Tag Archives: compassionate

God’s Instrument, Alan Paton

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 3, 2017

instrument of Your peace, round

God’s Instrument, Alan Paton

Ah, the breadth and depth of this brief excerpt! I can just imagine how deeply touched Alan Paton was by his stirring experience of the almighty God.

The Rev. Alan Paton was a white South African Anglican clergyman who was also an outspoken opponent of apartheid. He had several spiritual mentors (including Dag Hammarskjöld), but his compassionate heart belonged with St. Francis of Assisi and the familiar prayer attributed to him.

“So majestic is [St. Francis’s] conception that one dare no longer be sorry for oneself. This world ceases to be one’s enemy and becomes the place where one lives and works and serves.” [1] This is preamble, of sorts. This becomes the foundation on which the rest of the excerpt depends. “But in his prayer, [Francis] asks nothing for himself, or perhaps he asks everything, and that is that his whole life, all his gifts, his physical strength, shall be an instrument in God’s hand.” [2]

The example of Moses is brought to our attention. Yes, despite adverse conditions, Moses was chosen as God’s spokesman to Pharaoh. He was also directed to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and around the Sinai region. “The [biblical passage] is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling…. Things might be dark but [believers] are to be the light of the world.” [3]

Yes, the present world may—indeed—be dark. The group at my area cluster meeting sometimes is in tears concerning the situation of our present world.

“To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to them. To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose….let me teach them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never-ending work of healing and redemption.” [4] Such a heartfelt, humble prayer! Such a marvelous feeling of joining together in peace and brotherhood. Dear Lord, may it be so, we pray.

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 191.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 193.

[4] Ibid.

PEACE? Harmony, Unity, Respect, Compassion.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IMG_0289

PEACE? Harmony, Unity, Respect, Compassion.

Another day to present two points of view from St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights. Another day to see what kinds of thoughts these sincere people have.

As I considered the next two definitions, I saw similar actions in both of the personal definitions of PEACE: ways of acting towards other people.

Our first point of view comes from one of the few adults who wrote down a definition. (Several more came up and talked with me.) John’s personal definition:  “PEACE is the manifestation of our choice to live according to the order, harmony, and unity of God’s creation.”

Such rich words. I stopped short and read this definition several times, to grasp the enormity of the description. Accordingly, I asked John for further explanation. He told me, “We have in this world the residual of God’s plan for the universe. When God created Genesis 1 and 2, there was peace.” (John, a vivid description, to be sure.)

Joanna’s personal definition: “PEACE is mutual respect and compassion towards one another.” ❤

IMG_0292

I asked her to tell me more about her definition. Joanna said, “Just think when people are sympathetic or compassionate towards each other. If that is true, then peace and serenity can happen throughout the world.”

Both personal definitions, both different, yet both involving others in an intimate way. This shows me—yet again—how infinitely inventive individual humans can be.

Dear God, thank You for such heartfelt ideas, such as compassion, respect, and most of all, harmony. Help each of us to practice these. Please.

@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

Healed of Our Sufferings?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 22, 2015

suffering word cloud

Healed of Our Sufferings?

“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.” – Marcel Proust

When I look for healing and restoration of my sufferings, of my challenges, one of the last places I tend to look for others who will understand. Others who are acquainted with, and know my sufferings and challenges, first hand.

Sometimes, people are healed of the terrible experiences they have had by telling their stories. Oftentimes, people need the nurture and assistance of others who have had similar experiences.

Instead of internalizing my sufferings and challenges—in a negative manner—I can share them in a safe place. And, I can offer to listen to others sharing, in a similar safe place.

This is what telling my story is all about. This is me, remembering. This is me, being supportive, kind, and compassionate.

You or I may have had terrible relationships with other people, in the past. We may be trying to rebuild our relationship skills, even though we may still be thinking of loneliness and fearfulness. It is a fearful thing to be stuck in the past or in the future, stuck anywhere except the here and now.

I am encouraged by my friends and fellows to listen. Be supportive. Nurture, in safe places. I am encouraged by my Higher Power to concentrate on One Day at a Time. Today. Now.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear my earnest prayers.

@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

Praying, Praying, Praying. (Did I Mention Prayer?)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 19, 2015

prayer - hands

Praying, Praying, Praying. (Did I Mention Prayer?)

Tonight, the topic of the chapter for today was Prayer. I very much like the scripture references the authors of the book Praying the New Testament as Psalms chose for writing their modern psalm.

I enjoy prayer. I try to lead in prayer whenever I can. Communicating with God is not only a pleasure (usually), but also a privilege. In this psalm, I found myself gravitating towards a stanza where the authors riffed on several verses from James 5. In cheerfulness, I sing songs of praise,/ in sickness, I pray the prayer of anointing,/praying with faith and for one another./The prayer of the righteous is powerful.” [1]

This stanza shows different types of emotions, and shows how prayer runs throughout the emotional spectrum. James gives a clear word picture of concrete ways in which people not only can display a healthy range of emotions and feelings, but where others can check in, and see how to act by example.

What about cheerful? More than that, cheerfulness? What do I do with that? Sing songs of praise, of course. Now, the prayer of anointing? This is fascinating. I do not do that prayer very often at all. But, how giving. How compassionate. What an outreach.

How wonderful it is, that the prayers of a righteous person avail a great deal. Or, are powerful. Beyond that, we can’t even consider the fact that we can pray at any time, day or night. And God will hear. We can come down anywhere on the emotional spectrum. And God will hearken to us. In my mind, that is truly good news. Amen. And, 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 .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 158.

Come Alongside, Come Together, Com-passion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 5, 2015

compassion heart

Come Alongside, Come Together, Com-passion

Compassion. Coming alongside. Of course this word can be painful, occasionally a fizzle, and sometimes rewarding beyond all measure. Those particular times when it was particularly rewarding seem like “forever faithful,” to tell the truth.

I thought this word was perfect for this book Praying the New Testament as Psalms. When I think as someone whom God has gifted with this emotion, does it show too much? Sorry if it does.

One verse of this New Testament psalm echoed and re-echoed in my heart tonight: “God, You are compassionate and merciful./Make me Your mercy, Your compassions.” [1]

Lord, I know sometimes I am not mindful of how I treat people. Sometimes (even most of the time) I am selfish. Sometimes I do act in an unkind way. Lord, please forgive me.

Thank You for forgiving me, and allowing me free and generous access to Your mercy, and Your compassion. In Jesus’ dear 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 sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 46.

Day #19 – In Touch with Prisoners, and Children. In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Day #19 – In Touch with Prisoners, and Children. In Prayer.

When I read today’s suggestion for #40acts, I immediately knew what I was going to post. Or, rather, repost. I wrote a heartwrenching blog post for my daily blog (ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com) last January, in 2014. Thank God this transportation ministry is still going on. I think this was an eye-opening post. I hope and pray that some people’s eyes will continue to be opened. See what you think.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, January 24, 2014

BK kindness workboots on

Be Kind—Reunite Kids and Moms (Feature Friday!)

The weather outside is frightful. As I look out the window, I think of blustery weather and dangerously low wind chills. A difficult time of year to travel, here in the Midwest. It’s even more of a challenge for people to travel, if they must rely on public transportation.

The prison ministry I used to drive for eases just such a challenge. The prison ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Evanston reunites incarcerated moms with their children—for at least part of a Saturday. Lutheran Social Services of Illinois organizes transportation for children and their caregivers (grandmothers, aunts, and other family members or friends). First Pres Evanston is one of their transportation volunteers.

For years, this church has used their bus to transport loved ones to federal penitentiaries—for no charge to the relatives. The relatives transported are often on public aid, Social Security, or some other form of assistance. They have very little money to begin with, and often rely on public transportation. This makes trips to downstate prisons to see incarcerated loved ones almost an impossibility.

I was one of the main drivers for First Pres during most of the decade 2000 to 2010. I transported these relatives many miles on Saturdays. Never mind that I had to get to the church extra early to check out the bus, warm it up, and head off to the pick-up point on the south side of Chicago. (I didn’t mind. Really. Honest.) That pick-up point—a huge strip mall parking lot next to the expressway—struck me as particularly sad. Shrewd, cynical shysters crassly make money (a LOT of money) doing the same thing. Transporting loved ones in similar situations, at a considerable profit. A few years ago, the price for one of these for-profit seats on the commercial buses lined up at the lot’s edge was in the area of $35 to $40. That was the price PER SEAT. If a grandma wanted to take two or three grandchildren to see their mom in prison, the cost would triple or quadruple. Way out of reach for those on a limited income.

I willingly gave up frequent Saturdays to drive the church bus, because I believed in being kind, offering what I had—some driving ability and a commercial driver’s license—for others. But I didn’t immediately make the connection with the words of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, specifically in Matthew 25:31-46. I finally got my elbow nudged from God: I helped these relatives to go see their loved ones, the incarcerated women. So, yes. I was aiding them to do what Jesus directed in verses 36 and 39-40. (“What you did for the least of these.”) I had a small part in making the world a more nurturing place, a more compassionate place. And most especially, allowing children to have some kind of personal, face-to-face relationship with their moms.

Thank God there are people who still willingly give up their Saturdays to drive to prisons a long distance away. And I pray for ministries like that of First Presbyterian Church in Evanston and Lutheran Social Services. Bless them, and prosper their continued ministry. What a way to be kind and tender-hearted.

@chaplaineliza

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

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

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Pray for the One I Like Least . . .

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – February 6, 2015

immeasurable prayer power

Pray for the One I Like Least . . .

Today’s prayer suggestion caused some surprise, even anxiety. Just as yesterday, I stared at the open page for some seconds.

And, yes. I immediately thought of one person I don’t like very much. I hesitate to say I like this person least, because I can’t quantify my “liking” so exactly. However—I know that God wants me to write about this person. So, okay, God. I will. I’ll be obedient to Your leading.

The prayer guide suggests that I try to see something of God’s goodness, love, life, truth, and beauty in this person. This person is a child of God. Much beloved of God. God’s everlasting arms are reaching out to hold this one just as much as God’s arms are reaching out to hold the people I pray for each Sunday in the pastoral prayer at my church.

I don’t want to cause any discomfort or commotion, so I will be careful not to identify this one. But I know that God has gifted this person with skills and spiritual charisms, just as God has given them to every believer. God has called to this one and given specific skills and direction.

I do not wish any ill on this child of God. Quite the contrary! However—I still have periodic resentment in my heart toward this person. So, what to do about the resentment?

My go-to book for many of these problems happens to be the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. On page 552, in one of the stories in the second part of the book, there is a pertinent paragraph. The person writing the story is flipping through a magazine and sees the word resentment in an article written by a clergyman. Here is the paragraph:

“He said, in effect: ‘If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them. You will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.’ It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”

My gracious. God, really? Is it that simple? Of course, if I don’t really mean the prayer, this remedy through prayer won’t be very effective. I suppose this is what the author meant when writing “it will work for me every time I am willing to work it.”

Dear Lord, help me to ditch the resentment I feel in my heart toward this dear one of Yours. Yes, Lord, help me to pray every day for two weeks for this person. I know what this paragraph from the Big Book says—I’ll eventually feel “compassionate understanding and love.” I’m not even pushing for love! Compassionate understanding would be very helpful. And, a relief. I’ll shoot for that, if You please, God. Thank You for Your leading, Lord. In Jesus’ name we all pray.

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.