Memorial Day Commentary and Reflection on BELONGING: Themes from Paul’s Letter to Romans

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, 1 January 1970, Dak To, Vietnam, Listed on February 7, 1978 as Killed In Action, March 24, 1970:

If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
(Note: See the end of this email for reflections about Memorial Day.)
BELONGING: Themes from Paul’s Letter to Romans

Of Heirs (A Theme from Romans)

Every man is his own ancestor, and every man is his own heir. He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past. — Frederick Henry Hedge

Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends.It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs. ― Steve Saint

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Inspired by St Francis, plus hope responding to shootings & earthquakes & volcanoes & hurricanes & fires

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures — Excerpt from Canticle of the Sun by St Francis of Assisi

“Hope” is the thing with feathers – (314)
Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


Hope & Purpose

There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster. ― Dalai Lama XIV

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose ― Viktor Frankl

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. — Robert Kennedy

The spiritual task of life is to feed hope. Hope is not something to be found outside of us. It lies in the spiritual life we cultivate within. — Joan Chittister

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness. —Desmond Tutu

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly – but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. — Nelson Mandela

You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful. — Marie Curie

Western civilization places so much emphasis on the idea of hope that we sacrifice the present moment. Hope is for the future. It cannot help us discover joy, peace, or enlightenment in the present moment … I do not mean that you should not have hope, but that hope is not enough. Hope can create an obstacle for you, and if you dwell in the energy of hope, you will not bring yourself back entirely into the present moment. If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you. — Thich Nhat Hahn, Peace In Every Step

Violence

Violence isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem. It’s an American problem, requiring an American solution. — DaShanne Stokes

A coward’s gun is emptied when fear pulls the trigger, and hate is the ammunition of choice. ― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with The Divine Presence

In the developed world, these levels of gun violence are a uniquely American problem. — German Lopez, Vox

We’ve heard these words before. We’ve heard them far too often only to have the next mass shooting supersede the former … From Sandy Hook to Texas to Charleston to Virginia Tech to Pulse to Las Vegas…Lord, hear our cries and compel us to act. — Rev Traci Blackmon, ucc.org commentary

We’ll pray for Las Vegas, some of us will get motivated, some of us won’t get motivated. The bills will be written, they’ll get watered down, they’ll fail. … over time we’ll get distracted, and we’ll move on to the next thing. And it’ll happen again, and again. — Jimmy Kimmel

Blessing of Hope
— Jan Richardson

So may we know
the hope
that is not just
for someday
but for this day—
here, now,
in this moment
that opens to us:

hope not made
of wishes
but of substance,

hope made of sinew
and muscle
and bone,

hope that has breath
and a beating heart,

hope that will not
keep quiet
and be polite,

hope that knows
how to holler
when it is called for,

hope that knows
how to sing
when there seems
little cause,

hope that raises us
from the dead—

not someday
but this day,
every day,
again and
again and
again.

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