Tag Archives: chaplain

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, January 6, 2017

 

waves-storm_drawing

Calm Amidst the Storm, Praying

As I was reading the slim book “How to Sit” this evening, I was struck by the analogy given. Of anxious people on board a boat, at sea, in the middle of a storm. And, one person’s calm demeanor became what calmed the whole boatload of passengers.

I don’t want to bend over backwards to pat myself on the back, but I have noticed that I am that person, sometimes. I have a calm, less-anxious presence, at times. (I’ve noticed this, and so have my former chaplain supervisors.) Whether in a health care setting, or a funeral home, or in a tense situation outside the church, sometimes I help to bring a bit of calmness and serenity into an anxious or awkward or scary or angry situation.

When I considered this attitude lifted up by the book earlier this evening, I did not pray all that much. Instead, I found myself reflecting on this kind of attitude. A calm, less-anxious kind of attitude. I really do thank God that I can be that person, sometimes. I know I have been trained as a chaplain, and trained to express that kind of attitude, but some of it is natural.

I am so glad I have gravitated to a line of work where I can express these kinds of attitudes and talents. I know I need to continue to keep my attitudes and actions sharp, and be certain of continuing to reach out in care and concern. God willing, those will be the kinds of things that others will help me in doing. I pray that some here will work with me, so we all can support each other. One day at a time. (God, thank You!)

@chaplaineliza

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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

Gentle Prayers of Comfort and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 6, 2016

god-wrap-your-arms-around-all-those

Gentle Prayers of Comfort and Support

An elderly loved one is coming to the ending of life. So sad. Yet, it has been a long, full and fruitful life. A life well-lived.

I have been at many hospital and care center bedsides, professionally, as a chaplain. Many end-of-life situations, some sudden (like, from a massive heart attack), and others—not so sudden. Some more painful, and a few even excruciating for me to watch. Each one is unique.

When I know the person involved, or know the loved one sitting by the bed, that changes things. Makes it different. (I probably could come up with some words to describe this difference, but I am feeling my own personal feelings right now. I am not very fluid with the words at this time.) Regardless, whether I know the person, or loved one, or not, it is still a difficult situation. Painful, and sorrowful, to say the least.

Sometimes there are complicated emotions tied up in various relationships (for example, with the person dying, or with loved ones, or with some others who have died—or even with all three). This heightens the difficulty, the emotions: the fear, anger, anxiety, dread, and overwhelming grief. Or, sometimes, flattens out the emotional response.

Right now, I have the option to retreat into my professional demeanor, as a chaplain and pastoral caregiver. Or, I can do the human thing, and feel. I think I will feel my feelings right now.

Dear healing Savior, I pray that You come alongside of all who mourn and grieve this night. I pray for my relatives and loved ones who are near and far away. I ask you to come alongside of this beloved one, nearing the end of life. I pray that You may be preparing a place at Your heavenly banquet table, even now. I know You and Your angels will welcome this loved one home. Thank You for loving us, even when we can’t say the words, ourselves. Thank You for caring for us, even when we go astray or wander in a far country. And, thank You for welcoming this dear one home to You, after a long journey here in this world. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.r

@chaplaineliza

 

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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

In Which I Attend an Ordination

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 6, 2016

harvest candles.jpg

In Which I Attend an Ordination

A moving, soul-stirring service this afternoon! That’s what I attended.

Let me back up. My church is in the process of rejoining a denomination. I met Megan several months ago, and she is lovely. Not only as part-time associate pastor, but also as chaplain (her primary ministry). Today, she was finally ordained into ministry of Word and Sacrament, becoming the Reverend Megan Dalby-Jones.

Her journey of ministry—and toward ordination—took a number of years. Yet, it now has been affirmed and validated. And, praise God! Megan has joined the number of ordained clergy.

This reminded me of an article I read several days ago, on social media. I follow a few Evangelical websites, and I noticed a headline on of the sites that intrigued me. Accordingly, I opened the post and found a good article with several pointers about pastors. MALE pastors. Exclusively. (Forgive me, guys. But, I respectfully disagree.)

I am sorry. I have been in ministry for over ten years, most of that in chaplaincy. I have had colleagues from any number of faith traditions and expressions. Not only in various parts of Christianity, but also from other faith traditions. I felt nothing but support from them. I enjoyed collegial fellowship, but more importantly, I felt supported as I was chaplain at the hospital. I knew my fellow chaplains had my back, and I had theirs.

It did not matter whether the chaplains were men or women. Or, what faith tradition they came from. We all supported, encouraged and were there for each other—because there were some tough times. As well as good times. Nevertheless, there was collegiality, for sure.

That is what Megan was ordained into, today. Not only chaplaincy, at a wonderful hospital. But, collegiality among other ministers, who do a tough job. And, a good job. Sometimes, a difficult job. But also, a God-filled job. A God-honoring job, too.

Dear God, bless Megan. Not only today, but every day. Bless her in her work at the hospital, as well as her work and worship at her local church. Watch over her and her loved ones. And, grant her abundant support, encouragement, caring, and love from friends, family, colleagues and congregation. Dear God, in Your mercy, bless Megan today.

@chaplaineliza

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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

 

More Prayers for a Friend

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 7, 2016

 

immeasurable prayer power

More Prayers for a Friend

Praying, praying, praying. Yes, I do this on a regular basis.

I have a long-time friend who has been readmitted to the hospital. My friend needs some assistance from the medical staff.  And, has asked for some prayers.

When I was a chaplain in the hospital, I sat with people, listened to people, and consoled people. And when they requested it, I prayed. I was asked to pray for some patients, and their loved ones. I prayed for medical staff, and for traumatic and desperate situations. Even for some people who were actively dying, and for a few dear, departed souls.

Now, my friend has returned to the hospital. I’m praying.

I know there are lots more people in the hospital and in care centers, all across the Chicago area. All across the country, in fact.

God knows all of these people, all these loved ones, and their families. God knows each situation, and each unspoken prayer request rising before the Divine. Please, Lord. Please, listen to all of our prayers. Thank You for the encouragement, the support, and the answers.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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

In Which I Visit Hospice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 29, 2016

hospital bed

In Which I Visit Hospice

I paid a visit to a dear, senior friend today. He is in a care center. He is in hospice care. The time is short. It won’t be long, now.

Even though I had not seen him often in the past eight or ten years, he and his wife lived in the same area my husband and I live in. We would run into each other on occasion. I haven’t seen him for almost a year. He has changed markedly.

We have a number of mutual friends and acquaintances, too. I understand—from the nurses’ station—that he has a number of visitors each day, trooping in and out of his room. A well-liked man, and a man with a definite sense of humor. I will miss him very much.

I feel odd, seeing my friend in hospice. He isn’t supposed to be there, in that hospital bed. He is supposed to be hale, and hearty, and making wise cracks. His wife would laugh, except when he made bad puns. (As would happen on occasion.)

He is not making wise cracks any longer. Sadly.

I know the drill. I was a hospital chaplain for almost ten years. What the heck, I have seen relatives and close friends in the hospital. I’ve been a pastor for more than two years, and I’ve seen parishioners in hospital beds before. But, somehow, this patient is somehow different.

When I spoke to him today (softly, but not too softly—in a gentle, reassuring voice), I identified myself. I let him know that I was there, at his bedside. He actually smiled at me, and squeezed my hand. For a while.

I hope I was encouraging. I pray that my visit was a support and a help to my friend. God willing, it was. God bless my friend, and my friend’s wife—also my friend. God, give them both strength, to continue. God, give them both encouragement Allow them to feel the love and caring from so many. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

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

Heart Open to Receive Anyone

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesus Heart people

Heart Open to Receive Anyone

In recent weeks, I have been saddened to see such animosity and hatred. Such fear and anxiety. I want it all to stop. Desperately.

I could talk about my grandfather, a Jewish immigrant to America from a shtetl in the western Ukraine in the early 1900’s. And about many of his uncles, aunts and cousins who have been documented as dying in the Nazi concentration camps. Or, I could talk about myself, having one Jewish grandparent. That would have been enough to send me to the camps, if I had been there in that period of time.

I am so sad, shocked and sorry about Americans of Japanese ancestry who were torn from their normal, everyday lives in the early 1940’s and transported to concentration—I mean, internment camps. There are still those alive who remember this horrible deed. I thank everyone who wishes to make certain it never happens again.

I read the news and am filled with horror at the widespread disregard and in some cases, hatred for people of color. Or people who are LGBTQ, or who align themselves as allies. Or, most lately, hatred and open mocking of Muslims. Refusing to tolerate people who are “different.” Like my Jewish grandfather. Or people who happened to have the same ancestry as those who bombed Pearl Harbor. Or, the same ancestry as those in the Nazi party.

As someone who has been intensively trained as a hospital chaplain, I strive to uphold values of mutual respect and treating each person—ALL persons, regardless of color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, or whatever other difference society raises as a barrier—with kindness and honor. Being willing to sit alongside of each one, walk for a little way with people who are willing to walk alongside of me.

This is why I was so moved today to see Henri Nouwen’s Advent meditation. To read the words he wrote: “The Father … sent us You, dear Lord Jesus, with a human heart big enough to hold all human loneliness and all human anguish.… Your heart does not distinguish between rich and poor, friend and enemy, female and male, slave and free, sinner and saint. Your heart is open to receive anyone with total, unrestricted love.” [1]

I remember John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” I wonder. Who would Jesus hate? Who would Jesus exclude? Who would Jesus send to a concentration camp? Did Jesus come to gather the outcasts and those who wander into His arms? Hard questions. Even more challenging answers. Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus.

@chaplaineliza

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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), 32.

Prayer, and Preparing for Bed

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

can't sleep--talk to God

Prayer, and Preparing for Bed

Evening Prayer is a comforting way to prepare for bed. Tonight, I had some situations on my mind. Some people who I am praying for. Just in case anyone is new here, I am a small church pastor. And, I love to lead others in prayer. I pray on prayer teams, too, as well as pray for myself. All of the above.

I love the fact that Evening Prayer (as well as Morning Prayer, too!) has some specific space in which to remember our friends and loved ones in prayer. Thanks, Vicar Josh, for providing us with such excellent prayers each day at www.dailyoffice.org !

The sentence in the Prayer that reached out to me today is: “Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night.” This part of the prayer comes near the close of the brief Compline service.

Yes, I could remember when I often worked through the night. As a chaplain in the hospital, the pager kept on paging. People kept dying. Traumas kept happening. Ambulances kept coming in to the Emergency Department. But, just because I was often awake through the night, I thought of all those who also work an overnight shift. Not only police, firefighters, and EMT’s, but just think of all of those in a hospital. Doctors, nurses, CNA’s, therapists. All of the support personnel, no matter where they work. (Including chaplains.)

Dear Lord, gracious God, bless all of those I just mentioned. Not only at the hospitals where I worked, but also at care centers throughout Chicago. In all fifty states. Gracious God, guide their hands, guard their hearts, protect them, their loved ones and families. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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