Poems and Prayers

When asked to reflect on what God might be saying to the Church of the Brethren in this time, Travis Poling wrote:

I have watched you grow up for 300 years. When your church started, you were so careful not to be like any other church. You saw the hypocrisy that I revealed to you and risked everything to follow me. As your small church met obstacles that kept my children from sharing my joy and love, you boldly stood up to them, each of you helping me to remove the bricks from the foundation that supports everything that saddens me. You even climbed to the top of the foundation with me and began transforming hatred into love, lies into truth, anger into understanding, and war into peace. I was glad to call you my own.

That was too long ago. You have forgotten that I once lead you to be a light on the hill. You abandoned that lamp and moved into the valley to become part of the world that saddens me. Instead of dreaming of a blessed community where all life is valued, you now dream only of a world full of stuff that you can make. In doing this, you've forgotten what I hoped for you. If you want, I can help. I can resolve the conflicts between you and rebuild your community so that it embodies my peace. But you have to remember me in everything you do. You have to stop looking for your best way to live and open yourself to my best way of living. You can embody peace, you can work for justice, but not without me.

Pray to me like you've never prayed before, and I will guide you toward peace.

-Travis Poling
February 2002, "Coming to Life" retreat, Camp Ithiel, Gotha, Florida.


Peace is Possible
by Carrie Fry-Miller

When Jesus said, "Love your neighbors," he wasn't just talking about those who live close by When Jesus said, "Love your enemies," he wasn't just talking about people at school When we learn to love our neighbors as well as our enemies, peace is possible

When we are taught in school not to resort to violence, can't that be taken to a more universal level? When we are taught to work together with people who we don't like, can't that be applied to the whole world? When we learn to take action, peace is possible

When we see people dying all over the world, isn't something wrong? When we see little kids learning to fight, shouldn't something be done? When we learn to take action, peace is possible

Why are people blinded by hatred and vengeance? Where are the people who believe in love and forgiveness? What makes murder by an individual and murder by a country so different? Why do people think war is okay? I am here to make my voice heard, I believe peace is possible

- Carrie Fry-Miller, a high school junior from the Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, was one of the youth who attended the DECADE TO OVERCOME VIOLENCE training held in New Windsor, MD, in November 2001.


THEY CAME

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

For a biography of Niemoller, CLICK HERE.


A PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Ruth Aukerman, Union Bridge, Maryland (Middle Atlantic District)

It is with deep grief and sorrow that we join in the tears and lamentations over the death of thousands brutally killed in New York.
We cry out to God to have mercy on us all, mercy on this nation, mercy on His world. The horrible evil we decry is not only over there beyond us, but very much a part within us.
We too, personally and collectively, have sinned and played a part in what happened on 9/11.
We confess our sins of arrogance and pride, injustice, exploitation and over consumption.
We as a church have sold out to the standards of this world, done business like it, and share in its idolatry of mammon and power.
We have forgotten that we are your people, God.
Forgive us for the part we played that led up to the disaster.
Forgive us and turn us around toward you and toward the least of these.
Give us a clean heart and renew our spirit within us.
You, who have taken all sin to the cross and share in all suffering have mercy on us.
Keep us from doing more evil, turn us away from warring madness.
We want to again be yours, totally yours.
Give us the courage to be faithful for the facing of this hour.
Circle us round God with your love, hold back the forces of death and evil within and without.
Let us live in your word and let us know that whatever is ahead you do hold your people in your hand. Amen

Last Updated: 05/14/02