Tag Archives: anger

More Devastation. More Prayers.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, September 8, 2017

Psalm 23-4 though I walk through valley shadow death

More Devastation. More Prayers.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer certainly faced a great deal of devastation in his life, as well as the lives of those he was close to, and the lives of those in the congregations he served.

I suspect he knew well the words of Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” Although that verse was written so long ago by King David, remembering the times when he was so very afraid (yes—afraid for his very life), that verse echoes and re-echoes down the crooked pathways of time. Sometimes through dark and fearsome valleys, sometimes through pelting storms and fiery trials. Yet, King David’s words ring true, for many, many people throughout the ages.

I know those words from Psalm 23, personally as well as professionally. I have pulled them out of my Bible in emergency rooms, in the intensive care unit, in living rooms, even sitting on street corners or in waiting rooms. People have spoken these precious words from Psalm 23 along with me. Other times, people have been too choked up to even utter a word, and silently allowed these words of comfort to wash over them.

Dear Lord, whether in grief, or pain, or anger, or trauma, we hurt. We cry out. We question. We wonder, “WHY?” (And, there is rarely an answer. An answer that satisfies, that is … )

Gracious God, You have said You would be right by our sides, even though we go through those extremely difficult experiences. Even though our parents—or siblings—or spouses—or children die. Even though we lose our homes, or limbs, or jobs, or even countries. Even though we may become refugees or homeless or incarcerated or even suicidal. Dear Lord, You have promised to remain with us. Right by our sides. Perhaps even holding our hands, through the trial or torment.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “the answer of God to the world that nailed Christ to the cross [was] blessing…. The world would have no hope if this were not so.” [1]

Only a love that extraordinary could possibly encompass my fear and suffering and hopelessness. And, encompass the griefs, pains, angers, traumas, and all of the countless sufferings of all of the rest of the world. God provides hope where there is no hope. God comes alongside when it seems as if there is nothing left. Thank God. Thank God for being there through Hurricane Harvey, and with Hurricanes Irma, José and Katia coming quickly. Dear God, help us. Please.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 89.

Hildegard of Bingen Urges Confession

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 12, 2017

confession, word

Hildegard of Bingen Urges Confession

Hildegard was a woman who stood head and shoulders above all those around her. She lived in the 1100’s, and was extremely unusual for that time—a literate woman who was a published author, administrator, visionary, and person with the gift of prophecy. Plus, she went on regular speaking engagements, later in her life.

All of this striving and working to further God’s work in the world! The excerpt from one of Hildegard’s writings is entitled “Letter to Christian Laypeople.” This is a solemn reminder to turn from the devil and his works and ways.

Hildegard wrote about the clear dichotomy between secular and religious, and how far even changing climate and legal responsibilities can be, adding to the persistent uproar. Hildegard mentions the death of some shameful experiences, the idea of wanting desperately, or even anger at not being chosen.

Are we able to write out the happenings of the day, and become deeply involved in the confession of what we have done as well as by what we have left undone? What about those in Hildegard’s time? She is, indeed, pointing out several sad areas of many, in the 12th century, the 21st century, and everything in between.

What Hildegard is suggesting is called by yet another name: the practice of examen. Would that more Christians had this practice as a regular part of their spiritual lives. Confession of sins and places where people fall short is a sure way to a closer walk with God. As the Apostle Paul says, “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14) Prudent advice, whether it comes from Hildegard of Bingen, Billy Graham, or some other spiritual director.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, allow each of us to monitor our lives in such a fashion as is pleasing to You, and take corrective measures when necessary. In Jesus’s powerful 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

Just Sit There—and Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, January 10, 2017

sit-in-pew-praying

Just Sit There—and Pray

“Don’t just sit there—do something!”

These words, above, are not the best of advice. I have found that I do better when I take my time, and consider my actions. Thich Nhat Hanh has much better advice: sit, and do nothing. (At least, initially. And, sometimes, more often that.)

Non-action is already an action. (So, there.) Plus, as the good monk says in the book “How to Sit,” “The quality of the action depends upon the quality of the non-action.” [1]

I sincerely try to avoid anger and worry. If I have even a little of anger and concern inside, I find it gums up the works.

It’s part of my One-Day-At-A-Time way of living. I don’t always succeed in living this way, but ODAAT certainly helps me in being mindful. This way of thinking I have always found to be positive. Just taking my time, being thoughtful, thankful, and mindful.

Thanks, God! Great suggestions.

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 21.

@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

Not Alone on the Journey

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 22, 2015

winter road

Not Alone on the Journey

I participated in a Blue Christmas service last night. This service was especially for people who feel disconnected from the holiday, for any number of reasons. Yes, grieving, but also losses. Fear, anxiety, anger. Any one of a number of negative feelings.

There was a time of sharing in the service, and several people mentioned feeling lonely. Even desperately lonely, even though they were in the midst of a crowd of people.

Have you ever felt that way? (I know I have.) Even though you knew the people surrounding you, there was a disconnect. A separation. A desperate loneliness …

That’s what it’s like in this fallen world. Disconnected and separated from each other, fighting, bickering, misunderstanding, jealousy, anger, fear. (And that’s just considering one representative person and their extended family.) Imagine that experience multiplied countless times. Now you are starting to realize the magnitude of the sadness, of the difficulty the God of love had in reconciling the world.

Henri Nouwen mentioned the mystery of Christmas “that continues to give us comfort and consolation; we are not alone on our journey.” [1] That is one big reason why God became man, why God emptied Himself and became a tiny baby named Jesus.

How unimaginable—that the God who created heaven and earth, who holds the universe between the span of the fingers on one hand, could empty Godself of all God-ness. How amazing. How miraculous. Jesus came to journey with us through life, to walk and talk and sit by our sides. So we wouldn’t ever be lonely again.

It is almost Christmas. Almost here. Emmanuel, God with us. Come, Lord Jesus! Maranatha!

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 48.

Enemies of the Spiritual Life?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 4, 2015

Cross - crucifixion

Enemies of the Spiritual Life?

“The two main enemies of the spiritual life [are] anger and greed. They are the inner side of a secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependencies.” [1]

Ah, anger and greed. Those two again. Two of the seven deadly sins, certainly.

Anger is so often my response when I do not get what I want, or when I feel deprived. Why do I keep getting angry, over and over and over again?

Greed … covetousness. I want what I want when I want it. *stamps foot*

My goodness! Between both of these “seven deadly sins,” I do a pretty convincing job of playing a petulant, spoiled child. Even though I don’t like to think of myself that way, I guess I do end up acting like this more often than I would like.

So, what is one solution? (I know there are more. Thank God. But, one is all I need right now.)

This reading gives me Romans 12:2 as one solution – “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The words of Fr. Nouwen are so appropriate, in closing. “Help us to sever our dependencies on the world’s distractions and give us an opportunity to find ourselves in the shelter and safety of Your wings.”

Even so, help me draw closer to You, Lord Jesus. In Your name I pray, amen

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 14.

Prayer in the Midst of Darkness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 29, 2015

God brightens my darkness - Psalm

Prayer in the Midst of Darkness

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.

For Advent and Christmas in December, we will be following Fr. Henri Nouwen. I have a book of Advent and Christmas reflections. “Wisdom,” as the slim volume is subtitled.

I would have thought the hustle and bustle of the holidays captured most people’s attention, in November and December. Not prayer. At most, I would consider prayer to be tied for a distant second, as far as importance is concerned. Alas, relationship! Sometimes, it’s as if it’s difficult for people get expectant about the holidays. Expectant about the coming of the Christ Child.

Fr. Nouwen addresses us. That is, most of the parishioners are addressed; those who can pay attention to a message from God. See whether you can pay attention!

“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow part of his roots.” – Isaiah 11:1

God, encourage us to seek out the task you give to us, O more Difficult One. The challenging task we have before us is one filled with anger, fear, and dismay. True, only a stump can be seen. What can come from an old, dead stump? Yet, God can bring forth miracles. God can bring forth hope.

Because of biblical hope, thank you. Thank you, dear Lord, gracious God.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

(also published at http://www.matterofprayer.net

Another Step in the Daily Examen

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, May 18, 2015

my heart saying a prayer

Another Step in the Daily Examen

Feelings can be wonderful. If I feel fluffy, warm, fuzzy feelings, that lets me know I have a more positive, cheery outlook on life. On the other hand, if I feel sad and down in the dumps, my outlook on life is radically different. Negative. Unpleasant, even.

I don’t want to say that every time my spirits are low it’s a time for me to take advantage—no, I usually just pipe down, go quietly and leave. Usually, that is.

Detaching from my emotions can be helpful, especially since it’s often useful for me to hold these same emotions at arm’s length. Even still, close examination of the emotions behind my thoughts, ideas, and actions takes a good deal of courage.

This is the third day we are gleaning what we can learn from the website on Ignatian prayer: Pay close attention to your feelings, and see where the emotion takes us. We can see what this website has for us, today.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?”

Hmm. Great questions, Lord!

Now is the time for reflection and prayer. I can take the opportunity to be honest and open, no matter what. Thanks, Lord! You’re the best.

@chaplaineliza

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

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .