Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who stand in reverence, on those who hope in God's steadfast love." (Psalm 33.18)
I should not be surprised that one of the many ways God communicates to humanity these days would be via email. But I was this morning when I logged on my iPad with a cup of coffee to wake me from my deep, dark sleep.
Yesterday, like so many days that surround my birthday, I wanted so badly to retreat and pull away from Life. I felt as if my spiritual discipline was not being exercised, like God and I were on different days, with me somehow falling far behind. My mind just couldn't focus, and the noise inside my head kept me confused and detached. Nothing too unusual for me on my birthday.
I woke up this morning feeling like I was going to decend again into this weird, dark and familiar place, when lo and behold I receive this devotion from The Henri Nouwen Society entitled "Creating Space for God"
"Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to."
Meditate: "Come to my help O God; Lord, hurry to my rescue." Psalm 70:1
Pray for the Central Luthern Church in Van Nuys, CA for their work in recovery ministry and homeless outreach, may God's blessings be with them and may God hear the cries of the poor to whom the Church serves.
What is difficult at times is actually practicing spiritual discipline. Today I set out to meditate and pray in my schools prayer garden only to find three drunks occupying the space. One was sleeping, while the other two tried while drifting in and out of loud conversation.
A part of me wanted to push my index finger to my lips and tell them to "shush," while the other part of me wanted to offer to buy them a drink and celebrate life with them. It was my birthday, after all, and it wouldn't have been too unusual to celebrate it in such an intoxicated manner.
Since I would not be able to practice prayer, I decided to practice kindness to these three intoxicated strangers. But, as it turns out, they were too drunk to really focus on any conversation. And so I left them, with a smile in my heart and a silent prayer to God thanking the Creater for their life, my life and the beautiful day.
Sometimes meeting strangers is nothing more then a handshake and a silent prayer in your heart.
Meditate: I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide your commandments from me.
Pray for KC and his friends who sleep on the benches and bar stools in Pasadena today, God grant them safety and happiness.
600 children crammed into a shelter to survive while DC rolls in a budget surplus. What is wrong with this picture?
This article in the Washington Post sums up yet another way we are failing our wonderful society. How much longer will we put politics and business before human lives? Our real self interest and survival as true humanity begins with how we embrace the stranger, and care for one another. If business want to be treated with the same rights as individuals, then it is in the best interest of business to also care for all indivduals.
Jesus did not come to heal the healthy, but the sick. If we ran into Jesus on the streets today, how would he see us at work? What are we healing when homelessness destroys the health of our communities? Who are we healing when 600 children are suffering in poverty and in homeless shelters while the wealth of our country ignores them dying on the streets that are paid for by our tax dollars?
Meditate: Washington DC has a $417,000,000 budget surplus and 600 homeless children who need a home. What can I do?
Prayer: God you have never held back you love for us, we pray that we will never hold back our love for you and for others. We pray for Asia and Elayshia Brown, for their safety and for a home to live in.
This was taken from a daily devotional email on Saturday February 23, 2013 from the Henri Nouwen Society.
What Is Most Personal Is Most Universal
We like to make a distinction between our private and public lives and say, "Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else's business." But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public, and the most solitary is the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.
Jesus says, "No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house" (Matthew 5:14-15). The most inner light is a light for the world. Let's not have "double lives"; let us allow what we live in private to be known in public.
Change is never easy. Work is never easy. It's hard to keep up with the evolution of life. But all possibilities are not all that impossible. If you get bummed out by the work or the need to change, or feel like life is just passing by without you, you are not alone. Every generation has felt that way. But that didn't stop them from reforming the Church, ending slavery, or obtaining civil rights through peace making. Big goals are not impossible, but it does take plenty of hard work to make it happen.
My struggle this Lenten season is trying to stay focused on all that I set out to accomplish. I often feel I am letting all of it go instead of trying to get one thing done. In concentrating my meditative efforts reflecting on how God is calling me to shed light on ending homelessness, I feel like I am forcing the issue to be able to write about something instead of allowing the nature of communication to flow freely. I cannot control the conversation with God any more than I can control the evil of something as horrible as homelessness. That's just too hard. But I can control my time and efforts in the conversation itself. As I struggle to be present, I have to learn to let go and let life evolve around me in order to be fully present.
Meditate: "But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh," declares the Lord, "But I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go."
As we pray to end homelessness, pray also that we always remember we are not the answer, but the treasure. Through God, we hold of the solution even if we do not
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one ..."