Condoleezza Rice is no stranger to turning toward hope in a time of fear.
Condoleezza Rice is no stranger to turning toward hope in a time of fear.
One of the advantages of living in the 21st century is our ability to have a perspective on the thousands of years of religious history.
“Peerless is this Day, for it is as the eye to past ages and centuries, and as a light unto the darkness of the times,” Baha’i writings say.
Pentecost is Sunday (May 31). Laurie Kurgas, director of the InSpirit Healing Rooms of Los Altos and Saratoga, offers the following reflections. She can be reached at [email protected].
As we face battles in life, we may feel powerless, weak in our own ability. Perhaps regularly, or perhaps at some time when we reach a breaking point, we fall to our knees and call upon the One who can help, the One who made us and loves us just as we are.
Oftentimes, we don’t realize that the battles we face in the physical world actually have a spiritual root or dimension. The enemy creates strongholds that we fall victim to or that keep us in captivity. When Jesus walked on Earth, He taught us how to call upon our Heavenly Father, how to pray to Him. And, Jesus showed us that He is the way to heaven. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus promised that God would send us a gift, power from on high – that we would receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as a Counselor, the Spirit of Truth and One who teaches us and reminds us of what Jesus has said.
On the day of Pentecost, the 50th day after Passover, the followers of Jesus were acting according to what Jesus had instructed, waiting for the gift that God had promised. While they were assembled together, suddenly there was a sound like a great wind from heaven that filled the whole place, and tongues of fire separated and came upon each follower of Jesus. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were speaking in tongues. Wind and fire represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was an amazing, holy, supernatural encounter. And, it’s a gift that we receive as we accept Jesus as our Savior and are baptized in the Holy Spirit.
In the Bible, we read about the “armor of God.” He has given us spiritual weapons with which to fight the battles that we face on Earth. We must put on this armor. And it says that we must pray in the Spirit on all occasions. There is power when we pray in the Spirit. It’s one of the gifts that God gives us, to fight the battles with His power.
This year, Pentecost is on May 31. Let us prepare for this day, asking the Holy Spirit to come upon us with power, that we may stand together, united in Christ, to fight the battles we face. I share with you my recent journal reflection on the power of prayer, hoping that it encourages you and strengthens you, with blessings from God.
I don’t pray because I’m strong,
I pray because I’m weak.
Unable to move the mountains with my own power.
I know to call upon the heavenly forces,
To beckon the Almighty, the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit,
To partner with God, to align with His will,
To seek His wisdom and discernment, guidance,
To be set free.
I also pray to become strong. In Him.
Jesus gives us power and authority.
I pray to learn His ways, to glean from Scripture.
I pray to surrender …
my preconceived notions
my fleshly desires
my sinful ways
my worldly influences
I pray to commune with my Heavenly Father
To draw strength from Jesus
To walk in the power of the Holy Spirit
To be in relationship with this personal Trio of love, hope, joy.
I pray because I’m strong.
God says – my prayers have an impact, prayers of faith.
Prayers of the righteous. (They availeth much.)
My prayers have power – change things;
Bring about Truth and Justice, Love and Strength,
Protection and Healing, Deliverance and Freedom.
Don’t stop praying.
The enemy tries to stop us
from praising and praying
because he knows their power.
Don’t waste this Power
Pray without ceasing.
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions.
Praise in all circumstances – these release Power
in the Heavenly realms.
What is Prayer?
Relationship encounters of communication
With the Almighty God, Creator of all,
Father, Savior, Healer, Counselor, Eternal Spirit.
Glorifying the One True God, Jesus the Son, The Holy Spirit.
Thanking. Celebrating. Rejoicing.
Explosion of Gratitude.
Leaders of 11 Silicon Valley faith-based and nonprofit groups are scheduled to convene on Zoom 6 p.m. today (May 5) to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to do more for undocumented essential workers during the pandemic.
More than 1,000 people are expected to participate, including members of the California Industrial Areas Foundation and several state legislators.
Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills is among the leaders of the Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee coordinating the event. Other participants include Christ Episcopal Church of Los Altos and Trinity United Methodist Church of Mountain View.
Organizers said one out of 10 workers is an undocumented immigrant. The labor such immigrants contribute is overwhelmingly in jobs deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic – agriculture, food production, food distribution, food service, child care and elder care, among other industries. The federal government has excluded undocumented immigrants from relief, and Newsom’s initiatives to date provide only small cash payments to fewer than 7% of the state’s 2.2 million immigrant workers.
“This is morally wrong. Immigrant workers pay $3.2 billion in state and local taxes. They should not have to rely on charity to keep their families fed and safe,” said the Rev. Shelley Booth Denney, rector of The Episcopal Church in Almaden. “It is also careless from a public health and economic perspective. This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for Silicon Valley’s entire economy.”
Even without jobs, many in the undocumented community continue to give back. Santa Maria Urban Ministry in San Jose reported an uptick in volunteers. Immigrant workers who are worried about paying rent and utilities but who have come out to help others in their situation include Luis and Gerardo, who worked in construction; Edgar and Eliseo, who lost their jobs in a local food court; and Manuel and Lucia, bakery workers who find themselves unemployed due amid the pandemic.
“Immigrant workers literally feed and take care of Silicon Valley’s families,” said Congregation Beth Am Associate Rabbi Jonathan Prosnit. “Our congregation is especially concerned about the child care workforce, which was on thin ice even before the pandemic. Home-based providers – with their low margins and reliance on immigrant caregivers – are at particular risk. If they go under, Silicon Valley’s parents will not be able to return to work once the shelter-in-place order is lifted, especially those with infants and toddlers who are primarily served by in-home programs and family friend and neighbor providers.”
The faith-based organizations plan to ask Newsom to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to all workers who pay taxes, including a large number of undocumented immigrants. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites an analysis of the economic impact of a federal EITC in California, which found that payments contributed to more than $5 billion in business sales in the state and helped add nearly 30,000 jobs.
Meeting participants represent eight organizations from across the state, all of which are affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a leadership development and organizing network.
The Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee is a nonpartisan network of civic associations, faith-based organizations and nonprofit groups that develop the leadership capacity of their members to effect change on a larger scale than they could alone. Funders include the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real.
Local places of worship are also being closed due to public health orders against mass gatherings. The Diocese of San Jose has announced all public, daily and Sunday Masses will be suspended until further notice beginning Saturday, March 14.
This follows the Diocese announcement that all school facilities have closed. Local Diocese parishes and schools include St. Simon and St. Nicholas.
Bishop Oscar Cantu said the Diocese will provide livestream coverage of Masses. For more information, visit dsj.org/coronavirus.
It was a time of great turmoil in Ethiopia. Young men were frequently rounded up by the military and killed. And Ethiopian-born Minas Hiruy, who had spent the past 20 years pursuing higher education in the United States, had a decision to make – stay in the safety of the U.S. or return to his dangerous, war-torn nation of birth.
Hiruy had received a call from Jack Smith, founder of Hope Enterprises, which served the extreme poor. Smith asked him to return to Ethiopia, a land in much need of hope, and run the organization.