Saturday, September 28, 2013

Meditations on Compassion, Part 2

"I was at a meeting of the Superiors General in Europe. They talked only of changing the structures of society, organizing things in a different way.

It all came to nothing. It did not do something for the poor, or preach Christ to those without religion, to those totally ignorant of God. 

I was happy when it was all over...

I always explain to the sisters, 'It is Christ you tend in the poor. It is his wounds you bathe, his sores you clean, his limbs you bandage. 

'See beyond appearances, hear the words Jesus pronounced long ago. They are still operative today: "What you do to the least of mine, you do it to me." 

When you serve the poor, you serve our Lord Jesus Christ."
-Mother Teresa, My Life for the Poor

Friday, September 27, 2013

Meditations on Compassion, Part 1

"Jesus was often prompted by compassion to act on behalf of those who were suffering loss, disease, and hunger.

It seem inevitable that those who follow Jesus must also show compassion in all of their decisions and action. This is especially true of those who relate to people suffering hunger, disease, and death.

The followers of Jesus cannot ignore the needy of the world, and neither can we look away from the needs of the world.

If our lives are modeled after the one we claim to follow, we will, as Jesus did, look with compassion upon all who cross our paths. Looking with compassion requires the further step of seeking to alleviate the pain that prompted our compassion."

Reuben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All who Seek God

Friday, September 20, 2013

Simplicity, Scotsmen, and Sanctification

I (Aaron) have been reading a lot about the history of the Church of the Nazarene lately for my ordination classes, including Our Watchword & Song: The Centennial History of the Church of the Nazarene.

Tonight I came across a beautiful, simplistic prayer of sanctification penned by Rev. George Sharpe, a Scottish holiness preacher who served in the American Methodist Episcopal Church, Scottish Congregational Church, and Pentecostal Church of Scotland before uniting with the then-Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene:

"O Lord, I give Thee all.

My spirit, soul and body,
my time, my talents, my friends,

all I have and all I ever will have,
all I know and all I ever will know,

to be anything,
and to go anywhere for Thee.


Thursday, September 19, 2013


"Solitude is obviously intended to be far more than just being physically alone. It is the way we forma  habit of retreat, creating a space and a time that God can speak to us...

"Every large city, despite the noise and crowds, has places of great solitude and peace. Often city center churches are examples of this. What is certain is that if we create a place where we can regularly turn to God, [God] will meet us there...

"Time spent with God in solitude will always bring a harvest."
-Simon Peter Iredale, The Interior Mountain

Monday, September 16, 2013

Then I Shall Find Rest.

"Reach down inside me, O God,
and change the gears that race and roar.

In place of turmoil give me peace;
in place of frenzy, give me patience.

Then shall I be more like Jesus,
who taught us to make room for you in our hectic days.

Teach me, O God, to make room for you
in all the events and affairs of my days.

Then I shall find rest.

Then I shall be at peace with myself and with you."
-Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Until we are healed.

Today's blog post is taken from Week 45 in the Green Book:

"Recently I was in a doctor's office...when a young mother with long brown hair and a gentle face entered, pushing in a wheelchair a child three or four years old.

"The child obviously was disabled: her hands unable to grasp anything, her arms and legs flailing helplessly, her eyes unable to hold focus. Her voice could not make syllables but only squeals or little wails. The mother positioned the child's chair so that they were face-to-face.

"She began softly singing and doing the hand motions to the 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' directly in front of the child's face, to attract her attention. She repeated it over and over, sometimes catching the child's hand and kissing it, stroking her hair; she looked into the child's eyes and whispered, with enormous tenderness, 'I love you.'

"When God's love touches us in our neediness, the sorrow and suffering inherent in the human condition, we name it mercy. Mercy is perhaps the loveliest of all God's qualities. This is the love that reaches into dark space of our flailing and our failing, our losing and our dying. Mercy enters that space, picks us up and holds us tenderly until we are healed.

"Little by little, this love draws our groping hands and wasted energies to purposeful service; it looks directly into our uncomprehending eyes, hears our futile wail, and says, 'No matter, I love you anyway. Come on...'

"And so mercy brings us to ever-new life."
Elaine M. Prevallet, "Living in the Mercy"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

If You Offer Your Food to the Hungry

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?...

If you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58: 6-7, 10-11 (NRSV)

Blessed are the Peacemakers.

I had a minor epiphany while sitting in a cafe last week.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Matthew 5:7-9 (NRSV)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Cannot Pray.

We cannot pray
for the poor
if we walk by on the other side.

We cannot pray
for the hungry
and continue to waste our food.

We cannot pray
for the exploited
and buy the products that enslave them.

We cannot pray
for the persecuted
if we support the bully.

We cannot pray
for the unemployed
and still value only the lowest price.

God of forgiveness,
in this world of sin,
we dare not pray,
for we, ourselves, are ensnared in sin.

Forgive us,
that we cannot live lives without sin,
that we cannot escape the systems of death,
that we cannot change the world.

Forgive us.
Hear our prayers,
and change us
to become part of the solution.

-Clare McBeath and Tim Presswood,
Crumbs of Hope: Prayers from the City