Solitude, Seen by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 24, 2017

 

ocean waves and rocks

Solitude, Seen by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I know very little about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, other than the fact she was married to Charles Lindbergh (first person to make the solo transatlantic flight in May 1927). I was unexpectedly moved by the excerpt from her writing A Gift from the Sea, a meditation on marriage. She wrote this while in complete solitude for a month, on an island on the Atlantic shore. [1]

Her primary interest and topic—judging from this short excerpt—seems to be marriage and relationship. However, solitude as a spiritual discipline weaves in and out of her writing.

“A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules….First touch, intimate touch of the personal and particular (the chores in the kitchen, the talk by the fire); then the loss of intimacy in the great stream of the impersonal and abstract (the silent beach, the bowl of stars overhead).” [2]

As Morrow Lindbergh describes the on-again, off-again nature of closeness, I see her repeated reference to the ebb and flow of the tide. “Is there not a clue to the problem of relationships as a whole? Is there not here even a hint of an understanding and an acceptance of the wingèd life of relationships, of their eternal ebb and flow, of their inevitable intermitteency?” [3]

As someone who has been in a long-term relationship myself, I can see how this “inevitable intermittency” can be an actuality for many. Solitude for a whole month might appeal more to my husband than to me, yet I can see places and rhythms where solitude has some definite attraction.

Interesting that this reading suggests that I examine my relationship with my husband. (and, similar to others, who might be led to take a closer look at their own significant relationships) Dear God, thank You for this different kind of internal viewing and questioning, where I am not only examining myself and my internal Self, but I am also led to examine my marriage and close relationship. Help me to take an honest and gentle assessment. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayers.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 141.

[2] Ibid, 142.

[3] Ibid, 143.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

Sweet Simplicity of Clare of Assisi

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 22, 2017

simplicity, flowers

Sweet Simplicity of Clare of Assisi

When I read about saints of the Church, I often feel so inadequate. Clare of Assisi, for example. She took a vow of poverty, and lived a life of simplicity. The others in her community followed her into the privilege of poverty, too.

As I read about Clare, I wonder, why is it so very difficult for me to part with my stuff? I know my husband and I live in a small apartment. Sure, it’s crowded here, but we don’t have a huge house, with lots of furniture, electronic toys and an extra vacation cottage, boat, or snowmobile…

I ask again: WHY is it so SO very difficult for me to give up some of my stuff?

As Clare wrote to the Blessed Agnes:

“O God-centered poverty,/whom the Lord Jesus Christ

Who ruled and now rules heaven and earth,

Who spoke and things were made,/condescended to embrace before all else!” [1]

 

Clare considered it a privilege to live the simple life, and strove to be poor. She considered that way of life “to be strengthened in His holy service, and to progress from good to better, from virtue to virtue.” [2] Good grief, such sentiments seem to be far beyond anyone’s reach. (I guess that might be why she was considered a saint…)

From virtue to virtue. Dear Lord, what a thing to strive for. Help me—help all of us—to simplify our lives and to lighten our loads that we carry through this life. Thank You for Clare of Assisi’s example in dealing with these great issues of life. In Your Son’s blessed name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

 

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 135.

[2] Ibid, 136.

George Fox’s View of Simplicity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 21, 2017

simplicity, cursive.jpg

George Fox’s View of Simplicity

The Society of Friends is an example to me of great simplicity. George Fox founded that Society (also known as the Quakers), and the reading for today was a small selection of passages from Fox’s Journal.

His Journal is an experiential memoir and a spiritual and religious recounting of his travels (and travails). Amazing recounting at times, including a situation where Fox healed a woman: “I was moved to speak to her, and in the name of the Lord bid her to be quiet; and she was so. The Lord’s power settled her mind, and she mended.” [1]

This is Pentecostal power, indeed. Not often seen nowadays, here in the United States. However, I fully believe that God could manifest healing power in that way (if God chose).

Yes, this Journal has many instances of personal communication of our Lord Jesus with George Fox, without benefit of an intermediary. This cemented the opportunity of personal interaction with God even more thoroughly in George Fox’s mind. He preached that opportunity, and was repeatedly thrown into prison.

However, I am equally impressed by Fox raising up the statement of heavenly power through healings: “Many great and wonderful things were wrought by the heavenly power in those days; for the Lord made bare His omnipotent arm, and manifested His power, to the astonishment of many, by the healing virtue whereby many have been delivered from great infirmities.” [2]

There is an older meeting house in my town, a suburb of Chicago. (One of the original buildings here! A lovely, mostly wooden structure.) Yes, I have worshiped there with the other Friends, and yes, I would do it again, like a shot. Marvelous place of worship. Wonderful powerhouse of prayer. Incredible legacy, started by Fox in England, carried across the Atlantic, and brought to the Midwest more than two centuries ago. I hope that peace and peaceable-ness may increase. Lord, may it be so!

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 130.

[2] Ibid.

Simplicity, According to Martin Luther

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 19, 2017

Matt 6-31 worry word cloud

Simplicity, According to Martin Luther

I just love Martin Luther. Perhaps it is because I was baptized, confirmed, and brought up in the Lutheran Church. Perhaps it was because I read some of Martin Luther’s writings in high school, as well as a biography and several church history books about him. (So, yes. I do know a few things about Martin.)

It was with great joy that I read this selection from Martin’s writings on the Sermon on the Mount, specifically 6:25-34.

I considered Martin’s heartfelt, plain-spoken words to hit the nail on the head: “Now, since the birds have learned so well the art of trusting [God] and of casting their cares from themselves upon God, we who are His children should do so even more….When we listen to the little birds singing every day, we are listening to our own embarrassment before God and the people….Here you have another example and analogy; according to it, the little flowers in the field, which cattle trample and eat, are to become our theologians and masters and to embarrass us still further.” [1]

Yes, I felt the sting of Martin Luther’s words. (I think his words were supposed to sting!) Yes, sting, and convict our hearts. When Martin finally comes around to verses 31 and 32 (“Now let these illustrations persuade you to lay aside your anxiety and your unbelief and to remember that you are Christians and not heathen.”), suddenly it is as if the sun has come out, flowers bloom and birds sing gaily. “[God] will not forsake you. He is faithful and willing to take special care of you Christians, because as has been said, He cares for the birds of the air as well.” [2]

Talk about having faith and trust in simplicity! Martin Luther had it in abundance. When I feel as if the anxiety or stress is growing by leaps and bounds, I can halt, quiet myself internally, take stock, and try to calm myself. Center myself. Breathe, slow down, and loosen up the tight muscles, shoulders and back. It really does help to make things more manageable. (Can I get an “amen” to that?)

Dear Lord, thank You for this wonderful example. Thank You for reminding me about Martin Luther, and about his view of scripture and of faith and trust. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 122.

[2] Ibid, 124.

Simplicity, Seen by A.W. Tozer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 18, 2017

simplicity_in_action

Simplicity, Seen by A.W. Tozer

Somehow, I find myself agreeing with Reverend Tozer about this spiritual discipline, completely. As I zero in on his description of “things,” it seems to me to be so right. Hitting the nail right on the proverbial head. Let’s just sample what he says:

“Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply “things.” They were made for man’s use, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him.” [1]

Wow. Double wow. Those three sentences are densely packed. Let’s take just a couple of thoughts that quote spark in my mind.

“Useful and pleasant:” that implies these “things” were brought into being as beneficial and even fun, not to mention useful and needful. Moreover, humans are to take pleasure in these “things.” (What a concept!) Even further, humans must figure out a positive and encouraging (not to mention ‘nurturing’) relationship to have with “things.”

That means, no spree buying, no hoarding, no addiction, no gambling, no workaholism. What’s more, that means no jealousy, no anger (over things), and no coveting (either things or people who own things). I can well see how Rev. Tozer talks so freely about “the tyranny of things.”

Dear Lord, what (or, who) do I want or crave or can’t live without? Please, Lord, help me to understand myself better, and turn over the tyranny in my own life and heart. Help me to strive to live a simpler life.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 111.

Phoebe Palmer and Her Study

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 17, 2017

bible studies

Phoebe Palmer and Her Study

I don’t know quite how to say this, but I couldn’t get into Phoebe Palmer. I sort of understand that she is a big deal, and considered an awesome spiritual and religious writer. Except, her writing and I just did not connect in a meaningful way.

Hypothetical question: what happens if you have no idea of what is going on in the short reading you have for homework? That is, other than following the very bare bones outline—sort of. What then? What if you need to write a one-page response about that reading?

Well, one way to handle it is to do kinda what I’m doing: talk about how it’s difficult to talk about an article you did not quite understand.

I agree with Richard Foster. “To us today Phoebe Palmer’s ‘shorter way’ seems terribly convoluted and torturous. We simply do not have the history of searching and struggling to enter ‘the way of holiness’ that characterized the ‘saints’ of Palmer’s day.” [1] Now, I have read some rather obscure Christian writings, and enjoyed them. (Some people wouldn’t read those various types of writing. I was glad to!) I tend to be accepting, even of alternative topics. Not, I suspect, like Ms. Palmer. She seems a bit esoteric and distant to me. (Sorry, Ms. Palmer.)

Gee, out of sixteen writers, only one did not connect with me. I consider that pretty great! Perhaps tomorrow will bring a different kind of writer. Lord willing!

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 105.

J.B. Phillips’s Take on Study

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 16, 2017

bible studies, bible

 

J.B. Phillips’s Take on Study

I love J.B. Phillips’s modern translation of the New Testament.

He was an Anglican clergyman in wartime London who was concerned about young people, and how they could not relate to the antiquated language of the Bible. So, he translated a few letters of the New Testament into contemporary language. Encouraged by the reactions to his translations, he went on the translate the entire New Testament. [1]

I was particularly interested in Rev. Phillips’s personal appreciation for the translation process. Having done a bit of translation myself (from the Greek), I’ve gotten a taste for how exciting and enlightening it can be! Translation led him on “a personal journey of discovery…[he was] delighted to get in closer touch with first-century Christians. He also [was] glad that he can bring his readers closer to Jesus Christ.” [2]

I’d like to highlight one “serendipity” that J.B. Phillips lifts up, in his personal testimony. On translating 1 John 1:20, Rev. Phillips found himself needing to step back. “…there may be many factors in our lives for which we are not really to blame at all. We did not choose our heredity; we did not choose the bad, indifferent, or excellent way in which we were brought up….It is almost as if John is saying, ‘If God loves us, who are we to be so high and mighty as to refuse to love ourselves?’” [3]

What a striking insight. This really causes me to thank God yet again that I am His follower. Not a blind follower, heedlessly following, lurching along, but following God using my intellect, my senses, and my insights. (Also, using others’ insights, gleaned from decades of study.)

How amazing is God’s Word. Thank You, God, for the awesome majesty of Your Word, the Bible. Help us read, chew, ruminate, digest, and comprehend Your word. In Your name we pray.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 93.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 95.