Tag Archives: both/and

PEACE is the Concept of Shalom

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 2, 2016


PEACE is the Concept of Shalom

My friend and colleague from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Joe McInnis, invited me to attend the church he pastors, in Wilmette, Illinois. I went to the contemporary service this past weekend, and talked with several people about their views on PEACE.

I was so glad Pastor Joe gave me his personal definition of PEACE: the concept of the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’

He said further, “Peace is so much more than the cessation of fighting. Peace is wholeness, health, completeness, safety, wellness, security. And, that’s just to begin with.” Pastor Joe is so right. The Hebrew concept is so much bigger than just a stop or pause in fighting.

There is a richness, a fullness to the concept of shalom. Wellness, much more than only health, is just a single part of the meaning. “Both/and” (one of my favorite expressions) covers both safety and security. And, these two words can be a part of the Hebrew concept. Thus, shalom means all those words. So many different facets.

Dear Lord, thank You for this excellent reminder about shalom. Lord, help me grope my way towards shalom. You want to gather us together, like chicks. Like children. Help us to truly know Your peace, Your shalom.


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

First Sunday in Lent – Reflection on Fr. Nouwen and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 21, 2015


First Sunday in Lent – Reflection on Fr. Nouwen and Prayer

As my title says, today is the first Sunday in Lent. As such, I had a day of rest from the 40acts of generosity. (However, I did preach on generosity! See my tweet: Generous With Our Purpose – sermon for 1st Sunday of Lent http://wp.me/p5Nfg4-7  #40acts @StLukesChurch2 )

Instead of meditating and praying on the daily generosity challenge from 40acts, I had the opportunity to pray with one of my several helpful prayer guides. The one I am going to be using during the Sundays in Lent is A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants. (an Upper Room publication)

Accordingly, I read through the prayer, psalm and several scripture readings for the day. Plus, I read the first Reading for Reflection. Wouldn’t you know that it was by Fr. Henri Nouwen. On prayer. Well, much more than prayer, but focusing on prayer as a centerpiece of our service to God.

Fr. Nouwen’s words are always thought-provoking. I can never read anything by him and come away unmoved. I always have some thing or some thought from his writing that just will not go away. Just so with this brief, two paragraph reading, too. (from The Living Reminder) The crux of what he said: “We have fallen into the temptation of separating ministry from spirituality, service from prayer.”

How often do I find that to be the case, in many people’s minds? Service for God is not meant to be totally separated from prayer, and vice versa. Service . . . ministry . . . prayer . . . spirituality. All interconnected, and all part of each other. God probably planned them to be seamless parts of a whole. Sadly, I do not (cannot?) make all these pieces of my spiritual life fit together so well as Fr. Nouwen suggests.

I am afraid I will never be an “isolated hermit,” but that is all for the good. I would be hard-pressed to be such, as a contemplative. I don’t think God intended that life for me. However, I can rest in God, have devotions with God, even go on the occasional retreat with God.

Yes, I don’t think I belong up on that mountaintop with God, all the time. I need to be down in the trenches, walking with the members in my congregation, praying with the bible studies and in worship services. And meditating. And in contemplation. That reminds me of one of my favorite phrases: both/and! Both service/and prayer. Both ministry/and meditation. What a wonderful reminder to me that I am absolutely doing something right—engaging in multi-faceted ministry for God.

Thanks for the affirmation, Fr. Nouwen!

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

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

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza

In Which Prayer is Natural, but Also Difficult

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 2, 2015

draw near to God

In Which Prayer is Natural, but Also Difficult

I am a great proponent in the idea of both/and. Not either/or. This works in many areas. Not either apples or oranges. (What about pineapples? Peaches? For that matter, bananas?) Not either right-handed or left-handed. What about ambidextrous people? Where do they fit in?

I much prefer both/and. Talk about the option of Door Number Three!

When I think about prayer, sometimes, this additional option comes to mind. Especially when I think about the topic of today. In which prayer is perfectly natural, but at the same time difficult. People often do not understand how these two things can be occurring at the same time. In the same person, even.

I was drawn to the difficulties in prayer. (Naturally.)

As Howell says, there are two kinds of comfort in difficulties of praying. First, even saintly people of prayer like Mother Teresa (and Henri Nouwen, my addition) had difficulty praying, so I am in good company when I have problems praying.

Second, a quote from Rev. Howell: “Prayer isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there.” And, from Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyred in his country of El Salvador: ‘God is not failing us when we don’t feel His presence. . . . Let us learn from that cry of Christ that God is always our Father and never forsakes us, and that we are closer to Him than we think.’

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is our Helper. The Spirit truly helps us when we can’t pray, or are bogged down in difficulty, or are far away from God.

This is grace. Thank You, God.


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

Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: (The Best Of) ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com     Thanks!