Tag Archives: encouraging

Welcome for the Outsider

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 5, 2018

welcome, Scrabble

Welcome for the Outsider

What a statement. What a concept. For all that the apostle Paul is talked about as being misogynistic, and prejudiced, and this, and that, I come up against a passage like Romans 15:4-6, capped by 15:7.

I started out thinking about what Paul said in verse 4: “Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us.” I was struck by that, and thought about it for a while. Sure, there are lots of verses and passages in the New Testament that are instructive, encouraging, even uplifting to the heart. But, genealogies in the Hebrew Scriptures? Or, population lists of the various tribes? Or, passages in the Mosaic Law Code? How were those written to teach us?

Which led me to think of the many different cultures and nationalities surrounding the church where I work, in Morton Grove (a suburb of Chicago). This suburb is diverse in just about every way. I am certain that the different cultures and ethnic understandings cover a wide spectrum of ways of thinking. Which led me to consider the understanding of the Jewish mindset, in the centuries before the birth of Christ. I know they did consider genealogies and population lists to be important. Who am I to say that they are not important?

(And, what about things our culture says are important? I can’t legislate what others think, regardless of whether it is my culture or ethnicity, or someone else’s. Or, in some other century.)

All of which brings me to what Prof. Williams says in his reflection. “The hard thing, and the thing that Paul cared deeply about and strove to instill in his churches, is to do both at once: to be united as one body but also profoundly welcoming to the outsider.” [1]

What a profound idea. As Paul said, “Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you.” Dear Lord, I am convicted anew. Please, dear God, help me to accept people, accept individuals, coming from all over. Just as Paul had to deal with a polyglot society, so do I here is my setting. Help me—help us to reach out and provide “a place where there is a welcome for all and where there is unity. Amen.” [2]

@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] Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 89.

[2] Ibid.

In Between Day, In Between Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 13, 2016

prayer-candles-lamps

In Between Day, In Between Prayers

This was my in between day. I had lots to do earlier in the week and lots to do on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, I took some time for myself today. Yoga, and shopping (for food), and a meeting with a friend. A function at my daughter’s school in the evening. Plus, the usual email and computer stuff that I ordinarily do, but that happens pretty much any day. Every day. No matter what.

Except, I was preoccupied.

I suppose I ought to have prayed more. Even though I try to write this blog on a regular basis, even though I try to pray on a regular basis, I still feel so inadequate. So much less-than. There is some personal stuff that is going on in my personal life, and I need to pray my way through.

That was most of what was preoccupying my thoughts today.

And, thanks to anyone who sends any prayers to God for the dear concern on my mind today.

Dear God, thanks for interpreting my thoughts, even when they are all muddled and incoherent. I am so glad and relieved You listen to my deep concern. Calm my uneasy heart. Still my wayward soul. Help me to breathe more deeply, and focus my mind on necessary things. Kind things. Things that will be helpful, supportive, and encouraging. Thank You, God. In Your mercy, hear all of 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

World Mental Health? I’m Praying

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 10, 2016

sometimes-we-just-need-someone-to-listen

World Mental Health? I’m Praying.

I read several blogs and posts today about world mental health. Yes, more about mental health. And, mental illness. Today was World Mental Health Awareness Day.

Everyone knows someone who is affected. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean that mental illness doesn’t exist.

Reflecting on my own extended family, on my friends and acquaintances, I know very well that both of these sentences (above) are true. Sadly true, in some cases. Tragically true, in others.

Anyone can listen. Anyone. You do not need to be an expert in psychology or counseling to help someone in a crisis. Simply being there, sitting by their side, or walking next to them can mean so much. Letting someone who is having difficulty know that someone is there, for them. Right  next to them, by their side. And, especially letting someone know that they are not alone! That’s important, too.

Be an advocate, please. Be encouraging, helpful and kind, please. It can mean the world to someone, today. And, God bless you.

@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

 

 

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 24, 2016

instrument-of-your-peace-dove

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Today was the Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace. An event that I have been working on and hoping and praying for, for a bunch of weeks. Such a great response for the Interfaith Walk! All ages, strollers, someone in a wheelchair. Wonderful cross-section of the community in Morton Grove walking with us today.

As I went from one group of walkers to another, I heard bits of conversations—friendly, encouraging talk between diverse people. People from different places and from different faith traditions.

I heard many people today looking forward to another Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace next September! With a nearby suburb having a Peace Festival this weekend as well, I can envision a North Shore Peace Initiative—especially if many of us talked to friends about Interfaith Walks in other, neighboring suburbs of Chicago.

Just think. If people built bridges of peace, friendship and harmony. Just imagine. Less ignorance and misunderstanding. What a wonderful place the Chicago area could be.

Such an awesome start! Let’s keep the conversation going. Dear God, let it be so! Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for peace, harmony, and an end to conflict and violence. Amen.

Peace.

@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

In Which I Pray for a Friend

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, July 25, 2016

PRAY I always hug them with my prayers

In Which I Pray for a Friend

Here I am, at the New Wilmington Mission Conference, which is totally awesome! Such a wonderful gathering of people interested in mission and outreach. Not only from all over the country, but from all over the world.

Yet, I am also far away from a good friend who will be having a medical procedure tomorrow.

I have heard heart-warming (and sometimes heart-breaking) stories about individuals in far-flung places this week, as well as churches just planted, churches in difficulty, and some churches under opposition. Also, I heard great hopefulness about believers having great joy despite trials and poverty, conflict and being refugees.

So much sadness mingled with joy. Yet, I have concern in my heart about my friend. Far away.

I can’t be there. Yes, I can pray. (And I have already, and will continue to pray.) But, I would like to be there for the family. I know how it helps to have encouraging and supportive friends nearby. Able to run errands, and visit in the hospital or care center. Sometimes just to sit and keep loved ones company, or pray, or be silent.

The concern in my heart is real. I want to ask God to be with my friend. Would you pray with me?

Dear Lord, gracious God, You are the great Physician. You know us from head to toe, every hair on our heads, and every cell in our bodies. Heavenly Healer, I pray for my dear friend right now. I pray for the medical procedure tomorrow, for the medical team attending, and for You to give abundant wisdom and understanding in this case. I pray for the hands of the staff to be caring and capable, and for the healing to come. Holy Spirit, I pray that You come alongside of all who love and care for my friend and the whole family. Support and encourage all of them in this challenging time—healing time. Thank You for loving and caring for all of us—especially my good friend. In the healing name of Jesus 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

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

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

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope (Repost)

Reposted especially for this group, Pursuing Peace. #PursuePEACE

IMG_0132

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

I have been following some sort of spiritual discipline during each Lenten season for the past number of years. As Lent got nearer and nearer, I had not been particularly moved by any special Scripture reading series or prayer discipline, as in years past. However—I have been intrigued by the idea of PEACE for several weeks.

Peace got lodged in my brain, and would not go away. I thought about it more and more, and finally came up with this idea of the Pursuing PEACE Project.

My name is Elizabeth, and my personal definition of peace is harmony, wholeness and hope.

Harmony – I have a bachelor’s degree in music. I have sung in a number of choirs and singing groups, over the years. Music is important to me! Harmony is something I look for, yearn for. Harmony between people, between groups, among families—something I wish to encourage and promote, as much as I can. Doing my little bit.

Wholeness – comes from the concept of the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace. Yet, it means much more than peace! Shalom can also mean whole or wholeness, completeness or safety. A whole basket of meanings! That is what I want from my definition.

Finally, Hope – expectation, trust or desire. (At least, that’s what Merriam Webster says, in part.) I am a glass-half-full kind of person. I have that expectation. I trust that peace is a possibility. I don’t think this is pie in the sky, but a realistic desire.

Even if my part is small, I will be doing something positive, encouraging, and loving in making PEACE a reality. God willing, I am doing my part to pursue PEACE.

@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