Friday, November 7, 2014

Remembering . . .

  • November 9, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall being taken down.  I recall its construction when I was in high school and watched it being dismantled in 1989 by people wielding large hammers.  I remember hearing the cheering of the people standing atop the wall and shouting freedom with each blow of the hammer.  This weekend 8,000 illuminated balloons will be released into the air and float over the city – free from borders . . . as people watch again and remember those who struggled to cross from East to West Berlin. 
  •  I can even remember a number of documentaries that I viewed on television.  One in particular continues to haunt me. It was the story of a young couple who planned their escape.  His girlfriend lost enough weight to be placed in a large suitcase – of which her boyfriend practiced over time to carry it with his one arm ( her folded within the suitcase) and he walking to and through the checkpoint without exhibiting any stress or difficulty to reach the freedom of West Berlin.
The Berlin wall was constructed in 1961 as a means to separate capitalists in the West from Communists in the East. The creation of the Berlin Wall ripped apart families, and led to severe isolation among the German people. Over a 28 year period at least 138 people were killed as they traveled too closely to the wall and even attempted to climb the structure.
November 11 ~ Veterans Day (USA), Remembrance Day (Canada)
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of the year 1918, an armistice was signed, ending the "war to end all wars." November 11 was set aside as Armistice Day in the United States to remember the sacrifices that men and women made during the war in order to ensure a lasting peace. In 1938 Congress voted Armistice Day as a legal holiday, but World War II began the following year. Armistice Day was still observed after the end of the Second World War. In 1953 townspeople in Emporia, Kansas called the holiday Veterans Day in gratitude to the veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill renaming the national holiday to Veterans Day. Today, we remember those who have served for our country in the armed forces in our prayers. (
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Great God, who has told us
"Vengeance is mine,"
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.
Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.
Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.
We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.
We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.
Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace--not war--wherever we go.
For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.
And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.
This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen
prayer for world peace - sister joan chittister - benedictine sisters of erie
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We interrupt this war for doctors to heal,
teachers to teach, and students to learn.
We interrupt this war to marvel at sunsets,
listen to music, and to laugh.
We interrupt this war for poets to rhyme, sculptors to
chisel, and writers to paint pictures with words.
We interrupt this war to plant tomatoes, mow
the grass, and to smell the roses.
We interrupt this war to feed the hungry, build
new schools, and to stamp out ignorance.
We interrupt this war to clean up the air, save
the whales and to find a cure for cancer.
We interrupt this war to rebuild New Orleans,
tickle babies and for world peace.
We interrupt this war for PTA meetings, band
concerts, and high school graduations.
We interrupt this war for Girl Scout Cookies,
church bake sales, and the Special Olympics.
We interrupt this war for Disneyland, the
World Series, and the Super Bowl.
We interrupt this war for Halloween candy,
Thanksgiving Turkey, and 4th of July fireworks.
We interrupt this war for Hanukkah,
Christmas and Kwanza.
We interrupt this war to bring sons,
daughters, sisters and brothers home.
We interrupt this war to hear a message from
we interrupt this war - cappy hall rearick - 2001
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Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Amen. (a prayer for the world - rabbi harold kushner – 2003)
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If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

chinese philospher - lao-tse - 6th century bce


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