said ” Receive the Holy Spirit…”
Now let us receive God’s Holy Spirit as individuals and as church , community, and let us go forth and with the Spirit, renew the face of the earth. Let us overcome violence, let us reach the discontent and disconsolate with love, let us have the courage to take unpopular stands- on gun control, on unfair practices in the agriculture industry that keep the poorest among us poor,yes, write Wendy’s CEO to only use tomatoes and lettuce, etc., to use products from fair farms*, and let us join in the crossing the boundaries encompassing love of young Harry and Meghan so that well being for all God’s people is not a fairy tale. Look at this past week, look around you in your worlds and ask: where is the renewing Spirit of God needed this week and where can I carry it.
Send forth your Spirit Oh, God and renew the face of the earth, and start with me.
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministry Fort Myers, Florida
(*For support of the migrant and other farm workers, in concert with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida, for example, you can know that Wendy’s orders its farm products outside of the industry’s fair food program and also thereby subtly condones lowest pay and sexual harassment and abuse in the supply chain. You can hand write: Wendy’s Headquarters,CEO Todd Penegor and Board Chairperson Nelson Peltz, One Dave Thomas Blvd, Dublin, Ohio, 43017 with your support of the farm workers).
After meeting with Pope Francis in a three day meeting on horrific sexual abuse in the church, the Chilean Bishops all offered their letters of resignation on May 18,2018. This was in an article by Junno Arocho Esteves on Catholic News Service and released as breaking news in a Press Conference in Rome. This acceptance of the tragic travesty of clergy sexual abuse is to allow the Pope to take whatever action he sees fit regarding the culpability of the Chilean clergy in response to the courageous revelations by three survivors. Pope Francis and the Chilean Bishops have helped the church to finally turn a corner on sexual abuse but there is still such a long way to go. For the candid and heartfelt honesty of our Pope and these Bishops thanks be to God!
This is the link:
Bridget Mary Meehan,ARCWP, Roman Catholic Woman Bishop also comments on this in her blog- https://www.bridgetmarys.blogspot.com.
Here’s to a truly re-newed church as we anticipate Pentecost and the sweeping fire and wind power of the Holy Spirit in cleansing and uniting the church tomorrow.
Blessings, Judith Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good shepherd Ministry, Fort Myers, Florida
It we could do more than one thing at once, and perhaps we can, this day in the life of the Church is a trifecta of celebrations. Today in the Church we celebrate Jesus’ leaving this earth and telling the disciples to carry it on-to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature- with the giving of Spiritual gifts (Mark 16:15-20;Ephesians 4:1-13). And if we have celebrated the day of Ascension on Thursday today we celebrate the seventh Sunday of Easter and Jesus praying for his disciples who,like him,don’t quite fit into the world, “that they may be consecrated in truth” and “sent into the world” (John 17-11b-19). Then,in many countries the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima is also celebrated today (still using the readings of the Ascension). Fatima commemorates when Holy Mary, Jesus’ Mother appeared to three shepherd children, two little girls and one boy in Fatima, in Portugal instructing them to pray for the world that was in the midst of war as World War I raged on taking many local men from Portugal and allied countries including the USA in May of 1917. The violence of War and the need for peace touched hearts young and old throughout the world. It also touched the heart of our loving God whose mother’s heart breaks in the face of war and injustice.
This is a link to a group of com-passionate women and men(including a Roman Catholic Woman Priest) preaching and sacrificing themselves for justice and peace today:
This calling of children, and all of God’s little ones among us, to both wisdom and holy action in prayer and sacrifice is an extension of Jesus commissioning of all disciples to make the Gospel known to the world. We know that to preach here does not mean mainly to utter words but to do all possible to work for peace, love and justice-for the coming of “the kingdom/kin-dom of God” on this earth- everywhere. We are not only to tell the Jesus/Christ story but to live it with every fiber of our beings to the good of all.
Today is, as well, in the USA and elsewhere on the globe, Mother’s Day. With the children of Fatima we celebrate Jesus’ radiant mother- with- a- message and we also remember the old adage: God could not be everywhere so God made mothers! We reflect on the essential selflessness of mothers as they give fully of themselves for their families. We remember our own mothers with all their love and all their struggles, and all of the mothers,grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends,mentors and others whose lives brought us into being not only physically but spiritually as well. In this context mothers and mothering can be of any gender, gender identity or age. Jesus himself identifies with our loving Mother God and wants to gather the loved ones “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). So today we are thankful for all those who generously give their lives so others might live with peace and justice. And we pray for the gifts of God’s Holy Spirit within us so we can accept our commission from Jesus: to preach the Gospel to all the world, to all of God’s creatures, and to the life of the planet, the earth itself and all who live upon it. And we pray to do this with our actions, and, as Francis said: only sometimes when necessary using words.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!
GO AND LIVE THE GOSPEL!
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers
Jesus calls us friends-Wow! In the Gospel today, John 15-9-17,Jesus assures his disciples that as we love God and our neighbors with all of our hearts we become his friends. What a wonderful honor- to be his friend. He tells his disciples that as friends he has told them everything he has heard from his father/mother God- his amma-abba God. Reflect for a moment on those friends with whom you can share everything. Perhaps that is your inner circle of friends. It is those whom you trust and perhaps love most. I was raised in an extended family household, but was then the only child. I was sometimes lonely and reached out to make good friends. Since my earliest days I recall how important those kinds of friends are- and I remember those with whom I shared everything. With some of them, I still do this so many years later. Friendship is sometimes even closer than family, though family members may also be best friends. Proverbs 18:34 says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I am so thankful for those friends. Indeed, at this time of grief and loss in my life of my life and ministry partner, and closest friend, I depend on their friendship. And, I am thankful that they can still depend on me. But more than anything I am thankful for the friendship of Jesus. I am never alone with his friendship. And He remains the glue holding me and most of my close friendships together over the years.
The picture of me with friends from my church youth group below was sent to me recently by my friend Dr. Raphael C. Jackson. I think his mother, a Bible teacher, took the picture as we were being prepared to teach the younger children in the church. How blessed we were.
This is Pastor Judy Beaumont and I with Martha Andrews Gentry, one of my dear friends from that early youth group. It was taken when we brought our church youth group to Washington DC in 2014. Martha is to my right at the end of the couch in the picture above. Her younger brother Booker is in the other black and white picture above with me.
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain….” (John 15:16) Now Jesus comments on the nature of this friendship- recognizing that in friendship there is a process of choosing one another. Jesus reminds us that he chose us to be his friends and to bear fruit for the kingdom/kindom of God. That is another WOW! I remember many kids games and teams where sides had to be chosen. Rarely was I the first one chosen. I was not the biggest nor the strongest, nor the smartest, nor the prettiest. I usually got on the team but by that time the feeling of being chosen was not very strong. Yet, God chooses to choose me-WOW! With all my warts and faults and negatives-as well as for my positives- no- just for myself-God chooses my friendship. AND, God chooses your friendship just as you are as well even as you read this. To accept the Hand of friendship we have only to reach back our hands and remain in that relationship and keep God’s beautiful law of love. “This I command you Love one another” (John 15:17).
Our hands then reach out and grab one another’s in love and friendship. And they cross over all boundaries for God’s love is totally inclusive. Hence the first reading today from ACTS Chspter 10 where Peter accepts the gentile Cornelius as an equal, “(Don’t bow down to me) Get up, I myself am also a human being”(v. 25-26) “God shows no partiality. Rather in every nation whoever fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to God” (Acts 15:34-35)Peter then arranged for the baptism of Cornelius and his entire household of family and friends. We are to love everyone, for God IS love, as we are reminded in the second reading from I John 4:7-10, and include all in the Sacraments-God’s holy signs of acceptance and love. Sharing God’s friendship with everyone is our greatest joy.
Only LOVE can release life. In the friendship of Christ let us Love with the kind of love that releases life and justice.
“Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear;only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life. Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life;love illuminates it” Martin Luther King ,Jr.
Sisters and brothers, let us create the beloved community, and truly love one another.
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries, Fort Myers, Florida
This is a litany of Saints in the form of the Litany used in the Roman Catholic Church on certain holy occasions like Ordinations. It has a beautiful chanting melody and is usually sung. But it is not a litany of canonized Saints (except for a few) but of those who died after facing years of homelessness and poverty and some of their servants who lead each stanza. The names of those who were also Roman Catholic Woman Priests and who died fighting all injustice including gender injustice within and outside of the church is asterisked*. Dr. Teresa Ann Grace Sievers,MD was a dedicated member of Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community whose selfless service without charge made it possible for more than thirty homeless individuals get into subsidized housing. She was brutally murdered in her home in June of 2015 by persons she knew. The trials of those accused of her murder are still pending and our community still reels from this tragic event. We are still in need of other Medical Doctors to take up her cause.
Pastor Judy Beaumont and I began our ministry with the homeless in Fort Myers in 2007 and we also served the homeless in New York, Chicago and Connecticut. Since 2007 far too many of the people we served have died, sometimes one after the other. Some were homeless at the time of death and some had been finally housed for several years. All faced physical illnesses and challenges, some faced mental challenges (mental health and developmental disability) and some faced addictions to alcohol, nicotine and sometimes other drugs. Some had cancer and needed more help and support to negotiate complex medical systems than they received. The fragile and precarious health statuses of individual’s and families who face homelessness and poverty often goes unseen and neglected. The stress and energy it takes to survive takes a high toll on human life.
In Fort Myers there are few Shelters or programs available, and fewer still that address the whole person who is homeless or homeless families. In addition to affordable housing, we need policies and programs and supportive temporary and permanent housing to assist the homeless. This will also take skilled outreach and supportive health services that are desperately needed. What results when services are few, meager, and have restricted entry including few beds in the one designated medical unit is the premature death of beautiful multidimensional human beings who have much to contribute to our community. Only two homeless persons in this litany made it beyond sixty.
This song is for the homeless, the hungry, and the poor who struggle to hold onto homes, and those who selflessly serve them and die while they are still serving. Such service in the context of the lack of public conscience and policies and programs that recognize the value of each and every human life brings much needless stress to all concerned. This litany includes only those we have served and know personally since 2007-the list of homeless dead in Fort Myers is sadly much longer. We salute the efforts of the Homeless Coalition here, and everywhere, to change this. But, in the name of our loving God, what is it going to take?
The Litany of Saints
As we think of our communal neglect
of the homeless and poor,
God, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
God, have mercy.
God, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
God, have mercy.
Now we pray for and with those
deceased whose lives of struggle
and service deeply inspire us to fight for change and serve the poor.
Judith Ann Beaumont*
tireless servant of the poor Pray for us
Michael Gordon Murray
Ruby Tuesday Pearce
who battled demons of mind and body
and yet lived for others All you holy men and women pray for us
Dorothy Day Pray for us
Linda Denise Maybin
Randall Lynn Bending
who bravely lived for
and families All you holy men and women pray for us
Teresa Ann Grace Sievers Pray for us
James Leslie Root
Carl Two Dogs Trammell
And all taken so young
with so much good done
and left to do All you holy men and women pray for us
Letitia Rawles* and Claire Gareau*
gentle caretakers of creation Pray for us
John Arthur Woods
Wade Ray-Ray Chester Mallard
Andrew Johnson and Manuel Guerra
Frederick L. Jones
And all who died alone
or outside All you holy men and women pray for us
William Douglas Wallace
Melvin and Virginia Williams
David and Ellie Ver Nooy
Norma Jean Anmuth and Theresa Held
Napolean Leo Andrews
Joseph Bowman Junior
Barbara Candales Pundit
Janine Denomme* and Mary Styne*
Iris Muller* and Maureen Andrew*
Philip Berrigan and Martin Luther King
Edith Stein and Oscar Romero
Ella, Anne, Jack, Warren, Jule, Billy and Edith
All who have taught us to love and pursue justice,
All you holy men and women pray for us.
(Tune for the traditional Litany of Saints excerpted in form here:
John D.Becker, copyright 1987,published by OCP Publications, All rights reserved).
Love and blessings, Pastor Judith Lee,RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries Fort Myers, Florida