Tag Archives: fighting

Meditation, Prayer and Wartime

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 2, 2017

hands folded in prayer

Meditation, Prayer and Wartime

The year was 1942, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer found himself in the midst of the war. Of the seminarians he was responsible for training several years before, many of those young men had gone into fighting on the front lines.  And, several had recently died.

World War 2 had indeed indelibly marked so many hearts. In writing to these hurting hearts on the matter that struck everyone so close to home, Bonhoeffer says that “they sleep now with all the brothers who have gone before them, awaiting the great Easter Day of the Resurrection.” [1]

It takes an especially strong faith to be able to hold to that faith in such dismal conditions.  When so many others are in despair, having lost their belief in God, Bonhoeffer’s faith shines all the more brightly. Plus, his simple, hopeful view of God’s heaven relates to just about every person living in those times: “We see the cross and we believe in the Resurrection; see death and we believe in eternal life; we experience sadness and separation but we believe in eternal joy and fellowship.” [2]

Bonhoeffer reflects on the letters he was receiving that month, for it was his birthday. I am assuming not only the seminarians but others of his acquaintance were sending him letters, remembering his birthday. “How shall I respond to such faithfulness? I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Let us remain constant in prayer for one another. Who knows how much protection through God’s grace he owes to the intercession of a brother?” [3]

I gather from these words that few things were as important to Bonhoeffer as being held in prayer by his friends and companions. Just as he did the same, in earnest prayer and meditation, this was an all-important activity of his. Such a simple, blessed view of God and the faithfulness of God’s people! This, to me, shows us a man who practices what he preaches: faithfulness and earnestness in prayer and meditation.

Dear Lord, help me be one of the sincere followers of Bonhoeffer, taking his example to heart. 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 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), 41.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 42.

PEACE: Forgiveness and Equality

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April14, 2016

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PEACE: Forgiveness and Equality

Today, I am sharing two more special personal definitions of PEACE. These definitions came from an opportunity to visit the Muslim Community Center some days ago.

The president of the Sunday school reminded the gathered crowd that I was there to ask the simple question “What is PEACE, to you?”

I did not get a chance to talk with each person who made out a definition. I feel so sad, because I very much wish I could have spoken with both of these people. Both definitions are thought provoking, and I would have liked to find out more about each one.

Maryam’s personal definition: “PEACE is forgiveness.”

Rohail’s personal definition: “PEACE is equality.”

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Both of these descriptions caused me to think deeply. Our country seems filled with animosity, anger, fighting—and in need of PEACE. In need of equality, too.

The lack of PEACE and equality concern many people today. I have heard from a number of people that these insidious attitudes have heightened fear, anxiety, and defensiveness for many. I think a large part of the answer comes from definitions like these—this positive point of view about PEACE.

What we can do about it? What action can we take? Thank goodness a number of individuals have ideas about how to lessen the anxiety between people. We can go one step further, and practice forgiveness. And, practice treating people equally—and equitably. Then, instead of anger and resentment because of unforgiveness and unequal treatment, we can spread harmony and positive feelings.

Gracious, merciful God, thank You for providing hopeful answers and positive change. Help all of us to act in ways that promote forgiveness and equality. 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

(Thanks to everyone at the Muslim Community Center in Morton Grove, for making this week of personal definitions of PEACE possible.)

PEACE, Despite the Unfair World

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 31, 2016

PEACE, Despite the Unfair World

Today, I return to St. Viator’s High School in Arlington Heights. Their principal, Fr. Corey Brost, gave me the opportunity to hang out in the lunch room and talk briefly with anyone who came up to the table I had set up on one side of the large room.

I’ll be featuring two personal definitions of PEACE per day. This was a wonderful chance to talk with young people and get their viewpoints on PEACE.

Barbara’s personal definition: “PEACE is knowing you are doing the right thing.”

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As I asked her for more information about this excellent definition, Barbara said, “It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world as long as you know you are right with God. Whatever kind of crap is going on in the whole world doesn’t matter!”

That is a great insight. Even though all kinds of “crap” is going on all around us, it doesn’t matter—ultimately. (And, thanks, Barbara, for a great term for all the awful stuff happening in the world today.) God’s hand is on us. God is with us. Yes, we can go through all kinds of stuff. But, if we are right with God, we have the opportunity to have God’s peace. In the middle of crap!

Elise’s personal definition: “PEACE is when everyone is treated fairly and equally.”

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I could tell Elise was a little hesitant. (Or, maybe shy, or maybe because I was a strange adult. I tried to make her comfortable!) She said, “If everyone is treated in the same way, everyone won’t feel badly.”

How true, Elise. Unfair treatment causes people to get angry. Disgruntled. Even, violent. All those things are the opposite of PEACE. Unfair treatment means there is one group of people that has power-over the second group of people. Unequal power often leads to mistreatment, which means someone may get so angry that fighting may break out. All that separation, alienation and disagreement means one thing: NO PEACE.

Dear God, thank You for giving these young people such great ideas. Please let them continue the conversation about PEACE, wherever they go. It can be as simple as sharing a smile, holding a door, or taking a little time to help an older person. Lord, help us all to continue to #PursuePEACE.

@chaplaineliza

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

PEACE, Best Achieved Alongside of Justice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 29, 2016

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PEACE, Best Achieved Alongside of Justice

As I continue to ask people for their personal definition of PEACE, I am intrigued by the ones who have to think hard about the word or phrase they choose. Sometimes, taking a good deal of time for the answer. I am equally interested in the ones who immediately know what their definition is going to be.

Continuing the listening tour. I am traveling around in my efforts to pursue PEACE.

My friend and colleague from St. John’s Lutheran Church, Rev. Joe McInnis, invited me to attend the church he pastors, in Wilmette, Illinois. One of his parishioners knew immediately what his personal definition was, and he told me so!

An older man of definite ideas and opinions, his name is Peter Knobel. He told me PEACE is best achieved alongside of justice.

I told him how deep that point of view was! I asked him to elaborate. He said, “People sometimes associate peace with power and victory. A different vector of peace is alongside of justice. Like in South Africa, where for years they had a reconciliation and peace movement.” Peter considers peace and justice as closely connected. In his view, peace is best achieved using just and equitable means.

Peter’s words inspired me to think deeply. Yes, peace is an important concept. Yet, peace is out of reach for many people, throughout the world, especially in places of dissension, fighting and outright warfare. When Peter mentioned South Africa, I remembered several personal accounts I both read and heard of the troubles in South Africa.

Many people did not experience peace. Many people had horrible things happen to them, to their relatives and comrades, and to their homes and all they held dear. We cannot just wallpaper over those horrible, gut-wrenching, intensely agonizing events.

Yes, hurting people hurt people. Yes, hurting people need to be offered the place and the space to express that hurt, that pain, that anguish, that anger. And, yes. Hurting people can travel through their pain, through the muck and the mire, and come out the other side. Hurting people can journey the path of victim—through the possibility of justice, and out on the other side. They can identify as survivors. Finally—they can start that journey towards peace. Peacefulness. In large part, because of justice.

@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

Pray for the Peace of Our Need

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, February 2, 2016

PEACE peace dove different languages

Pray for the Peace of Our Need

It is a new month. February (my birthday month!). I have been wondering what to pray for in this new month, and peace came to mind. With all of the bickering, fighting, dissension and alienation in the world today, I think the world needs some peace. Certainly the city of Chicago and the suburbs surrounding it need peace.

Not only does this country need peace, but also the political process which will go on for some nine months. Not only the disparate regions and tribes and political parties of the world need peace, but also the warring nations and factions and opposition groups from all over.

And—I need some peace. Very much so.

I opened one of my lovely collections of prayer, The Oxford Book of Prayer. I turned to the small section on peace, and found one from the editor, George Appleton (Prayer 225). [1] In it, Mr. Appleton has the words “We pray for peace … The peace of Your will/The peace of our need.”

That last line of the prayer struck me. “The peace of our need.” Our corporate need (and needs), as well as each individual’s need. On top of that, I considered “the peace of my need.”

What is the peace of my need, Lord? I know I did not pray for very long. Perhaps I didn’t listen hard enough, or calm my heart enough to hear Your voice, Lord. Please, tell me. Help me to find out. Let Your peace infiltrate my heart and mind. I pray for Your peace—like a quiet rabbit or mouse—to make its way softly into my very soul. I pray this not only for myself, dear God, but for all who wish for peace. 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

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 78.