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With our recent Fourth of July celebrations, we have been celebrating our freedom. Freedom to worship, freedom to love, freedom to serve others, freedom to be generous, freedom to vote, etc. Freedom does not mean I can do as I please. Freedom comes through sacrifice and it gives responsibility for the welfare of others.
This month we remember and honor all who have dedicated their lives to winning and securing our freedom — judges, soldiers, public servants, civil rights workers and all who work for the common good. We also remember saints and martyrs of the Church that we celebrate during July. People like the Chinese martyrs celebrated on July 9 who gave the gift of their lives for others to worship freely. Kateri Tekakwitha whose mother forbade her to follow the Jesuits and be baptized, but she did anyway. Mary Magdalene who must have had great courage to be among women following Jesus along with the apostles. St. James the first apostle to be martyred.
A poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty written by Emma Lazarus, titled “The New Colossus,” reads in part:
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The Church is a community of believers, who offers healing in body, mind, and spirit, as Jesus did. That calls us to be a light of healing for all people in any kind of need. Our gathering tonight is one means of this kind of prayer with one another and for one another. In this way the Church and her members are instruments of healing.
We as Church are called to have a positive impact on our United States, bringing God’s transforming love and compassion to all segments of our nation. We pray tonight for ourselves and for our nation.
When we were baptized, we became adopted daughters and sons of God, and members of the Church, the living Body of Christ. Jesus Christ healed the sick, cast out demons, and forgave sinners through his touch, words, and presence. As St. Theresa of Avila once said, Christ has no body on earth now but ours. I invite you to renew your union with him by blessing this water which recalls our baptism. Jesus was moved with compassion when people came to him for healing, may we as Church, sprinkle our world with the compassion of Jesus Christ.
Download a program for the service here: Taize Service Worship Aid for July 7, 2022.
The event will be live streamed for our many friends who cannot be with us physically.
What is Taizé?
Taizé prayer is practiced throughout the world. It is a meditative candle-lit form of community prayer that includes simple chants sung repeatedly, silence and prayers of praise and intercession. In prayer, we enter the silence, stilling the mind, opening the heart, surrendering to the action of the Spirit ever molding us into the image of Christ. The candles used in the service symbolize the presence of the risen Christ, who conquered darkness and sin and offers new life to all humankind.
Taizé Prayer comes from an ecumenical, monastic community in France and has spread to numerous spots around the world.
From the depths of the human condition, a secret aspiration rises up. Today many are thirsting for the essential reality: an inner life, signs of the Invisible. Nothing is more conducive to communion with the living God than meditative common prayer. When the mystery of God becomes tangible through the simple beauty of symbols, when it is not smothered by too many words, then a common prayer awakens us to heaven’s joy on earth.
All the videos of our Taize prayer services are available here.
Photo 118400615 / Communion of Saints © Fotoandvideo | Dreamstime.com. Music in this Worship Aid was reprinted with permission under onelicense.net, #A-725830