Tag Archives: seeking

Seeking Guidance with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, April 30, 2017

guidance, compass

Seeking Guidance with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King was an African-American Baptist minister, assassinated in 1968. He also was a civil rights leader, an eloquent preacher, and proponent of dignified social action with the creative weapons of love and non-violence. He believed in taking the biblical stories and transforming them into God’s prophetic voice for the present, turbulent times. [1]

I was especially struck by Dr. King’s statement: “I believe firmly that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, good will and justice.” [2] Love is a transforming power, indeed!

The creative weapons of love and non-violence were indeed innovative, attention-getting, and peaceful. These creative, innovative weapons were accepted by a widespread group of people, mostly people of color—but not all. In today’s parlance, a number of allies (white folks) stood with the civil rights movement.

God’s hand was clearly in the civil rights movement, in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The prophetic voice of God was heard not only throughout this country, but around the world. Alas, today many people of color are still fearful. (Or, newly fearful.) This is because of several reasons, including the rise in xenophobia, racism, and generalized fear and anxiety. Many people find themselves fearful of the rise in xenophobia and racism, coupled with random acts of vandalism and violence.

I urge those who are frightened and anxious to come together, gather to pray and meet together in groups. If enough people gather together, and refuse to retaliate with hate and anxiety, there will be a strong, vital group expressing encouragement and love.

I close with this call for prayer from Dr. King: “We ask people everywhere to pray that God will guide us, pray that justice will be done and that righteousness will stand. And I think through these prayers we will be strengthened; it will make us feel the unity of the nation and the presence of Almighty God.” [3]

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), 279.

[2] Ibid, 280.

[3] Ibid, 281.

John Milton’s Poems on Submission

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 30, 2017

John Milton 1608-1674 English poet dictating Samson Agonistes From Old England's Worthies by Lord Brougham and others published London circa 1880's

John Milton’s Poems on Submission

Submission: almost a dirty word, in the 21st century context. Certainly, submission smacks of knuckling under, being oppressed, or unfairly treated. However—it wasn’t always this way.

Submission is one of the spiritual disciplines Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin list, and four readings are included that give different insights into this discipline. John Milton is the first, that brilliant writer, employed in the English political sector for years. Milton has two excerpts listed here: the first written when he was 23, and the other written after he lost his eyesight in his 40’s. In both cases, he was profoundly empty, and was casting about for some meaning in his life.

Yes, the first poem written in Milton’s youth bears great hope, but also frustration. Why hasn’t God given this young man great things to do? Or, if not great, at least tasks to occupy the young Milton’s time? (He even calls God “my Great Task-Master.”) At the end of the poem, he does submit to God’s will and God’s timing—as must we all.

I may relate more to the poem of his middle age, after blindness has come upon his eyes. It certainly has a more subdued and wistful air. Milton comes to the realization that just as countless others do God’s bidding, in various ways (“thousands at his bidding speed/And post o’er land and ocean without rest.”), so does he, as he is able. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” [1]

Yes, the second poem touches something deep within me. By God’s mercy, I have never experienced blindness. However, I am extremely nearsighted. If it weren’t for corrective lenses, I would be in a sad situation. Unable to see more than three or four inches in front of my face, I would have a vastly different life in a different place than the western world in the 21st century.

But, that is only touching on my physical eyesight. What about doing God’s bidding? I was searching for God’s bidding, for years. Yes, I was frustrated at wandering through life, on my meandering way around the wilderness of my 20’s and 30’s. Never hearing clearly what God might be saying, even though I was searching. Avidly, doggedly. Now, since 40 and into my 50’s, it is different. Yet, I can remember and relate so well to what Milton says here. I have learned, the hard way, what it is like to submit.

Dear Lord, this excerpt brings back difficult memories to me. Frustration, fear, anger, anxiety. How I would go round and round and round again, and end up in exactly the same place. Yes, I have learned to submit. And, be patient. Lord, in Your mercy, hear the prayers of all Your children who are still wandering, still waiting, still seeking Your bidding. In Your powerful name we pray, amen.

@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), 173.

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 28, 2015

Light be a light to the world

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

I was a bit puzzled by the third step in the daily Ignatian prayer process, as interpreted by Margaret Silf. I know it’s a small thing, but I did not quite get what she meant. Or rather, one particular word she used.

Here’s the step, as found in Silf’s book on Ignatian spirituality and prayer, Inner Compass: Light-seeking: “Ask God to help you see and understand how His love has been working within you today. This is a gift of the Spirit, and it has been promised to all who sincerely seek it.”

I consider myself theologically knowledgeable, in basic terms. But here—Silf’s use of “light-seeking” interchangeably with “God’s love?” Perhaps I am overthinking what she’s doing here. I probably am.

What I sometimes do with concepts I have difficulty understanding is this: I break it down. I take it apart, in pieces. It’s then that I come to some understanding of the separate pieces. Yes, I have some idea of what constitutes “God’s love.” And, I am so moved by Silf’s imagery of “Light-seeking.” Thought-provoking mental image!

I’ve come to a comfort level of not-knowing. Or, at least not knowing in full. If I can’t square the phrase “God’s love” with “Light-seeking,” it’s okay. God will still love me just as much if I don’t understand some things about God. No one has a full understanding, anyhow. I suspect that I am in a better (read, more open-minded) position, now that I realize I just don’t know stuff.

And, that’s okay. God understands. God still gifts me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, no matter how much or how little theological background I may have. I just need to be honest, open and willing. Willing to be open, with an open mind and heart. Amen. 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 .