Tag Archives: Jesus

PEACE = Loving One Another in Christ (Repost)

This repost is especially for the Facebook site “Pursuing Peace.” God’s blessings on all my readers today.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 17, 2016

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PEACE = Loving One Another in Christ

Today’s definition of PEACE is gentle, just like the person the definition came from. Anacelia Padrid gave the following definition: “PEACE = the result of loving one another in the Christian way.”

Anacelia is a member at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove. When I asked her what she would like to write down for her personal definition, she got quite serious. Full of thoughtfulness. Then, she carefully wrote her definition on the sheet. Last, she gave an explanation of her definition.

She said, “It is in the Christian family that we have our love with one another, as our head who is God. Only through Him we are guided in the proper way.”

By this definition, Anacelia gives people no questions about her faith as a Christian. Some other people gave more general definitions, but this one is decidedly, definitely Christian.

I know Anacelia earnestly believes this Christian way of understanding PEACE.

I just gave a meditation (or, brief sermon) about PEACE at this evening’s Lenten service. The result of loving one another in the Christian way? Not quite my definition. I did, however, let people know Jesus offers to give anyone PEACE. I mean, anyone.

Jesus does not discriminate, as we think of John 14:27. Jesus promises to give us PEACE internally. And as an outgrowth of that inward emotion, we are invited to be instruments of God’s PEACE.

Anacelia, thanks for an additional insight. Blessings on you and your family.

@chaplaineliza

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

PEACE is Believing, Not Doubting (Repost)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 15, 2016

PEACE is Believing, Not Doubting

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I’m reposting a special post today. One where I feature a father and son. (Sorry, I didn’t have one featuring a mother and child.) Blessings to all those of you who are mothers, act as mothers, or have mothers.

Today is a special day. I am featuring a special family: Joe and Gladys Limmo, and their son Levi.

Members at St. Luke’s Christian Community Church in Morton Grove, Joe and Gladys are an integral part in the life of the church. Not to mention their son Levi! He is precious to the whole congregation, and daily evidence of God’s love, grace and goodness.

I wanted to highlight this wonderful family! And, Joe and Gladys gave their personal definitions of PEACE for this #PursuePEACE project.

Joe’s definition had two parts: first, PEACE is “no doubt.” Second, “but believe.”  Joe said, “What is peace? Peace is ‘no doubt, but believe.’ I have a scripture reference, John 20:24-29. Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you.’ So, peace comes from God.”

Wow! Such a profound truth. Yes, in one of the first post-Resurrection appearances of the risen Jesus, that was exactly what He said. “Peace be with you.” I am sure Jesus’s appearance must have been shocking. I would imagine some of the disciples being scared to death. Jesus must have known He needed to reassure them.

Jerusalem was in a tumultuous time, right after the death of Jesus. No wonder the risen Jesus brought words of PEACE! And belief? Believing is the response to the words of Jesus.

Now, Gladys. Gladys was shy of having her photo taken, although she set right to, writing a definition of PEACE. She was shy to show her definition, too since she says she wasn’t very articulate in her writing. Gladys wrote “PEACE is obtain through God that you can keep within your self and your soul.” Both definitions are strikingly similar. God is operative in both!

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Your expression of peace. Thank You that You are the way to peace. The Prince of Peace. We also thank God for Joe, Gladys and Levi, and pray that You will draw them closer together as a family. Thank You for your love for the Limmo family, and thank You for your gift of peace that is available to us all. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

PEACE – Knowing Jesus is in Control

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 26, 2016

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PEACE – Knowing Jesus is in Control

The last day of definitions from Bethesda Worship Center in Des Plaines, and the last day I would sincerely like to apologize. There was a malfunction with my digital camera. Sadly, I was unable to take photos of the dear folks in Des Plaines on Sunday. I do thank Pastor Chuck Reid for offering his smart phone as a last-minute replacement! (My advanced-beginner expertise with social media is showing … in that I couldn’t get the dratted thing to send photos!)

However, I persevere. So, this is the last day—and the last definition. Today’s personal view of PEACE comes from Barbara Reid, Pastor Chuck’s wife. Barbara’s personal definition of PEACE: “knowing Jesus is in complete control of my life.”

As I talked with Barbara, she gave me a great expansion on that definition. “Jesus is God in the flesh; Savior, Master, salvation. Knowing that He, the Author of peace, is in control of me and of my life? That is truly peace for me.”

Sister Barbara said so many excellent things. She gave several outstanding words and phrases to describe what PEACE is, for her. However, I would like to focus on her expression “Author of peace.” Barbara is quoting from 1 Corinthians 14. The apostle says, “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.”

That is truly peace. Not confusion, not disorder, but instead peace and orderliness.

What sprang to my mind after that? Nature. The animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. The order found there, which is so sensible. So structured. So logical.

Dear Lord, thank You for order. Thank You for making certain that people have both rhyme and reason to their lives, their purpose, their very souls. I praise Your name and Your wish to communicate Your love each and every day. Great is Your faithfulness and love!

@chaplaineliza

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

God’s Son Took on Flesh

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Virgin Mary and Child icon plaque

God’s Son Took on Flesh

In today’s reading, Bonhoeffer said that the Eternal Son took on flesh. He became human. What’s more, He did this out of pure grace; “our being, our nature, ourselves. This was the eternal counsel of the triune God. Now we are in Him.” [1]

We know today, from the testimony of all the Scriptures, that Jesus is at the same time fully God and fully man. Yes, that is why He came down from heaven to be born of Mary. This is the good news brought to us by the angel chorus. The Eternal Second Person of the Trinity, Creator of the whole universe, God the Son, emptied Himself of all God-ness. Took on humanity, and was born as a helpless Baby. Good news of great joy for all the people.

Jesus. Messiah. He will save His people from their sins. Fully God, fully human, at the same time. Yes, it’s a mystery. It’s a miracle.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “Once in Royal David’s City.” Please notice the words of verses 2 and 3. Talking about Jesus being human. And then, verse 4 tells us of the future, when we will be with Jesus forever, in heaven.

Yes, it’s a mystery. Yes, it’s a miracle. Jesus, come down to earth from heaven. God’s Son took on flesh. Amen, alleluia.

@chaplaineliza

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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] God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, trans. O.C. Dean, Jr., compiled and edited, Jana Riess (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), 77.

God’s Message to Our Heart

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 18, 2015

direct line to heaven

God’s Message to Our Hearts

Poor self-esteem? Guilty as charged. Seriously, I used to have a low sense of self-esteem. It’s better now.

But, many people are in this sad and sorry boat. Not feeling good about themselves. Thinking, “Oh, well. What’s the use? I’m no good at this life thing, anyway.”

One small wrinkle in that sad story? God doesn’t work that way. Jesus came to earth especially to let me know that I am God’s beloved child. (And, so are you! Each of us is!)

As Henri Nouwen mentions in today’s Advent reading, “The mystery of this spiritual truth is that you were loved before you were born, and you will be loved after you die . . . Your dwelling in God’s heart is a dwelling from eternity to eternity” [1]

I know God loves me. Not only intellectually, but I know it in my heart, too. Thank You, God.

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 40.

Pray for the Coming of the Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 13, 2015

Second coming, Autun Cathedral  (Giselbertus, 12th century)

Second coming, Autun Cathedral
(Giselbertus, 12th century)

Pray for the Coming of the Lord

Look up! Be not afraid! The coming of the Lord will be like a thief in the night. Come creeping on tiptoes, perhaps? Or, with a loud trumpet blast? Regardless, Our Lord will return. Soon and very soon.

Henri Nouwen made an intriguing statement today, in the meditation reading: “Be alert, be alert, so that you will be able to recognize your Lord in your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily papers. The Lord is coming, always coming.” [1]

Recognizing Jesus in my family and friends? Recognizing Jesus even in all I read in the daily papers? (and other media sources?) This reminds me of something Karl Barth said, about interpreting the Second Coming: “We can’t fathom the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, and we stammer when we try to speak of it.” Truly, the Second Advent is far, far bigger than anyone in the world. I suspect it’s even larger than the whole universe. (And, that is pretty big.)

Many of these Advent meditations concentrate more on the First Coming. The birth of the Baby in Bethlehem. Yet—Advent is much more than that. Although, that is a huge event, too. But the Second Coming? That is certainly a game-changer. Talk about the end of days. The end of everything, as we know it.

I do not claim to know very much about the Second Advent. Except—I will be with God when it happens. If I am in God’s arms, under God’s protection, that is usually more than enough for me.

Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be watchful, waiting for Your arrival. Don’t let pride, arrogance, stupidity, or fear blind me to Your coming. (I know I can be all of these. Forgive me, Lord. Let me say with so many of Your faithful people, Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 30.

Prayer and the Discipline of Community

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 4, 2015

people diverse fellowship in the church

Prayer and the Discipline of Community

Everyone needs someone. I don’t care who it is, each person needs some other person (or, persons) to relate to. To be with. To give and express love, caring and sharing. Henri Nouwen calls this the Discipline of Community.

I was previously unfamiliar with this particular Discipline. The more familiar, general Spiritual Disciplines I am familiar with, true. (To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the Discipline.) Except, this one was new for me.

The concepts of talking and walking with others, spending time in each other’s company, and especially of physical contact—free hugs, anyone?—all of these have been studied in recent years by research studies on both the social science and public health sides as well as the medical side. Physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically? Even spiritually. In every way, as Fr. Nouwen says, “I need people to love me and care for me.” [1] [emphasis mine]

Yes, while He was here on earth, Jesus gathered a band of people around Him. The named disciples, but more than that. Mary, Martha, their brother Lazarus, Mary Magdalen, the other Mary, Salome. Even some of the healed people, the formerly demonized, those with their sight and hearing and full range of motion restored to them, miraculously—some of these came into Jesus’s circle. All kinds of people, from all different walks of life, gathered around Jesus.

This reading today makes me wonder: are my friends diverse? Or, are they all monochromatic? All white-bread? Do I “reach out and touch” my friends and acquaintances? Am I open to their touch? Do I welcome their smiles, their words? Difficult thoughts, and hard words, indeed.

Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me and bringing this important challenge to my attention. For, it is indeed a challenge. Encourage me to be a good small group member, and good member of my congregation. So, help me, God.

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 12.

Give Back to Us the Light, Lord!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 28, 2015

sunrise over the clouds

Give Back to Us the Light, Lord!

With the end of October drawing near, the darkness approaches, closes in. Not a positive thing, especially for someone with Seasonal Affective Disorder (fittingly shortened to SAD). Darkness is also a big deal for the worship and vigil of Holy Saturday. Today’s prayer comes under the notation “For the Kindling of the Light on Easter Eve.”

This is one of the oldest prayers I have yet seen, by Prudentius (348-410), in the section “Thine Is the Kingdom.” (Prayer 522, page 158) [1] Today’s prayer is about Sacraments.

Light is not a sacrament of the Church. In my Protestant tradition, baptism and communion are the two designated sacraments. However—light is fundamental to Christian belief. I can well understand how someone as significant as Prudentius could pen these distinctive lines.

“Good captain, maker of the light” – referring to Christ, who is acknowledged to be active in creation. And, focusing on the light. (Or, is it perhaps an oblique reference to the Light, Jesus, as mentioned in John 8:12?)

“Who dost divide the day and night” – again, a reference to the Second Person of the Trinity. Genesis 1 vividly speaks of the division in the first Creation narrative.

“The sun is drowned beneath the sea” – I think this is an allusion to the Sun of Righteousness, another name for Jesus from verses such as Malachi 4:2. And drowned? Under the sea? I suspect this is a reference to Holy Saturday. Remembering our Lord when He died. Descended into hell, in the words of the Apostles Creed (one of the oldest existing Creeds).

“Chaos is on us, horribly.” – Ah, the chaos of Holy Saturday. Horrible, desperate loneliness. Chaos of Genesis 1:2, formless, void. Empty. Wasteland. Who can save us from this desperate state?

“O Christ, give back to faithful souls the light!” – Dear Christ, hear our cry. Send us Your light. Lead us forth from the seeming endless void of Holy Saturday into the blazing brightness of Easter morning.

@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), 158.

Center on the Vine? Abide? Remain?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 29, 2015

VINE Vine stained glass John 15

Center on the Vine? Abide? Remain?

I purposely chose a Name of God that has given me difficulty for years. This particular Name comes from John 15:5. My Name of God for today is Vine.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” This is Jesus talking to the disciples in the Upper Room Discourse. I have had difficulty—for years and years!—with that simple word “abide.” For the life of me, I could not get the concept through my head. I kept going around and around. As far as John 15 was concerned, “abide” meant “remain.” And “remain” meant “reside.” Which also meant “abide.” Argh!!

I finally had a kind of a breakthrough while reading a bible commentary on John about two years ago. I can’t for the life of me remember which commentary this was, but the writer drew a comparison of camping versus building a proper house. When I abide in Christ, I am taking up residence, putting down roots. It is no fly by night kind of thing—unlike temporary camping, where I could set up a tent for a night or two, and be gone the next.

Since I had that breakthrough and now am better able to comprehend what Jesus was saying in John 15, I thought I might choose this particular Name.

One might think that the words Jesus used in this chapter might have helped me, or given me a mental picture. No. No such luck here. I have no idea why, but I have had difficulty with this image and this concept for years and years. (And I am usually a visual person!)

However, I persevere. I tried to center and focus with this Name of God. I even tried some Ignatian-prayer-type focus. Alas, I am not very good with this meditative type of prayer. Centering and focusing? Not right now, apparently. At least not today.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I did try to center and focus on You today. I wonder what You think of me as I founder and flounder about, in prayer? I did not have the sense that the Holy Spirit was as present as at other times. (I know, I very well could be wrong about that.) But I felt particularly un-focused. Dear Lord, the best I can say is that I tried. And, I hope that my prayers to You rise before You like incense. Thank You for listening.

@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

Who is The Son of David? Center, Focus.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 27, 2015

SON OF DAVID have mercy words

Who is The Son of David? Center, Focus.

I was drawn to the Name of God “Son of David.” It comes from one of my most favorite Gospel passages. So, you better believe I chose it for Centering Prayer. My Name of God for today is Son of David.

There are a number of places in the New Testament where this Name is used to designate Jesus, but I can never forget Mark 10:47. In Jericho, Blind Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Because of his persistence and noise-making, Bartimaeus was healed. Jesus did indeed have mercy upon him.

Son of David. Designated as the Name of God. I was able to get down to centering with little trouble. I was even able to keep my mind (mostly) centered and focused on “Son of David.” In my mind, I saw Bartimaeus sitting by the side of the road. (But I did not hear him cry out. Just saw him sitting there. As if in a documentary.)

I couldn’t help but think of the miracle of sight that Jesus brought to Bartimaeus. How am I blind, today? In what ways? How are the other believers blind, today? Where are they short-sighted? How much do we need a touch from the Messiah, the Son of David.

How many blind, deaf and otherwise disabled people did Bartimaeus know? Why was he the chosen to be healed over another blind or deaf or other disabled person? Dear Lord, gracious Son of David, I won’t be able to know or understand. But I thank You for Bartimaeus and his bold witness to You and Your Messianic Name. Touch me. Heal my blindness and short-sightedness, today. Thank You, dear Messiah Jesus.

@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