Friday, March 24, 2006

The Bridging Prayer

Some years ago during the Lenten season, I chose to focus on one of Jesus' greatest gifts – the Lord's Prayer. I did this through meditation, journaling, and drawing.

At that time I was a hospital chaplain in the Clinical Pastoral Education program. During my year there I observed the amazing effect of the Lord's Prayer.

- It frequently drew families together around a bedside, sometimes holding hands and with tears in their eyes.
- It often struck a resonant chord in un-communicative patients, including some with dementia or Alzheimer's.
- And, on one memorable night, it became a blessed bridge between life and death, earth and heaven.

The hospital halls were quiet and empty at this late hour. I entered the Pastoral Care Office with a big mug of cafeteria coffee to fortify me during the chaplaincy "overnight." Just as I settled in to do some paperwork, my beeper sounded, breaking the silence.

When I returned the call, the fourth floor nurse asked me to come to the bedside of a patient who was "actively dying."

The elderly man ("Robert") appeared to be asleep, but opened his eyes slightly when I asked to enter his room. He responded with a barely discernible affirmative nod. I pulled up a chair so that I would not be towering over him. Softly, gently, I stroked Robert's hand while giving words of comfort. After about fifteen minutes or so, his eyes remained closed and his breathing became more labored. I asked him if he would like me to pray the Lord's Prayer.

Robert's answer was to take my hand. As I began to pray "Our Father, who art in heaven," his lips moved slightly as he managed to mouth several of the old familiar words. I continued on. At some point along the prayer pathway, Robert died.

What a privilege it was to be with him as he traveled toward Jesus' welcoming embrace. I always shall treasure this spiritual experience and the "bridging prayer" Robert and I shared.

"Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven . . . ."

From The Rev. Elizabeth Diely +

St. Margaret's Newsletter - April 2006

Our April 2006 newsletter is now available.

St. Margaret's News

Loving, Growing and Sharing the Good News!

So How Was Your Day?

My day started like many others. Coffee, the drive to work, starting the computer and greeting colleagues. After saying hello to Jim, he asked, “Did you see the accident on Rte. 61 yesterday?”

“No, I didn’t see it but it sure caused me some problems.” I proceeded to tell him about the long detours and how my one-hour drive home took 2 ¼ hours.

Jim said, “I didn’t see it, either, but two people were killed.” He described what he knew of the accident. “One of them was mine,” he added.

I knew exactly what he meant. Jim is a Methodist Minister. The young man who died was one of his parishioners. Luke. A member of his flock. Luke; a 23-year-old, whose mother has been in the hospital for the last few days because of chest pains.

Ashley, 16, a passenger in the other vehicle, also died.

And here I was complaining because I was inconvenienced.

I was driving in my nice car, arrived at my wonderful home, was greeted by my loving family and had a tasty chicken dinner.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me so little to complain about.

Lord, I pray, please accept Luke and Ashley into your loving arms.

Lord, I pray, please comfort Luke’s mother, Lena, and all the grieving members of both families. May they feel Your presence in their time of need.

Lord, I pray, be with Jim as he comforts and supports these members of his flock.

And Jim, thank you for reminding me today of the blessings in my life.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Prayer for Protection

The light of God surrounds me;
The love of God enfolds me;
The power of God protects me;
The presence of God watches over me;
Wherever I am, God is!

Author Unknown
Submitted by Kathy Leber

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Time Well Spent

"Could you not stay awake with me one hour? "

Responding to Jesus' question has been one of my most spiritually enriching experiences. For the past sixteen years I have kept a Maundy Thursday / Good Friday vigil from 2 am to 5 am in the Garden of Repose at St. Margaret's.

It is a peaceful, quiet time that I spend primarily in prayer, reflection, and scripture reading. But I also might journal and sketch some of the thoughts and experiences that occur.

The vigil varies from year to year. It can be subtle or incredibly powerful. . . even mystical. What is constant is the opportunity for closeness with Jesus in Gethsemane. I come with no specific expectations other than to "Let go and let God."

I hope you will consider signing up for the vigil. An hour with our Lord is time well spent.

The Rev. Elizabeth Diely+

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Miracles Also Occur To Anglicans

(Editor's note: This was sent to St. Margaret's as an e-mail)

I'm Jim Spohn. I was a Parishioner of St. Margaret's some 18 years ago, and still receive the "St. Margaret's" news.
I believe in miracles! Unfortunately, the Episcopal Church puts very little emphasis on the Sacrament of Unction in conjunction with the Eucharist; otherwise, the Altar rail would be jammed during midweek with recipients to receive both Sacraments. (Church isn't just for Sunday's).

Anyway, I awoke one morning, my right eye was blurred, as most of us experience, we rub our eyes to clear the sleep from our eyes. Well, this didn't happen to me, it remained blurred. I couldn't see, I only had vision in my left eye. I made an appointment immediately with the ophthalmologist. The diagnosis was a hole and crack had developed in the Macula, directly in the center which caused me to lose 80% of my sight. This usually occurs on the periphery of the Macula, with little or no vision loss.

I went through two and a half hours of surgery with no guarantee that it could restore any vision. However, my sight was restored to 40/40 with some distortion and the surgeons were very pleased.

Now, previous to my scheduled surgery, I received Unction and the Eucharist several times to prepare myself for any outcome, which I continued after post-surgery. My eye sight was improving, and finally it was restored to 20/20 with absolutely no distortion. The surgeons were amazed and they themselves did not strike out the possibility of divine intervention, because they were aware of their own limited abilities from previous and similar surgery procedures, but this was a complete recovery.

The Retina Associates and Tampa Memorial Hospital here in Tampa, are on Par with the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. I know I had the best the Southeast had to offer.

Since then, I have had an unpleasant experience with cancer, and once again received Unction and the Eucharist and am now in remission. I thank God for the help of today's medical procedures which are all miracles in themselves.

Take advantage of these Sacraments and have faith. Ask the help of Mary, Mother of God to also intercede for you, after all, we pray to the "Saints" in the prayer book at every Mass.

Jim Spohn (St. Matthew's Anglican Church -- in Riverview, Fla.)
Thank you, Jim, for sharing your story with us.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Were You There?

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Were you there when Judas
betrayed Jesus with a kiss?
+ Mark 14: 10-11, 44-45

Were you there when they knelt
and mocked my Lord?
+ Mark 15: 17-18

Sunday, March 05, 2006

They Bravely Spoke God's Message

Make Us Brave Enough To Speak Your Message

Peter and John Are Brought in Front of the

1The apostles were still talking to the people, when some priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some Sadducees arrived. 2These men were angry because the apostles were teaching the people that the dead would be raised from death, just as Jesus had been raised from death. 3It was already late in the afternoon, and they arrested Peter and John and put them in jail for the night. 4But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about five thousand followers of the Lord.

5The next morning the leaders, the elders, and the teachers of the Law of Moses met in Jerusalem. 6The high priest Annas was there, as well as Caiaphas, John,
Alexander, and other members of the high priest's family. 7They brought in Peter and John and made them stand in the middle while they questioned them. They asked, "By what power and in whose name have you done this?"
8Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and told the
nation's leaders and the elders:
9You are questioning us today about a kind deed in which a crippled man was healed. 10But there is something we must tell you and everyone else in Israel. This man is standing here completely well because of the power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth. You put Jesus to death on a cross, but God raised him to life. 11He is the stone that you builders thought was worthless, and now he is the most important stone of all. 12Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.
13The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were, and they knew that these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus. 14But they could not deny what had happened. The man who had been healed was standing there with the apostles.

15The officials commanded them to leave the council room. Then the officials said to each other, 16"What can we do with these men? Everyone in Jerusalem knows about this miracle, and we cannot say it didn't happen. 17But to keep this thing from spreading, we will warn them never again to speak to anyone about the name of Jesus." 18So they called the two apostles back in and told them that they must never, for any reason, teach anything about the name of Jesus.
19Peter and John answered, "Do you think God wants us to obey you or to obey him? 20We cannot keep quiet about what we have seen and heard."
21-22The officials could not find any reason to
punish Peter and John. So they threatened them and let them go. The man who was healed by this miracle was more than forty years old, and everyone was praising
God for what had happened.

Peter and Others Pray for Courage
23As soon as Peter and John had been set free, they went back and told the others everything that the chief priests and the leaders had said to them. 24When the rest of the Lord's followers heard this, they prayed together and said:
Master, you created heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 25And by the Holy Spirit you spoke to our ancestor David. He was your servant, and you told him to say:
"Why are all
the Gentiles
so furious?
Why do
make foolish plans?
kings of earth
prepare for war,
the rulers
join together
against the
and his Messiah."
27Here in Jerusalem, Herod [a] and Pontius Pilate got together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel. Then they turned against your holy Servant [b] Jesus, your chosen Messiah. 28They did what you in your power and wisdom had already decided would happen. 29Lord, listen to their threats! We are your servants. So make us brave enough to speak your message. 30Show your mighty power, as we heal people and work miracles and wonders in the name of your holy Servant Jesus.
31After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message.

Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
Acts 4:27 Servant: See the note at
Copyright © 1995 by American
Bible Society

Can you bravely speak God's message?
Sometimes I can.
Sometimes I can't.
I wonder why?

Were You There?

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

Were you there when Jesus
told Satan "No"?
+ Matthew 4:10

Were you there when Jesus
told them He must die?
+ Matthew 16: 21

St. Margaret's Newsletter is On-Line

The St. Margaret's Newsletter is now 0n-line:
St. Margaret's Newsletter March 2006

Thank you to Bill Lewellis and the Diocese of Bethlehem Blog: DioBeth newSpin.

Check them out!