Tag Archives: in Your mercy

In Which I Serve at a Blue Christmas Service

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 14, 2016

blue-christmas-snowflake

In Which I Serve at a Blue Christmas Service

This evening was the Blue Christmas service at my sister church, Epiphany UCC in Chicago. Touching service. So effective, in many ways.

This quiet time in the church happened to occur on one of the coldest evenings that I’ve experienced for a long time. We had a small congregation. I do hope they received a blessing from the service.

It was a challenge to lead worship and to deliver several readings tonight, especially since my father-in-law died on Monday. Yes, I could relate to feelings of grief, fear and anxiety, anger—I could feel them, strongly.

There were two parts in the service that were particularly poignant: candle-lighting, and writing names on ornaments. Any members in the congregation who wished to, could come forward .

So, could we support grieving people? What about people who have lost a dear one? What about people who are overwhelmed by all the rushing of the holidays?  And, refugee families? They all need support and encouragement. i

Dear Lord, gracious God, bless all those who are hurting and grieving this evening. Give them comfort and support. Encourage all who mourn or are hungry or who are overwhelmed. Thank You for walking at our sides, for praying with us, and being Holy Comforter for those in need of comfort. 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

We All Can Use Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, November 18, 2016

kyrie-notes

We All Can Use Prayer

Know the experience of having a seriously ill loved one in the hospital? Yeah, me, too.

I am in that exact position, right now. An elderly relative is in hospice care right now. Yes, it is sad. Came into town a few weeks ago, and did not look good then. After a trip to the hospital, and a stint in rehab, back to the hospital five days ago. And just three days ago, in hospice. The situation has been changed (Upgraded? Downgraded?) to terminal.

All of which is relatively fast, for a time frame. (I ought to know, since as a former chaplain, I have some familiarity with hospitals. Not as much as some, of course, but I have more than a nodding acquaintance.)

Yes, it is different when it’s my loved one in the hospital. Except, it isn’t. Not really. Almost like I did in the hospital with a family in ICU with a patient who was actively dying. Except for my family, it’s like I’m on 24-hour call just in case, with my ears wide open for any notice or call.

I still pray for the situation, and for the medical staff, and for the family and loved ones. I still am concerned for all of the long-distance friends. (Except, in this case, I am intimately acquainted with all of those concerned.) I still am there for others, whether they want to talk, or just have me be there, with them.

I repeat—it is incredibly sad.

Let us pray. Dear God, who holds the universe in the span of Your hand, You hold each of us in that same loving hand. We come before You with a multitude of hurts, of fears and anxieties, of pains and aches and untenable situations. We unload them here before You, dear God. Dear Holy Comforter, we ask that You come alongside of all those who grieve, who mourn, and who are hurting. Dear Heavenly Physician, we pray You may assist all those under the care of medical personnel. And, please—God—be with my loved ones as they gather together. I pray for the hands that touch that dear loved one—help all the hands to be loving, caring, thorough, and knowledgeable. Lastly, dear God, be with me. Help me to be there (in Your presence) for others as much as I am for myself. Dear 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

Unabashed Prayers—for the Cubs

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Unabashed Prayers—for the Cubs

chicago-cubs-win

At long last, after 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. Holy cow! Hey, hey! Holy mackerel! Cubs win! Cubs win!

The Cubs and their dry spell of over a century have been legend in the annals of baseball, and even in the wide world of sports. These past seven games—and especially Game 7—have been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, of absolute rapture to the depths of despair, to be sure.

However. Now this brash, young team full of hope, this winning-est team in major league baseball, has achieved the pinnacle of their sport. The 2016 World Series. Fly the “W” flag!

Lord knows, I have tried not to hope too much. I have seen my hopes and dreams dashed time and again, with many, many other Cubs fans, in many, many other seasons.

But, I tell ya, pinch me. It can’t be true. (Can it? Is it?)

I think it is. Hell is freezing over, right this minute.

God knows that I try to pray for a good, clean game, when I am asked to pray for a sporting event. I pray for both teams to do their very best, and for there to be as few errors, or penalties, or mistakes as possible. Except—I have been praying for the Cubs, the last few games. It’s not that I dislike the Cleveland players. Certainly not! That team is absolutely an excellent team. If the Cubs had had to play against Cleveland during the regular season, I am afraid they might not have had quite as many “wins” to their credit.

But, I digress. Yes, I prayed for the Cubs. And, the Almighty looked with favor upon our boys in blue. Thank You, God.

(I do pray for the celebrations tonight, and into tomorrow. Please, Lord, don’t let anyone get hurt. Keep people safe. Help everyone celebrate in a fun, excited way, and help us welcome the Cubs back to Chicago with open arms. Lord, in Your mercy and grace, 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

Prayers of Preparation for Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 23, 2016

peace-be-with-you-printed

Prayers of Preparation for Peace

Pursuing Peace just doesn’t stop. Peace: that elusive article, that hopeful state of being. No, pursuing Peace can be an elusive quest, indeed.

Instead of me searching for personal, private ways of pursuing Peace, I am going to look for ways of arriving at Peace in a group fashion. Corporately. In the neighborhood. In the community.

Correction: WE are going to pursue Peace.

I have no idea where this is going. Yes, some could scoff that we are not exactly going after Peace. Strictly speaking, this could be true. In a broader sense, we will combat fear and anxiety, facilitate ease in communication, work together to reach people in trouble, all in the individual neighborhoods.

Yes, WE are going to pursue Peace.

I feel like I am going to step off into the Wild Blue Yonder, or something. Yes, a bit of trepidation. Yes, some butterflies in the stomach. This will be a community partnership, and I have only a vague idea of what it’s going to look like. And, it may change. (But, that’s okay.)

Pursuing Peace is a great possibility. Just around the corner. To be continued.

Dear God, give us good ideas. Help us to come up with a strategic plan. Bring together dreamers of dreams, and give us concrete ways to bring those hopes and dreams to fruition. Help us #PursuePEACE. Please, 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

Earnest Prayers—for a Sports Team

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 

chicago-cubs-nl-division-series

Earnest Prayers—for a Sports Team

Whenever I am asked to pray for the outcome of a sporting event, I always agree. Even though—there are always earnest, wonderful people on either side of the match-up, rooting for their particular team to win.

What is up with that? What is that all about?

I realize some people are particularly serious about their sports, and have great loyalty to a team or a town. How do people reconcile God being loyal to one specific team over another? Or, to one particular town, as opposed to all other towns?

The way I have come to terms with that is to pray for a good, clean game. (No nasty penalties! No trash talk!) I pray for everyone involved in the contest to play in a good, clean manner, with good sportsmanship. And, I pray for everyone watching the game to have an enjoyable time.

Yes, of course I have teams I root for. (Personally, in my private capacity as a Chicago-area resident.)

I remember growing up, and living six blocks south of Addison Avenue. Yes, we would take the CTA bus east to Wrigley Field. I learned how to fill out a score card from my father. I spent a goodly number of afternoons (that was before the lights were installed at Wrigley) watching baseball. So, yes. I am praying for the outcome of the National League division series. For sentimentality’s sake, if for no other reason.

Gracious God, I pray that You look with both grace and mercy upon a certain team that has not won a world series in 108 years. Dear God, in Your mercy, hear my prayers. (as a Chicago-area resident, of course.)

@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

Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 27, 2016

peace-dove-languages

Peace Festival, Prayer, and More

Sunday was the day I spoke at the Evanston Peace Festival. Actually, the Festival was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but I spoke on the final day. Later in the afternoon. I was honored to be included, especially among such wonderful company.

Of course, in the week before, we had the International Day of Peace on Wednesday, and the Interfaith Gathering for Meditation and Prayer. An interview on WCGO-AM on Thursday concerning the many peace observances during the week. The Interfaith Walk for Peace on Saturday. And then, speaking on the Pursuing Peace Project on Sunday afternoon.

The end of a full week of peaceful, peace-bridging, peace-making activities.

I felt dog-tired at the end of all of these activities. It was more than just tired, I felt like just a bit of butter scraped over a large slice of bread. Too much. Too much of a worthwhile thing.

At least I tried to keep some schedule of prayer last week. Praying with my online prayer group, www.dailyoffice.org . And, Benedictine prayer on my own, three times last week. I felt a little like Martin Luther when he mentioned being too busy NOT to pray.

Now, it’s on to the next thing, which is next Sunday. World Communion Sunday, and the celebration of some young people taking their first communion. Lots to do! There is always a next Sunday, in the local parish. Yes, we remember peace, and interfaith, and getting along with each other. Every day! Yet, the calendar goes round and round. On to the next thing.

Dear God, help me to finish up with the peace-making activities well. And, help me to prepare for the World Communion Sunday celebration! 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

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, August 30, 2016

praying hands 2

Prayer, Beginning and Ending

This is an in-between time for me. In between summer and back to school. In between the summer vacation-time schedule and the busier fall schedule. In between, not quite this, and not quite that.

I met with a good friend of mine. I pray for her. She is in an uncomfortable in-between time, herself. Please, lift up my friend. Pray with me for her financial well-being.

One of my daughters is just beginning her school year. Such a busy time for her! I pray for my daughter as she embarks on this last year of school, with all the work that entails. Please pray with me, that she may have focus, yet not forget about fun.

I am concerned about a new friend. She is about to begin a new thing, and she needs continuing support, encouragement, and more prayers. Blessings on her! (And, more prayers.)

Last, I pray for a good friend who has a birthday! What wonderful things birthdays are. Beginning a whole new year, yet in the middle of life. What an opportunity to celebrate my dear friend. God, bless my friend richly! Not only today, but all year long, in every aspect of life.

And, bless my husband. Watch over him, and help him at his work. Encourage him in his personal life. Give us both enjoyment as he and I live life. Help us live life to the fullest, as we are in the middle of things. Yet, just at the jumping off point.

Dear God, no matter where we are in life, whether at the beginning, at an ending, or in the middle, listen to us. Dear 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 sister 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