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A MYSTERY, BUT NOT A SECRET
November 17, 2006
 
Today's eMo is really two different meditations on texts that will be read in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMos. The second, intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the Church's ministry to the poor and those who suffer because of war or natural disaster, explores the work of Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.
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A Mystery, But Not a Secret

But be alert; I have already told you everything.--Mark 13:23

God's love isn't a secret. There aren't some people who aren't supposed to know about it and some who are.

It's also not something that can be deduced from an analysis of the world's suffering, or from one's own level of prosperity in the world. If you concluded that God doesn't love you because your dad died, what were you thinking when a million other people's dads were murdered in Rwanda?

The truth is simple: life is hard, and the love of God doesn't make it easy. God's love is how we got here at all --it is the quickening of the first formless proteins into the first protoplasm, the first terrified sea animal climbing up onto its first rock, gasping there for its first breath. It is the breath that has sustained you since your first shocking entry into this bright, loud world,and it is also the mystery of your surrendering that breath when the time finally comes to lay it down.

None of these things are things that everybody doesn't know. We all breathe. We all live. We all die. People of faith don't have access to data other people don't have.

What we do have is a choice to be alert to the signs of grace and to honor them as the blessings they are. And we have a community that helps us stay alert to them, incarnating love to us and asking us to incarnate it back. And an interior quiet voice that is not a voice, that speaks to us in something beyond words and events. We all have that voice. We're just not used to listening for it. We're not very alert.

So God's love may be a mystery. But it is not a secret.

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Daniel 12:1-4a(5-13) *Hebrews 10:31-39 * Mark13: 14-23 * Psalm 16

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And here is the ERD meditation :

Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not be in winter. - Mark 13:17-78

The province of Wardak in Afghanistan is almost impossibly beautiful. It is also almost impossible to travel there: the roads are narrow, the mountains are high and settlements are few and far between. The way of life is ancient and difficult there, and the war didn't make it any easier.

Doctors are rare in Afghanistan -- 11 for every 100,000 people. Most of the remote villages in which most Afghans live don't have one. Not surprisingly, Afghanistan has the second-highest mortality rate in the world. One in four Afghan mothers dies from complications due to childbirth, and one in four children dies before the age of five.

With the help of Episcopal Relief and Development, Wardak Province will soon have a health clinic. Prenatal, childbirth and post-partum care will be available to the villagers for the first time, as well as prompt treatment of the tuberculosis, malaria and diarrhea that claim the lives of so many young children.

Pregnancy and childbirth should be the most joyous and most hopeful time of a woman's life. The birth of a child is a moment of God's continuing creation in the human family; it is a sign of God's hope for us. That our support of a mother whom we will never meet can save the life of her child is another sign of God's hope: the children of God can reach out to one another in love, and every time they do, Christ has come among them. For real.
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To learn more about ERD,or to make a donation, visit http://www.er-d.org/ or telephone 1-80-334-7626,ext 5129.
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