Tag Archives: wandering

Strangers Here On Earth, God

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, January 29, 2018

Psa 119-19 stranger, words

Strangers Here On Earth, God

What a strange thing. So many people in the Bible considered themselves strangers, sojourners in a strange land. I had never noticed that before!

That feeling of being out of place? Awkward? Strangers, not belonging in a situation or a place?

I am a stranger here on earth,

Do not hide Your commandments from me.

Intellectually, I realize this feeling is more widespread than some people think. Abraham, Isaac, Moses: all felt like this But, all of these mentions in the Bible? And, by King David, no less! He was one of the last people I would expect to feel this way, with his charismatic personality and charming good looks.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer mentioned that he, too, was a stranger and a sojourner here on earth. However, this strangeness and wandering as a sojourner is no reason to neglect the call of God. God can still call me. It doesn’t matter whether I answer to Bonhoeffer, or the Catholic faith, a Protestant denomination.

I am here on this earth as a person who follows God’s Word. To the best of my ability. However, there are those who pray as pilgrims in a strange land. “For those who have become strangers on earth, according to God’s will and his calling, there is really only one thought that can fill them with dread—that they might no longer recognize God’s will, no longer know what God require of us.

What does God require? How do we, as strangers and sojourners, possibly present God with anything possible that God could want. Remarkably, the last words in this psalm   anyone would expect. Do I fear that the promises of God could be wallpapered over? Scary thought, indeed. Holy God, blessed God, help me continue to follow.



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


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.



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.

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 7, 2015

path in Ireland

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Today’s prayer is about Longing. I chose it for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer, and this brief prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 176, page 65) [1]

The prayer I chose for today was written by a Bishop of Utrecht, in what is now the Netherlands, about the year 900. (Thanks to the editor George Appleton for making sure it was translated and readable.) St. Radbod (also known as Radboud) wrote this heartfelt prayer.

Each line is compact, and brimming full of meaning and earnestness.

“Hunger and thirst, O Christ, for sight of Thee/Came between me and all the feasts of earth./Give thou Thyself the Bread, thyself the Wine,/Thou, sole provision for the unknown way./Long hunger wasted the world wanderer,/With sight of thee may he be satisfied.”

Just think. Radbod said sight of Christ came between him and—everything to eat or drink on earth. That doesn’t mean simply a common meal. No, the Bishop mentioned “feasts.” Those are special, sumptuous meals, full of uncommon, fine dishes. And I assume special drinks, as well. So, Christ means more to him than eating and drinking really special foods and drinks.

Could I say that? Does Christ mean more to me than feasting? Usually, yes. But—special, sumptuous meals? Extra-special food and drink? I realize I have a weakness for food and drink. (Yes, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins I need to be particularly concerned about.) Some of it comes from my upbringing. I know food is deeply, significantly associated with comfort for me. From a very early age.

Moreover, Radbod calls Christ “sole provision for the unknown way.” I am assuming the Bishop was thinking of mendicants or pilgrims wandering through the land. They need no extra provisions, because Christ is enough for them. Christ fills them, satisfies them. With Christ as their Provision, their Companion, they are content.

Am I content with Christ as my Provision? Is He enough for me, or do I need more? And more, and more after that? I know I don’t wander the world very much. I’m pretty much a homebody, in fact. But—I ask again—am I satisfied with Christ, my Sole Provision? Dear Lord, such a penetrating question. And, I have no firm answer.

Gracious God, help me to be content. Satisfied. My “Sole Provision for the unknown way” ahead of me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayer.


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), 65.

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 6, 2015

Tiffany studios - Resurrection window

Tiffany studios – Resurrection window

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Monday. The day after Easter. I took today for my day off, since I had worked hard for most of Holy Week. It’s one of the facts of my position, seeing as I am the pastor of a small church.

I took the opportunity to go to a convent nearby in Chicago, and walk on their outdoor labyrinth this morning. I heard a great deal of bird song as I walked. A sign of new life, if I ever heard one. A sign of the coming of spring

This evening, I read from the liturgical day book. I read a passage from the Gospel of John, the raising of Lazarus. Reflecting on that reading, too. Awesome opportunity to show the earth shaking power of God.

Praise God, no matter what. Praise God, whether wandering far away, or walking the labyrinth. Praise God. Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .