Prayer for Health and Harmony

wallpaperstwist.com

wallpaperstwist.com

Divine Father-Mother, hear our prayer for health and harmony:

May the sick be strong and well. May the injured heal. May the dying rest in confidence of immortality.

May broken relationships be mended, and may animosity give way to gratitude and discovery. Let the heavens open and the spring rain wash away all jealousy… insecurity… distrust; dissolve resentment and self-righteousness; and penetrate and cleanse the heart. May we cast off the illusion that we are alone, separate from one another or from you, Almighty God. May we see each other as we are: perfect soul to perfect soul… radiance to radiance… glory to glory.

May we experience our inner light, knowing that we shine with energy and purpose… safe and secure in the morning of Creation… no longer blind, able to find and navigate the path of satisfaction, service, and joy…. Set us on the road that guides us to our reason for becoming.

Divine Creator, God of grace, you have endowed us with the gifts, abilities, and inclinations that reveal the way of happiness and the way of peacemaking and compassion. In the practice of our dharma, we repair the fractured universe, and construct, stone by stone, your kingdom on earth. May our compass be true, our motives pure, our intuition steadfast.

May we open our minds to your guidance and entrust our prayers to the wings of angels. Our petitions bow to your wisdom: We pray, “This we seek, or something finer, truer, purer, more sublime, and dedicated to the greatest good of all creation.” Thus may we thrive in the abundance of experience, generosity, and shared delight. Thus may our endeavors take flight, yielding bliss in the pursuit as well as the achievement.

Given courage by your grace, O God, may we embrace one another in the confidence of shared recognition. All is forgiven. Undivided by religion or bias, strangers become friends, and friends and families become united: husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and the children of our children… sisters and brothers… generation to generation without end.

In our common habitat, may streams be swift and pure, lakes fresh and placid, oceans clean, their motion constant, unencumbered by the careless use of earth’s great treasures. May the winds whirl freely and the skies be clean and benign. May the trees and crops and herbs be bountiful and vigorous; and may all creation flourish, giving no cause for a sense of lack or an impulse toward greed or hoarding.

May all be granted understanding this very day that truth abides in love, innocence, kindness, and freedom from want. Patiently remind us that you share our day-to-day concerns and our great struggles. May we be aware, any time we listen for it, of the pulse and chorus of the universe, music of our souls, rhythm of our lives, and singing of our spirits.

Amen.

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Murder Threats on YouTube

Rock engravings in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating from ten thousand years BCE

Rock engravings in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating from ten thousand years BCE

Because of the greatness of your strength,
your enemies, O God Almighty, cringe before you.
Before you all the earth shall bow,
shall sing to you, sing to your name!”
Let our joy then be in you,
for you, God, rule forever.
Your eyes keep watch over the nations;
let rebels not rise against you. —from Ps. 66

Free Speech or Hate Speech?

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Loreena McKennitt 2009

Loreena McKennitt 2009

Sister Alma Rose is appalled. She doesn’t like being appalled. It’s not her style… though she suspects that Loreena McKennitt would be appalled as well.

On May 18 (“The Purest Race” in Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word), our dear friend Fanny McElroy cited vitriolic antisemitic comments related to a “sophisticated, beautifully crafted” fan-created video found on the popular media-sharing website YouTube. Fanny discovered the antisemitic comments when she added her own comments, praising the video’s creator for beautiful work. The video accompanied  folk-singer Loreena McKennitt’s song “Night Ride Across the Caucasus,” first recorded on McKennitt’s 1997 album The Book of Secrets.

In just a few minutes’ browsing of other videos, Fanny came across murder threats against Zionists, Chinese, and people of unspecified race or ethnicity.

Click here for video, comments, background, and a brief, anonymous survey on how you feel about these threats and other comments. You can, of course, view the information without taking the survey. It is short, however, only four yes-or-no questions; and your anonymity is guaranteed if you choose not to enter your name. 

Children's puppet theater

In keeping with the Caucasus region’s tradition of children’s puppet theater, “Stories from Our Yard” uses locally-designed puppets to deliver its message

What does YouTube permit?

Here is an excerpt from YouTube’s Community Guidelines:

We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t  permit hate speech (…which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/ gender identity). [Emphasis ours] …Predatory behavior,  stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information,  and inciting others to commit violent acts or to violate the Terms of Use are taken very seriously. Anyone caught doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube.

Wedding dance, Georgia, the Caucasus region

Wedding dance, Georgia, the Caucasus region (Source: ConcordTravel.ge)

Fanny says that the principal subject of McKennitt’s song, according to McKennitt’s album insert, is alchemy, while the video seems to depict a traditional wedding among the peoples of the Caucasus (more at “The Purest Race“).  “The video makes artistic use,” says Fanny, “of what appears to be, but probably isn’t, old black-and-white footage, blurry, flickering… mixed with vivid new footage. Some of the same landmarks appear in ‘old’ and ‘new’ footage, which consist mostly of wedding scenes, dancing, and people on horseback, probably underscoring the continuity of culture over time. It is beautifully done, with — I think the phrase is ‘high production values.'”

Endangered Ateni Sioni church in Georgia dates from the 7th century

Endangered Ateni Sioni church in Georgia dates from the 7th century

The antisemitic comments on YouTube refer to neither alchemy nor wedding, Fanny reports, but rather to the nationalist biases and aspirations of the “Caucasians” (that is, the peoples of the Caucasus).

On May 17, Fanny flagged the comments and reported them according to prescribed YouTube procedure, informing YouTube that the comments violated YouTube Community Guidelines. She resubmitted her objections a few days later. To date (June 8), YouTube has not deleted the comments and has not responded to Fanny’s report.

Fanny writes,

Please. This is important. We are asking you to take a brief (4-item) survey (anonymous unless you choose to give your name) about vitriolic anti-Semitic & anti-Chinese YouTube messages. You’ll see a mere handful of ugly postings, but such messages are abundant on YouTube in defiance of YouTube guidelines.

Is this abuse of free speech? A big unfunny joke? Were the rules changed when my back was turned? Or is it felt that people not allowed to speak openly will go underground? I imagine there’s already plenty of “underground.” Please take the survey and share this request with others. Thank you…. Fanny

MOI, Fanny

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Thud

Finding Your Place in Creation

Honey Mesquite (photo, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station)

Honey Mesquite (photo, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station)

Sister Alma Rose gets around. She don’t just sit on her grass-green porch in her grass-green rocker at her big white house at Hilltop Farm and crochet doilies and spout wisdom the way Old Faithful spouts… whatever it is that Old Faithful spouts.

One day, when Sister Alma Rose was in Arizona, she was setting next to a sunny window — sometimes, in southern Arizona, it’s exceedingly difficult to find a window that ain’t sunny — and she’s gazing absently at the mesquite tree right out next the window. As y’all probably know, mesquite trees has thousands (or maybe millions) of tiny oval leaves… and Sister Alma Rose says to herself, each one of those leaves is absolutely essential to the life of that tree.

That’s when Sister Alma Rose understood that each of us is like one of them little tiny leaves. We all have us a place in Creation — a niche only we can fill — and finding that place — which is the place that both gives us, as individuals, the most joy and fulfillment, and also does the most possible benefit to the world, to the universe, to “all sentient beings,” as the Buddhists has it — is everyone’s assignment.

Jon Sullivan)

Old Faithful (photo: Jon Sullivan)

Soon after that, someone (Dr. Gerry Swanson, a great man) gave Sister Alma Rose a copy of The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, which, if y’all ain’t read it, is a lovely little fable about how the Universe knocks itself out pointing y’all in the direction of your niche, your place, your destiny, your joy… and simple abundance. And if y’all ain’t paying attention, then the Universe will give y’all a big, and often uncomfortable, jolt to wake y’all up. Bonk. Thud.

Anne Lamott has written that huge pain often precedes huge joy, only she didn’t use them exact words, but Sister Alma Rose can’t find the place where Anne Lamott put that thought down in words much more eloquently whimsical than Sister Alma Rose’s words. It’s like giving birth, that huge pain is, and y’all who’s done that knows that when y’all’s in the middle of it, there’s a time when y’all’s thinking, this is not a Good Thing, I am hating this, and then, out jumps the Joy.

Sister Alma Rose was in a Dark Place when she wrote the song “All Alone.” The Universe was pulling her every which-a-way, and she just throws herself into God’s arms and says, “Take me away, somewhere, anywhere but here,” and God holds her a bit for a little rest and then sets her down in a new place, where there’s love, and light, and a calling. Sister Alma Rose prays y’all will find that place of your own, and maybe, if y’all be paying attention, y’all will find that place without the Universe having to pick y’all up and drop y’all down real hard on y’all’s head.

All alone, just me and you, O Lord,
we are all alone in the world. I need you to
help me through this moment, God— please
strengthen me when I am weary.
My only home is here with you. There’s a
peace I’ve never known before.
I need you alone, my God,
and nothing more.

There’s a sickness in my heart
only you can heal. When I
come apart, only you
can make me whole again.
Only you my tattered soul can mend.

Only you can lift my spirit high. Only you
can shine in the dark; only you can
heal my broken heart and put my
mind at ease when I am afraid. But you
paid the price. Now I am free. You
gave your life for me, and I will
never need to feel all alone
again.

Reconcile me, Lord, to
brother and sister. Help me to
find my place in Creation. Take my life
and make it a celebration of your grace.

And the flame inside my heart will blaze, and will
light the way for others, lost and
all alone, as I once was… and together
we shall gather in your love.

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