Bishop's CURRENT Messages
Special Message from Guam - August 13, 2017
News of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, arrived here on Guam as people continued to process the threat of missiles pointed at their island home. It has been difficult to fathom that the evils of the 20th century have again invaded our world. The grave destruction of the atomic bomb was launched from a nearby island. The great fear of nuclear annihilation has returned to our daily lives. Jackbooted thugs dare to wave the Nazi flag with the swastika and initiate violence with hate-filled rhetoric. Racism is again publicly joined to violence in the streets of our nation.
It seems that human beings have not learned the lessons of the past. We have short memories. Once again, the followers of Jesus Christ are to take up the cause of peace and justice. As Christians, I think we begin with the admonition in the Letter of James [3:13-18 (Common English Bible)]:
With such an attitude, we prepare ourselves for the days ahead.
When Jesus sets the standard of true happiness [in Matthew 5:3-12 (Common English Bible)], it is measured by care, mercy and righteousness:
It is such happiness that changes lives, heals the broken and transforms the world. There is no room for war and hate in God's world.
So, to prepare for the days ahead, I call upon all Episcopalians in Hawai'i and Micronesia to say these two prayers aloud everyday from now until November 30:
In addition, I ask that these two prayers both be said at the conclusion of the Prayers of the People as the "Concluding Collects" at Sunday celebrations of the Holy Eucharist through the Last Sunday after Pentecost (Christ the King Sunday).
We must be prepared to face hate with love and war with peace. The effort will be to love. As Dorthy Day urged:
Your brother in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i and
The Episcopal Church in Micronesia
Simple Practices for a Christian Life - August 3, 2017
Aloha o ke Akua:
I have a secret spiritual practice. When I'm alone in the car, I listen to Gospel music - even Country and Blue Grass Gospel. Yes, I sing along. There is one song that has recently given me pause: "You can't be a beacon if your light don't shine" (by Marty Cooper). It was a hit for Donna Fargo in 1974 (found on YouTube HERE.) I once heard a version by The Blind Boys of Alabama that was moving, but I can't seem to find it now.
The lyrics are simple enough:
As I listened again, I was reminded of the Letter of James (1:19-21): "Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. This is because an angry person doesn't produce God's righteousness. Therefore, with humility, set aside all moral filth and the growth of wickedness, and welcome the word planted deep inside you--the very word that is able to save you."
This echoes Jesus in Matthew 6:14-15: "If you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins."
And again from Matthew 18:2-6: "Then [Jesus] called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, 'I assure you that if you don't turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake.'"
In an age of tweets and public mean-spiritedness, the words remind us of the simple practices of a Christian's life. In a time when violence and division are celebrated, the personal habits of telling the truth and forgiveness are essential to following Jesus Christ. It is upon such things that allow us to live in the Kingdom of God in the here and now.
Aloha ma o Iesu Kristo, ko mākou Haku,
A Word to the Church for the World, released on September 20, 2016.
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Meet Bea Fitzpatrick, the wife of Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick! In her own blog, Bea shares some of her experiences, thoughts and pictures as she travels with her husband to congregations throughout the Diocese and beyond. Visit her blog page HERE.