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May 10, 2004
This morning's eMo consists of two different meditations on the texts for next Sunday's worship. The first is the usual sermon prep eMo, and the second focusses specifically on the Church's work with the poor through the ministryof Episcopal Relief and Development. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27

You open your eyes in the first grey light of morning. For a moment you just feel the goodness of it: the clean sheets, the silence. And then you remember what happened last night. All is not well. You said things you shouldn't have said. Or maybe you should have said them, but you should have put them a different way.

You open your eyes in the first grey of morning. At first, you forget where you are, and think that you're at home. But the bed is uncomfortable and the guy in the next bunk is snoring. Your wife never snores. You're not at home. You're in a tent outside Tikrit.

You open your eyes in the first grey of a Chechnyan morning and at first you forget where you are. Then you remember what happened last night, that the president upon who you have pinned all your hopes for peace has been killed.

You open your eyes in the first grey of morning and for a moment you forget about the money. But then you remember everything, that it's the money is due this week and you don't know where you're going to get it.

You open your eyes in the first grey of morning and for a moment you forget about the cancer. Then you remember, and you deflate like a sad balloon.

Peace I give to you, my own peace I leave with you. Life is hard, but peace does not come only from life being easy. Whatever you must face in the week to come, I am with you. I will give you peace in your heart and peace in your mind so that their energies can be focussed on the tasks at hand. I will give you the consciousness of small joys -- the song of birds, the sound of your music, the taste of food, the sight of flowers. I will give you peace, whatever the world dishes out. You will take things one step at a time. One step at a time, you will get through what you must go through.


And here is the sermon meditation about Episcopal Relief and Development's mission to the poor and those who suffer -- in this case, in El Salvador.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. John 14:26

El Salvador: America's war-torn neighbor to the South, flash point of Cold War politics during the 1980s. Whole villages destroyed -- men, women and children too young to know what a political opinion was..

But even after the war was over, the pain of El Salvador continued. Natural disasters -- Hurricane Mitch in 1998, two major earthquakes early in 2001 -- ravaged half the nation's crops and a quarter of all its housing. Today, as a result of one or all of these disasters, half the population lives in poverty.

But Episcopal Relief and Development has partnered with the Diocese of El Salvador and Fundacion Cristosal, a nonprofit Episcopal Agency, to address the people's urgent needs. In the communities of Izalco, Congo, Cara Sucia and San Juan de Letran, hit hard by poverty and sudden homelessness, when it would be easy to defer anything but the most current of these needs, what is ERD building?

Schools. Four new schools, one in each of these poor communities. Because the legacy of destruction in El Salvador -- and everywhere else -- will yield to the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, will teach us all things.

Already families have built new homes, real homes of their own. They've even got the mortgages to prove it. And the money they pay on their mortgages goes to maintain and operate the schools their children attend. Life will be better for those children than it has been for anyone in El Salvador for a long time.

Homes. A mortgage. Kids in school. For us, no big deal. Normal life.

For them, very heaven.


For more on the work of the Church in El Salvador through ERD, go to To read about Fundacion Cristosal, go to
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