Tag Archives: listen

In Which I Listen to Christmas Music

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 16, 2016

handels-messiah-title

In Which I Listen to Christmas Music

I enjoy listening to music. I mean, really enjoy it. (I do have an undergraduate degree in music. So, there.)

I have eclectic tastes in Christmas music, too. Love me some Leroy Anderson, Irving Berlin, and Vince Guaraldi. Also, I am a big fan of Baroque music (Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, anyone? Of course, the first part of Handel’s Messiah. For that matter, all three parts of it.).

Currently, my favorite music I listen to on the CD player happens to be a Christmas jazz instrumental collection. Also, I am seriously considering buying another Christmas CD—a capella, five voices. Wonderful blend, jazzy and innovative arrangements.

I suspect I know what some people are asking. Listening to music…that is just background noise. But, not for me. For me, it can be much more.

Sometimes when I am listening to music, I feel a joy inside, or awe, or deep sadness. I swing, or strum, or just rock out. It doesn’t matter where on earth the music came from. The musical language can even transport me to a galaxy far, far away.

Can I pray when I am listening to music? Not always, no. Sometimes I simply enjoy the music for its own sake. But, sometimes, the music echoes deep within. And, yes, I pray. I thank God for the particular piece I’m listening to. (And, I mean, really listening. I listen to the melodies, harmonies, and various instrumentalists and vocalists. I listen to the interplay, polyphony, sometimes the conversation between various groups of instruments.)

Amazingly, at times the music moves me ever so strongly. (I was going to say, “strikes a deep chord,” but I thought I would skip that pun.) And, sometimes I pray wordlessly when I listen to music.

Dear God, thank You for music. Thank You for artistic expression, which is a gift of Your ever-so-dynamic creative impulse. Creative God, thank You for the many different compositions, styles, expressions and arrangements of praise to You. I’m especially thinking of Christmas music. It doesn’t matter whether the music was written in the Renaissance, or Classical era, or the twentieth century. Innovation and beauty mix and meet, intermingle and interplay. Thank You for such a marvelous expression of creativity. No matter what else happens to me or my loved ones, no matter what is going on emotionally or what a bumpy road I may be on. I love listening this time of the year, especially because of the marvelous, glorious music. Simply, thanks.

@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 the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 22, 2016

autumn-harvest-bounty

In the Middle of Things—in Prayer

Ever had what seems to be a hundred things going on at once? Yeah—me, too.

Don’t come to me for advice. (Please.) But, I do listen to some wise people. Sometimes.

Yes, I have work stuff happening, and continuing to happen. Yes, there is quite a bit of family stuff happening, both in my extended family as well as my husband’s family. On top of everything else, a major holiday is coming up, soon. Even more stuff is happening because of that.

All of which is totally overwhelming, if I let myself think about it too much.

This season in my life reminds me of some years ago, when I was in graduate school, full-time. I had a family. I worked two internships, half-time, my second and third years of graduate school. You better believe I was busy!. I could not even think of a full semester of my class work at a time. My brain would short circuit.

I got used to thinking of only a day or two, or at most, three. That was all. Just a couple of days at a time. The only exceptions were when I had a big project or a major paper. Those I would think about a week or two ahead of time. Unwillingly. Believe me, the people who stick to the idea of “One Day at a Time” really have hit on something.

So, that is what I am doing now. Concentrating on just a day, or maybe, two, at a time. I hope and pray I can be faithful and courageous.

Dear God, help me as I try to get things done, just a little at a time. Be attentive to my loved ones, and especially the situation with a dear one in hospice, Lord. Help me to decide and discern what to do first, second and third, each day, and what can be left for another day. Thank You for Your blessings poured out upon us each day and every day. 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

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

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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

 

 

Praying, Pursuing Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 3, 2016

Lord teach us to pray

Praying, Pursuing Peace (Psalm 34:11, 14)

A psalm of confusion, of gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise. This song of David’s features prominently in the “thanks, God!” section of the book of Psalms.

11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

This psalm was written remembering when David was in a really tight spot. Surrounded by enemy warriors, he feigned madness. Had spittle coming down his beard. Probably disheveled clothes and hair, too. Wild eyes, jerky motions. I can just see him in my imagination. (David must have been a fabulous actor.)

Cut to the end of the story: King Abimelech kicked David out of his walled city. David must have been greatly, greatly relieved.

At this time in David’s life, when he was on the run from King Saul, he did not have much opportunity to pursue peace. He probably wanted peace above all things! In verse 14, above, he mentions the craving for peace. His deep desire for peace. Pursue it! Run after it, full bore! Added to that, he advises his readers to depart from evil. (David must know human nature pretty well, with that kind of insight.)

What about me? Do I fear the Lord? Do I listen to God’s words and God’s people? Do I always flee evil? What about doing good? Am I in the habit of seeking—much less, pursuing peace? What about you? Can you answer these questions I just asked myself?

Good questions, God. Thanks for bringing me up close and personal with these serious questions. I still haven’t figured out all the answers, but I know that’s okay with You. As long as we are thinking about the answers, and striving to do the very best job we can. Thanks, 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.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

More Prayers for a Friend

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 7, 2016

 

immeasurable prayer power

More Prayers for a Friend

Praying, praying, praying. Yes, I do this on a regular basis.

I have a long-time friend who has been readmitted to the hospital. My friend needs some assistance from the medical staff.  And, has asked for some prayers.

When I was a chaplain in the hospital, I sat with people, listened to people, and consoled people. And when they requested it, I prayed. I was asked to pray for some patients, and their loved ones. I prayed for medical staff, and for traumatic and desperate situations. Even for some people who were actively dying, and for a few dear, departed souls.

Now, my friend has returned to the hospital. I’m praying.

I know there are lots more people in the hospital and in care centers, all across the Chicago area. All across the country, in fact.

God knows all of these people, all these loved ones, and their families. God knows each situation, and each unspoken prayer request rising before the Divine. Please, Lord. Please, listen to all of our prayers. Thank You for the encouragement, the support, and the answers.

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

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, July 3, 2016

colorful flower bouquet

Listen, Pray, Mourn, Remember

Today was a Sunday. A day to worship, a day to gather together with other believers. A day to share joys and concerns. Oh, how many joys and concerns we all have.

Many concerns, including a 90-something friend who is recovering from yet another hospital procedure. Just like the Energizer Bunny, keeps on going. God bless this senior! Also a newly-born premature baby, the tiny relative of an older friend. Great amount of concern for this little one, and family! Then, several generations of a family going some distance to a large family reunion. Journey mercies going, and returning, and many blessings while at the reunion. And, my friend in hospice. So sad. God be with that situation, too.

Today was also the day that I provided flowers for the altar at church. Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death.

I could not help but remember that my father had been dead exactly twice as long as I had lived. Since he was a statistician by trade, and I remember how much he used to enjoy serendipitous situations like that, I noted it. And, I missed my dad. Mourned him and his premature death. Cancer took him much too soon.

I went to the cemetery to see him and my mother today, as well as the other relatives buried there. Gorgeous day to walk in the cemetery.

Yes, I listened. Certainly, I prayed. Quietly, I mourned. And yes, I remembered.

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 sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Peace, and Personal Definitions

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 8, 2016

Personal Definition sign

Peace, and Personal Definitions

What is your personal definition of peace? What is peace, to you?

I have been gathering these personal definitions together for months. Getting a sample of peace here, a more complete picture of peace there.

Gathering some from here, there, and in every sort of illustration. Here is a quote from the June 7 article by Lee V. Gaines, pertaining to the Peace Vigil in the Chicago Tribune: “Jones said during the months of Lent she also asked her congregation to share their thoughts on the meaning of the word, and then started posting their response on a blog she created earlier this year.

“’People really appreciate my asking them what their personal definition of peace is, what their idea of peace is, so that’s what I’ve been doing,” she said.

“[Morton Grove Village Trustee Janine] Witko said an event like this is especially important given the divisive and polarizing discourse on display during the current election cycle. She said Morton Grove is an example of an incredibly diverse community living in relative harmony.”

I am thinking about all the definitions I have gathered together. What should I do with them?

Still thinking. Asking for suggestions of all of you! Send them to me, please. God willing, I will come up with another great idea.

@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