Reflections in Ordinary Time

Interfaith Liturgy:

New Light and Life Prayer for Peace and Prosperity
Thursday January 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm
Wiegand Recital Hall,- BP John Bldg.

Love in Action Outreach: Please bring food items or funds to support our Second Wind Drive for the Oregon Food Bank. Now that the Holiday season is over, the poor still need our help.

P.S: Scroll Down to find our Links.

Reflections in Ordinary Time:

I got up this morning, spoke to my Lord, poured the coffee and turned on the news. …
There it was again, images of a world whirling in panic, war, and financial hysteria. As I listened to the day’s toxic prediction, the report was a cascade of chaos. The forecast was dreadful, terrible, a plunging stream of loss and fear. The numbers who suffer loss of life, liberty and happiness escalated with each report.

I can’t wrap my brain around it. Grief numbs what could become overwhelming. Yet, the very thought of Blessed Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. gives hope beyond words. I am old enough to remember him, to have found my own call in light of his commitment and courage. Martin’s radical commitment to the path of Christ as an embrace of peace and justice for all, has long nurtured my spirit. What once was a vision, what once was his dream of a better world -even in the midst of crisis- has become reality in our life and times. Barack Obama is soon to be anointed President of these United States.

This reflection goes beyond politics. Dr. Obama is far more than our first black President, he is an icon of all of us and our ancestors. Although we still have work to do, Dr. Obama evidences that the dream of equality is manifesting in our lives. He is black. He is white. He is an icon of the Native people, the Hawaiians, the Irish and all who dreamed the dreams of freedom and equality. The time is now to work to further justice and provide happiness, prosperity and dignity for all people of earth.

Can We Do It?
To be clear, there are always two versions of the human story that compete for our allegiance. The first is displayed across the crisis. Denial is foolish. The crisis is real, demanding our attention and healing. I don’t offer one of those “think positive and it will be” magical formulas.

With that said, this chaos does not possess the final definitive word in the story of our lives. We have an essential part to play in the healing of this drama. As Blessed Mother Marie Rose Durocher wrote, “We are guardians for the future.”

You and I are writing the story of life on earth. We do it together and everyone plays a part in the deconstruction or the building up.
… As I offer this reflection, I’m looking at my little three year old Jack. I find a depth of motivation for the commitment in his eyes. Let’s keep on keepin on with the dream of Martin, for Jack and all the little one’s who will inheirt our grace and wounds.

Education Holds the Key. We who are privileged to embrace the vocation of education- whether as student, teacher, staff, or administrator- offer a vision of possibility, a wellspring that nurtures the very fabric of society. Together, we unleash the healing power of vision and -through the interconnected wisdom of our disciplines- provide the tools to weave the world of tomorrow.
… Every day, in everything we do, and by who we are- we reconstruct harmonies of hope. We begin with ourselves then reach to those with whom we share life. We teach the good, shape character and refine skills that change our human destiny, one person at a time.

The unimaginable power of a liberal arts education is in its ability to celebrate the present, while honoring the past and directing the creation of a new future.
.. Our ancestors offer wisdom for these times of financial insecurity.
… Benjamin Franklin said, that “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” ...

It takes faith to believe that we can create the world that we envision. It takes faith to bind our resolve to the Omega Point of Reality, that unchangeable Presence –Who is known by many names. Those who have dared to offer language to describe such Mystery have named the Holy with words that describe our our human hungers for refuge,compassion, liberation, sustenance, love and life. It is Life Itself who calls us to craft our own healing. The Spirit relentlessly calls us into hope, calls us to believe that we have the gifts to turn this dark night into a new dawn for all people, if we believe and work like Martin.

In union with the Spirit’s grace filled audacity, we are invited to dare to believe that our work will shatter the darkness and fill the world with the Light of Hope. I believe that together we can do it. I believe it’s God’s will that we do it.

God’s will has never changed. We are called to be what we were created to be, and nothing less. We are creatures made in the image and likeness of God, created as co-creators hard-wired with the ability to recreate, to forgive, heal, learn and love.

In the beginning was the Word
The Word was with God
And through this sacred Word
All that is came to be.

The beginning is Now. The Word is love, is justice.
All that exists, all that has been or will be-coming is …Now.

In the Present Moment fully lived,
God is….
we are ….
in God….

Outside… inside time… the Holy One is…
in our experience…in our memories. Now.. in the present moment, tomorrow is not, not yet.

The Good News is, we are liberated and empowered to change the story of earth’s destiny. With Martin, we can see the promised land and dare to believe that the reign of God is at hand, is coming soon.
..The mind-blowing truth is, it is! If we have eyes to see and ears to hear we’ll recognize its incarnation into our world -even as the chaos threatens to swallow us in its rage.


And the Teacher said, “Be not afraid, the Truth will set you free.”

The Teacher was a dreamer like Martin.
And his students cried, “Truth! The truth is, the world is whirling in panic, war, financial hysteria and grief. If you want us to believe that -truth, justice and compassion can heal this world- then show us.”

The Teacher saw their fear and blessed those who would not see the dream take flesh in their lifetimes, yet who were willing to believe. I know he thought of Martin, could imagine his coming. I know he’s proud of him today.

The Teacher was not naïve; he knew the road would be hard. He had tasted fear. He stood before his students hiding nothing of the truth and promised to go before them in all things. Every scar from his journey was visible. He wore no mask to cover the wounds of his passion. Injustice, evil and hatred had ripped at his soul and had torn his body.

Martin followed his teacher in the ways of peace in defense of justice. On April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, Martin was murdered as he planned his protest against the injust conditions of the garbage workers. The Teacher had taught Martin that there were truths worth living for, worth dying for. The Teacher taught Martin how to change the world. … And Martin did. In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a revolution of the the heart.

I remember how it was. I remember the day I stood with my friend and my Mother at the bus stop. Two little 1st grade girls waiting for a ride to school in a North Carolina winter’s cold. Both little daughters of US Marines whose fathers were gone, off defending our America on some foreign soil. She was black, I, Irish.
“She can’t ride!”, the man yelled down to us.
“Well then neither will we!” said Momma. Mom and I walked with Christiana that day through the North Caroloina snow. then Momma worked to change the law. Even the military was segregated at this time and the law would not change until the 60’s with the Civil Rights Act.
Oh I remember Martin, taught his truths to thousands of students over my 30 years of teaching. But I imagined that the dream he sang would take flesh in another age.

On January 20th, 2009 the United States turns the page of history as we call forth Dr. Barack Obama in service of our people.

If we want to heal the world, like Martin we can. Even now, The Teacher stands before his students in timeless glory. Gogotha’s humiliation could not darken the power of his light or steal the depth of his love. He taught us the way. He taught the truth, the truth that will set us free.

The Teacher said, “Love one another, as I have loved you. Love the enemy. Heal the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty. Free those in bondage, protect the gifts of creation, and bring peace to the world. It is my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you. Go in peace.”

Truth is a power not contained by time or place. When injustice is identified and evil named, it dissolves in defeat. It’s only a matter of time. And contrary to current political thought, we are not running out of time.

  1. I am blown away by this soul-stirring message by Dr. Sheila O’Connell-Roussell. It is true: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – like Ghandi, like Mother Teresa and other magnificent and rare people – embodied authentic, radical congruence, complete congruence, with the countercultural values of the Gospel. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was swimming upstream, much like Christ in the ancient world. The proclamation of the Kingdom cannot always be heard, and yet it is the invitation to the exact kind of life, of love and of liberty for which, as Dr. Sheila so eloquently has written, we are “hardwired.” The ongoing commitment to peace, compassion and justice is rooted in our God-given nature, as individual human beings and as a people. Thank you, Dr. Sheila, for moving me today, with your profound thoughts. This Marylhurst University Ministry website is one that I will visit often – to nourish my soul, and to inspire me to action. This website gives me goosebumps, and deepens my thirst to learn, to know, and to do — reawakening the excitement I felt as a student in the Masters of Applied Theology program at Marylhurst. Sheila and Cecilia are among those saints and heroes who swim upstream — counter-cultural as the living Lord — making this fragile earth in 2009 a foretaste of heaven. Will be there in spirit on January 22. xoxo, Terri

  2. I really like the blog. I’ve always found Sheila fascinating and her insights profound.

    The colors and the organization are good for this blog. I’d like to see a little more differentiation between the blog itself and the rest of the content, may be lines or subtle color changes. I’d also like to see a calendar, maybe up in the upper left-hand corner. Just a standard calendar with maybe one word on the dates that there are events. Then for more information I can go to the rest of the blog page.

    On a different note, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama speak directly to me and for me as a Jew. When they advance civil rights they do so not just for Blacks but also for Jews, Chicanos, Asian-Americans and all those others whose voices have been stifled. For too long fear has driven morality into muteness. It is time, way past time to act from the wisdom of the Torah, Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha: love is the answer.

  3. Silvana Krogsrud wants to share:

    This is a passionate and profound article by Dr. Sheila. Thank you!
    In “The Measure of a Man” Dr. King makes the following statement, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. John Donne placed it in graphic terms when he affirmed, “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Then he goes on to say, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

    I will heed these prophetic words! In the spirit of Dr. King let us go to the mountaintop! In the spirit of Barack Obama let us be the change.

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