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Friday, January 20, 2006

St. Sebastian

May the same grace that brought St. Sebastian into the arms of Christ through the martyrs path be with us. For those in deep persecution and for all the faithful in their daily spiritual sacrifices, St. Sebastian, pray for us.

by H. Martin
20 January 2006

Body broken, pierced by arrows,
Sebastian knew and felt the sorrow.

Called by God to simply trust,
Faced the hate that doubt did thrust.

Roman soldiers, courage known,
Sebastian something more did own.

Called to serve the King of Kings,
A holy joy his life would sing.

Strength, courage, faith he shared,
with those cringing under persecutors glare.

Strength and character much admired,
the Roman court was inspired.

“Honor Rome, the world is yours”,
Sebastian faced the tempters throne.

Pleasure, pride, senses heed,
let your noble flesh be pleased.

While admired, sought by men,
to serve and be their pleasing friend,

Sebastian heard a greater need,
from the soul of men did plead.

“Fill the empty void I know,
while pleasure, power, pride do flow”.

Empty hearts do ache and long,
for love, for purpose, to belong.

Sebastian heard the desperate plea
and to Christ he did flee.

Finding there Love’s full embrace,
he found the courage with to face.

Doubts and fears, hatred strong,
for those denying Satan’s song.

Called to choose whom to serve,
Sebastian for the Christ did yearn.

Doubt in hate the arrows lust
for his body with killing thrust.

Left to die the martyrs death,
arrows failed his life to quench.

Holy care a sister gave,
life remained, courage brave.

Doubt and hate, pride did hear,
so chose to attack again their fears.

Clubs assailed, the body pierced,
crushing breaking his noble face.

Sebastian’s holy body died.
Sisters, brothers , faithful cried.

Tears of love they did know,
tears of joy even more so flowed.

Sebastian brave, in holy love
shared with us his martyrs blood.

Bringing to all who will,
the hope, the love of Christ to fill.

Persecution still does flow,
from doubt and hatred’s brutal blows.

Called to Christ to love, to live,
in simple faith and courage give.

Our lives in trust and love for Him,
who frees us from the chains of sin.

Free to follow, serve and fight,
in the quest for holy life.

Saint Sebastian for us pray
that with courage we may stay,

Close to our Holy King
So His praise and love to sing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rain, winds, floods, mud and debris ushered in the New Year. While the weather has mostly cleared there is still a lot of clean-up being done. Roads especially take a beating in this sort of weather. from potholes, mudslides and flood damaged bridges we find that the normal path of life can be disrupted. Sometimes this is for a brief period. it may be just an ongoing aggravation as we detour around a slide, a pothole or wash out. Some roads may face extended closures. The picture in this blog is the First Street Bridge over the Russian River just below flood peak. Our neighbors to the south in Geyserville are facing an unknown time of closure of the Hwy. 128 Bridge over the river. It was significantly damaged during the flood.
Having worked "flood duty" for many years (American Red Cross, Twin Hills-Gold Ridge Fire District, Calif. Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection) I was especially constrained to pray for both victims and responders during these challenges. Floods bring many hazards and challenges but one in particular is that they tend to impact those involved for extended periods of time. A fire or accident can be a tragedy that can change lives profoundly. However they tend to be of fairly short duration. The recovery or rebuilding may be extended but the actual crises is usually short, yet painful.
Floods are usually more prolonged in there assault on our lives. They are usually preceded by a stormy siege (in an of itself problem laden). Some floods are gradual with time to prepare and respond. Flash floods can occur very quickly with horrendous results. Here in Northern California we face both. The actual flood can occur for hours, days or even weeks. Then comes the clean-up and rebuilding. That can take years. All this brings about the reality of flood-fatigue. This is the condition that sets in when victims or responders run out of adrenalin and the harsh muck and stench of the damage is recognized.
Storms, floods and the damage and decay they bring are sometimes the seeming condition of life on a broader scale. In personal struggles, family or work challenges we can often face sieges of harsh weather. Then come the actual floods of life. Sickness, financial troubles, relationship losses all can overwhelm and inundate the individual or family. While we may face the early tides of trouble in our own strength,soon we all can face the exhaustion of flood-fatigue.
The pictures at the top of this blog are of our flooding river. While the river was flooding, just to the northeast of the bridge the rainbow appeared. Once again I was reminded that it is in the storms and floods of life that we discover the promises, the strength and provision of Christ. It is in our need, fatigue and weakness that we experience the epiphanies of Emmanuel, God with us.