Tag Archives: comfort

A Funeral and Psalm 90

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Psa 90-1 our dwelling place, words

A Funeral and Psalm 90

Dietrich Bonhoeffer preached at his grandmother’s funeral. (Such a sad occasion.) Bonhoeffer must have been a person of strong constitution to preach a heartfelt sermon like this. Moreover, judging from what he said, his grandmother (Frau Julie Bonhoeffer) was quite a strong person, as well.

The text for this funeral sermon was Psalm 90, an appropriate text, to be sure: “Lord, You have been our refuge from one generation to another.” This psalm has been a comfort and an encouragement to many, many people over the centuries.

Bonhoeffer was so grateful and thankful for the last days his grandmother had with her family. He talked about the final time at some length, and how aware she was until her last moments.

It makes me think of the deaths of several people I knew who died recently: full lives, touching farewells; all the way around, lives well-lived. He adds about his grandmother, “she held fast in her sickness, too; resigning herself to the will of God, bearing what was laid upon her, looking steadily and clearly at reality, doing whatever was required, quietly and without complaint, accepting what could not be helped.” [1]

What an attitude to have as she exited this life.

“Satisfy us by Your loving-kindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life. Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity.”

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

@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

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 69.

Pray in the Here and Now.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 26, 2017

now-clock

Pray in the Here and Now.

It’s a challenging thing to calm yourself, slow down, sit and compose yourself for prayer and meditation. Sometimes, that is.

In this little book How to Sit, the teacher Thich Nhat Hahn said, “Enjoy your arrival. How wonderful to feel that you are home, that your true home is in the here and the now.” [1]

What I understand from that quote feels homey. I can feel the comfort, and warmth. Thich Nhat Hahn expresses such simple—yet profound—statements in such a way that his words often make me sit back and think. Think deeply. And, the homey-ness, comfortability and warmth of these statements make me feel almost as if it is absolutely natural for me to seat myself in sitting meditation. (I am not quite there. However, I am trying. And, I keep on trying.)

It doesn’t matter which faith stream this book comes from, ultimately. There have been so many wise men and women over the centuries, giving their wisdom and understanding on how to pray and meditate. I hope I can begin to follow in this teacher’s footsteps, just as I have tried to pray in the manner of several other wise believers.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear 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] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 38.

Praying Through a Blue Christmas Service

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 19, 2016

blue-christmas-tree

Praying Through a Blue Christmas Service

Tonight was cold, bitter, and generally a rotten evening for driving. Especially given the cold weather and horrible traffic.

However, the Blue Christmas service at my church served as a small, gentle, quiet island in the general holiday rush-rush and busy-busy.

Ever read Psalm 77? Not usually read in services during the lectionary year. It talks a lot about how frustrated—even angry the psalmist is. (God knows. But, God can take it.)

Knowing the pain, hurt, even grief of living through another holiday season, seems so poignant. Readings to light each of the Advent candles, plus brief times of silence. All meant to allow a place and a space for quiet reflection.

All of this Blue Christmas service was made easier by Pastor Kevin. I appreciate him so much. He co-led the service with me. Thanks to him for his kindness, especially since an elderly relative of mine died last week. (Come to think of it, I particularly could use a Blue Christmas service right about now.)

In one of the leader’s parts tonight, I invited those present a time to offer up the loneliness, the sad and dark memories, and the anxiety and fear to the one whose birth we quietly await…Jesus Christ. I wished those present a time to find hope and peace in this service and comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

Whether we grieve, have pain, or have difficult memories, whether we celebrate or not—dear Lord, in Your mercy, be with us all this night,.

@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 for Peace at a Home-Going

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 12, 2016

praying-hands-stained-glass

Gentle Prayers for Peace at a Home-Going

Today was a busy day. The Interfaith Gathering for Mutual Support and Prayer happened this evening and everything was very encouraging. Cold, frigid weather outside, but everyone was warm and supportive inside.

I praise God for such a good beginning. We will be meeting together again on the second Monday night of January, Jan. 9th.

Except—that was not all for today, or tonight.

My elderly relative died quietly tonight. In hospice for a number of days, this loved one drew the final breath and crossed into the loving presence of our God.

A good many thoughts and feelings are going through my mind and my heart.

Dear God, thank You for the supportive, encouraging meeting this evening. Dear God, thank You for the support and encouragement my elderly loved one received over these past few weeks. As I watch a new thing coming to life, in the beginning of a new interfaith idea, I also grieve over the gentle death of my loved one. Please comfort all who grieve this night. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@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

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 8, 2016

comfort-encourage-peace

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Feeling low? Dispirited? Needing support? Yeah, me, too.

What’s more, I feel disconnected, like I need someone to come alongside of me and sit with me for a while. That is the closest I can come to describing my feelings right now. It’s a sad and lonely sort of a feeling.

Yet, I have a job. I need to do stuff, every day. I have worship services to prepare, bible studies to work on and conduct, church business to administer, meetings to attend. Not to mention phone calls and personal calls to make. On top of everything else, I have all of this other stuff under the surface of my life. It is a complicated thing right now.

Gentle waiting for an elderly loved one to die can be difficult, indeed.

Dear Lord, gracious God, please encourage my loved ones right now, especially that elderly one who is approaching the end of life. We pray that the end might come gently, and that this loved one does not die alone. Dear Holy Comforter, come alongside of all those who grieve, even now. Provide Your comfort and joy, in the midst of weeping and mourning. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. In your loving and healing name we pray, amen.

@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

 

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

No Time for Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, October 25, 2016

 

confession-forgiveness-contrition

No Time for Prayer

Shh. I have a confession to make.

I am not consistent with spiritual disciplines.

Yes, I know I am writing this blog about prayer. And, I love prayer. I receive such comfort through praying, and delight in the sometime-closeness to the Holy I feel. That is, sometimes. And, then, sometimes there is nothing. A dryness, or drought. I feel dull, or perhaps dim.

I am afraid to say that I often go in cycles. Cycling in and out of intimacy with God. (God, You know I do. You and I have had this continuing conversation for years. For decades.)

Today, I did pray a bit. In between running around. Oh, I went to a breakfast and lecture, ran to the gym, prepared some paperwork, worked on the computer (a lot), and got ready to take a trip. But, why is it that I feel as if I ought to be a person like Martin Luther, who was so busy he had to take an extra hour to pray?

However, I try to pray when I can. I have asked God to nudge me and remind me when I am to pray. Usually, it works out fairly well. But, still. Not consistently.

God, I am sorry. I feel my lack of prayerfulness. Forgive my hesitation, my forgetfulness, my busy-ness. Help me to attend to Your will and Your ways more diligently. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my hesitant, bashful 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