Tag Archives: Lord Jesus

Breaking Down Barriers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 19, 2018

Gal 3-28 all one, words

Breaking Down Barriers

The Apostle Paul talks about barriers several times in his letters. Not only about breaking down barriers between people, between Jews and non-Jews, between male and female, slave and free, but also between us and God. (That is, all of us—humanity—and God.)

This caused me to reflect on the breaking down of barriers today. It seems to me that God would be pleased if followers of God were to break down barriers in all areas today. Not only racial and social, but in terms of gender, class, accident of birth, ethnic and cultural barriers, as well.

It seems as if racial, ethnic and cultural tensions are on the rise. It is not just my imagination. Just over the weekend, The New York Times reported a marked spike in hate crimes here in the United States. Specifically, hate crimes against Jewish people between the years 2016 and 2017 are up over 50 percent. [1] And, this is not an isolated occurrence.

In Detroit this past weekend an experiment disgruntled many people. A mock “no Irish pub” was “part of an experiment to raise awareness about how poorly Irish immigrants were once treated in the U.S. against the backdrop of prominent modern-day conversations about race and immigration.” [2] This mock-pub had a bouncer outside who gave verbal abuse to people of Irish ancestry and people who were wearing green—as was common around the turn of the 1900’s, with signs in shop windows that said “No Irish need apply” for help wanted positions. “Century-old newspaper articles that described Irish immigrants as “simians,” “too lazy to work” and members of “a servant race” helped fuel bouncer Bill Johns’ language as he sat outside the pub, telling people they couldn’t come in.” [3]

During the Apostle Paul’s time, in some circles, if you were not a Roman citizen, you were not worth much at all. (Fortunately, Paul was born a citizen; he was born to a father who had Roman citizenship.) Right side or wrong side of the railroad tracks, north-sider or south-sider, city mouse or country mouse? It does not matter to God. God breaks down all barriers. (Thank God!)

Let us pray: “Lord Jesus, in this Lenten season we are reminded of the sacrifice you made for us. Thank you that, by your sacrifice, you have made peace between us and God, and between us and others. Help us to live as people who represent the hope of the universe. Amen.” [4]

@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] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/sunday-review/anti-semitism-american-jews.html

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/03/17/detroit-pub-refused-serve-irish-people-detroit-st-paddys-pub-refused-serve-irish-people-make-point-m/435650002/

[3] Ibid.

[4] Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 90-91.

Meister Eckhart: Be of Service

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, April 7, 2017

serve one another, Mark 10

 

Meister Eckhart: Be of Service

We come to another medieval spiritual writer, Meister Eckhart. Yes, and much more than that. He entered the Dominican order, studied in Paris and Cologne, became Dominican prior at Erfurt, and soon started serving as Professor of Theology at Strasbourg. All the while, he also preached and served as spiritual director. Although he was brought up on charges by inquisitors in Cologne, some time later these charges were found to be largely fabricated and politically motivated—but, too late. Meister Eckhart had died while traveling to clear his name. [1]

This excerpt from one of Eckhart’s sermons features Martha and Mary. He lifts up Martha as mature and a person of depth. Interesting that she was more of the servant of the two sisters. “Now Martha says, ‘Lord, tell her to help me.’ Martha did not say this out of anger. She spoke rather out of a loving kindness because she was hard pressed. We must indeed call it a loving kindness or a lovable form of teasing.” [2]

Now, let’s look at Mary, sitting at our Lord’s feet. Eckhart’s words: “she yearned without knowing what it was she yearned after, and she desired without knowing what she desired!” [3] Ah, to be Mary, and to think “that she can already do what she wishes so long as she is only seated beneath your consolation.” [4]

Indeed, as our Lord Jesus says to Martha, only one thing is necessary: “I and you, embraced one by the eternal light—that is one thing.” [5] Yes, Jesus calls us to serve. And, yes, Jesus calls us to study, sit, and drink in the presence of the Lord. Both/and, not either/ or. As I reflect upon this interpretation of Martha and Mary, I tend to agree with Richard Foster. Yes, I appreciate Eckhart’s central point. Yes, “spirituality and service are inseparable twins.” [6]

Dear Lord, as I read this narrative again, I am also reminded of my tendency to swing to extremes on the pendulum. Help me—help all of us—to find a healthy balance. 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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 205.

[2] Ibid, 206.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 207.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid. 209.

Simone Weil, Praying the “Our Father”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Our Father Matt 6

Simone Weil, Praying the “Our Father”

Here is another brilliant pray-er. (Educated in philosophy, and experienced as a teacher!) Simone Weil had such a multi-layered relationship with God. As one of the foremost twentieth century mystics, she wrote essays about prayer and her contemplative experience.

In this edited, gathered collection of selected writings, Richard Foster has Ms. Weil discussing the Lord’s Prayer. She runs through each petition, and gives a short commentary about each one. Of course, each extended paragraph—as commentary—has so much packed into it. I am simply amazed at the theological depth of this loved one of God.

That said, one sentence cut me to the heart, even more than the rest of her penetrating comments. In her paragraph discussing “Our Father, which art in heaven,” she says “We do not have to search for Him, we only have to change the direction in which we are looking.” [1]

It is as if the blindfold has been taken off, and I’ve been turned around to look the right way. By changing the direction I look, I change my attitude, and my impressions of life, of others and of my situation. I change focus. Almost imperceptibly, I find myself changing from the inside out.

As Richard Foster mentions afterwards, our Lord Jesus prayed this prayer in a teaching moment. “By responding to their request with the “Our Father” Jesus shows Himself to be the absolute Master of prayer, as He is of all matters of life.” [2]

Truly, the Rabbi Jesus prayed a prayer for the ages, interpreted in dozens of ways. Jesus knew very well about trials and temptations, as well as daily bread and the Kingdom of God. No matter the situation, no matter the location. No matter what. Thank God for the “Our Father.”

@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] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 48.

[2] Ibid, 53.

Busy Day—Need to Pray

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 2, 2016

god-wants-to-talk-to-you

Busy Day—Need to Pray

Upon reflection, make that a busy evening, plus a busy day. A great deal of running, fetching, errands, and emails.

Started off the day on the computer. Went to the gym and power-walked. Did stuff at church for several hours. Dropped off two flyers at the local counseling center this afternoon (for the Prayer Gathering on Monday, Dec. 12 and the Blue Christmas service on Monday, Dec. 19). Then, a stop at the tree-lighting in the park downtown, and rushed off to a Holiday Concert (at my daughter’s school). Ended up doing several more errands.

Not a dull moment.

Lord, did I take one moment to think about You? To come before You with my praises as well as my pain? Well—I took a couple of minutes to pray, at my good friend Josh’s Daily Prayer website. (In case anyone is curious, it is www.dailyoffice.org ) But, I am afraid that was it, as far as prayer is concerned.

In retrospect, it was a good day. I had several excellent conversations. I enjoyed myself very much at the concert. (Especially hearing Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.)

However—Lord Jesus—I need to talk with You more. I don’t care how or when I communicated with You in the past, but I need to do more of it. Can You help me? That is my petition right now. Please.

@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

Heart Open to Receive Anyone

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, December 14, 2015

Jesus Heart people

Heart Open to Receive Anyone

In recent weeks, I have been saddened to see such animosity and hatred. Such fear and anxiety. I want it all to stop. Desperately.

I could talk about my grandfather, a Jewish immigrant to America from a shtetl in the western Ukraine in the early 1900’s. And about many of his uncles, aunts and cousins who have been documented as dying in the Nazi concentration camps. Or, I could talk about myself, having one Jewish grandparent. That would have been enough to send me to the camps, if I had been there in that period of time.

I am so sad, shocked and sorry about Americans of Japanese ancestry who were torn from their normal, everyday lives in the early 1940’s and transported to concentration—I mean, internment camps. There are still those alive who remember this horrible deed. I thank everyone who wishes to make certain it never happens again.

I read the news and am filled with horror at the widespread disregard and in some cases, hatred for people of color. Or people who are LGBTQ, or who align themselves as allies. Or, most lately, hatred and open mocking of Muslims. Refusing to tolerate people who are “different.” Like my Jewish grandfather. Or people who happened to have the same ancestry as those who bombed Pearl Harbor. Or, the same ancestry as those in the Nazi party.

As someone who has been intensively trained as a hospital chaplain, I strive to uphold values of mutual respect and treating each person—ALL persons, regardless of color, ethnicity, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, or whatever other difference society raises as a barrier—with kindness and honor. Being willing to sit alongside of each one, walk for a little way with people who are willing to walk alongside of me.

This is why I was so moved today to see Henri Nouwen’s Advent meditation. To read the words he wrote: “The Father … sent us You, dear Lord Jesus, with a human heart big enough to hold all human loneliness and all human anguish.… Your heart does not distinguish between rich and poor, friend and enemy, female and male, slave and free, sinner and saint. Your heart is open to receive anyone with total, unrestricted love.” [1]

I remember John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” I wonder. Who would Jesus hate? Who would Jesus exclude? Who would Jesus send to a concentration camp? Did Jesus come to gather the outcasts and those who wander into His arms? Hard questions. Even more challenging answers. 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

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 32.

Praying for True Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 9, 2015

peace on earth

Praying for True Peace

Peace. Searching for peace. Why is it so fleeting, especially today? The Prince of Peace. I seek His face, the One who brings peace.

Yes, this is Advent, a time of waiting. A time of longing. A time neither here nor there, a time when I acknowledge the First Coming and await the Second Coming. This is most certainly not a time of peace. This crooked, broken world holds wars, rumors of war, fighting, free-floating anxiety, panic, dread.

Yet, I know the Prince of Peace is much more than that. I know the One who brings peace has overcome the world.

Henri Nouwen says, “Keep your eyes on Him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak. He is the source of all peace.” [1]

In this slim book of Advent readings, there is an Advent Action for each day. The action set for this reading for today is to listen to liturgical music. That particular kind of music “can often help us pray and can even help to overcome the chaos of a tense situation at home or elsewhere.… find and listen to a CD of religious music that expresses the calm serenity of waiting for the Christ child.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of peace. Thank You for entering into this sinful world, coming to humanity and offering perfect peace to all who come to You. We praise and honor Your holy name. 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

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 22.

[2] Ibid, 23.

Enemies of the Spiritual Life?

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

Cross - crucifixion

Enemies of the Spiritual Life?

“The two main enemies of the spiritual life [are] anger and greed. They are the inner side of a secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependencies.” [1]

Ah, anger and greed. Those two again. Two of the seven deadly sins, certainly.

Anger is so often my response when I do not get what I want, or when I feel deprived. Why do I keep getting angry, over and over and over again?

Greed … covetousness. I want what I want when I want it. *stamps foot*

My goodness! Between both of these “seven deadly sins,” I do a pretty convincing job of playing a petulant, spoiled child. Even though I don’t like to think of myself that way, I guess I do end up acting like this more often than I would like.

So, what is one solution? (I know there are more. Thank God. But, one is all I need right now.)

This reading gives me Romans 12:2 as one solution – “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The words of Fr. Nouwen are so appropriate, in closing. “Help us to sever our dependencies on the world’s distractions and give us an opportunity to find ourselves in the shelter and safety of Your wings.”

Even so, help me draw closer to You, Lord Jesus. In Your name I 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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 14.