Inequality….

Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities. Pope Francis

Meditation: Some human rights violations are so horrific and “in your face” that we have a hard time breathing when we learn about them. We feel pain in our soul seeing those images. We also feel connected with people all around the world who are praying for comfort and healing for the victims of terror and for it to stop. Other injustices and oppressions are more inconspicuous, hardly noticeable and yet painfully real. We do not necessarily see photos of the hundreds and thousands of victims of the new budget cuts, of unfair immigration law enforcement and of complete eliminations or reductions of social programs all around our country and the exploitation of front line workers during Covid who often have to work without proper protection arrangements made for them. However, if we pay careful attention, we will feel the pain in our soul. We will also experience a shortness of breath. What can we do? We can stay awake and stay connected. We can keep breathing and carry the pain. We can also wake up the masses in protest, and we can pray so terrorists and our current government will stop their oppressive ways.

Prayer: God of mercy, we pray for all terror victims around the worlds and their families. Be comfort and refuge! We also pray for the many undocumented immigrants who currently find themselves in prison cells, locked up randomly by ICE. We pray for persons with pre-existing health conditions who will lose or not be able to afford their health insurance any longer. We pray for all families whose food stamps were eliminated before the pandemic started. We pray for children who go hungry to bed. We pray for those young adults who no longer can afford college or whose student loans have become huge burdens. God, have mercy. We pray that you will put an end to all acts of oppression and to all violations of basic human rights and of basic human needs as committed both by terrorists and by our current government. Amen

Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. Ezekiel 18: 31-32

Walk away and seek…

Walk away from ‘friendships’ that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you. Michelle Obama

Meditation: Let’s walk away from relationships that make us feel insecure and insignificant! Walk away from a work place that makes you feel exploited and taken advantage of. Walk away from a group that is toxic in their way of relating or talking. Walk away from family members who infect you with negativity or addictive behavior. Walk away from media that is toxic and that spreads lies! Walk away! Seek out relationships that inspire and support you. Seek out a work place that makes you feel appreciated and respected. Seek out a group that treats you fairly and that does not gossip. Seek out family members who have your best at heart and who give you freedom to be yourself. Seek out news and information that are based in facts and that help you understand the complexity of our world. Seek! In this movement of walking away from the first and seeking the second, you will walk away from death, and you will find life.

Prayer: God, we feel surrounded by wicked behavior and evil intentions. We experience politics as no longer intentioned to prevent wrong but to condone it. We are sick of relationships, work places, groups, and the media that make us taste the wine of violence and the bread of wickedness. God, have mercy. Give us courage to walk away, and give us new hope, so we don’t stop seeking. Let us taste Your bread and Your wine of forgiveness and peace.  Amen                                                                                                                                         Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. Proverbs 4: 14-17

That you shall choose Life…

Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote. William E. Simon

Meditation: The past days I have felt paralyzed. How in the world can a democratic system sell out to an oligarch and align itself with an oppressive regime? How can an elected Western president betray his country’s legal system and surrender to the person who invaded and manipulated it’s social media and voting system? As a German the history of the Soviet Union and its successorship represented in Putin are very present to me. Many Americans don’t seem to experience the devastating urgency of the recent events. Many seem unaware how Russia is out to undermine all and any democracies, how it wants to conquer the parts of Europe back that had belonged to the Soviet Union, and how it positions itself to become the ultimate ruling power in the world. The urgency of our times could not be greater. A narcissistic, greedy, incompetent, compromised and dependent American president is selling the American people and its democracy out to the Russians. An urgent political development the Americans have never seen before. The November 2020 election is the most important election in America’s history.

Prayer: God, awake in this country the awareness that the life and death of democracy itself is currently at stake. Awake in us the awareness that our voting is the only power we have to choose life and oppose death, so that we and our children may live. God, have mercy on us. Amen

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

When Life Blindfolds us and spins us around…

What do you do when life blindfolds you and spins you around? We think it’s our fault, that we’re to blame, when really we should be focused on being gentle with ourselves. Melody Beattie

Meditation: These past months have been like a whirlwind. So much has happened: A Pandemic that changed the life and habits of all humans on this earth. Nearly 200,000 Americans have died. That is about 1,000 beloved family members a day. 9/11 number of human life lost every three days. Racial tensions that at times feel like a beginning civil war, staged by the current government. Upcoming elections fill our hearts with anxiety: will there be fair elections? ——–Sometimes our heart, mind and soul can’t keep up. And when we begin dropping and losing things, or when we don’t meet deadlines, we might start getting frustrated with ourselves and push even harder. Instead, it is so helpful to know that we belong to a merciful God who wants to comfort us in the midst of our “spinning” experience. When we are troubled, God wants to comfort us. Living grounded in God’s Grace means that we can refrain from being harsh with ourselves on top of life being rough. Instead we lean into the experience of self-compassion. We acknowledge and validate how hard the past months have been, and we give ourselves credit for still standing. Or if standing is too difficult, we sit or lay down for a while, just resting. It is wonderful to belong to a God who is patient and compassionate.

Prayer: Gracious God, when we start blaming and judging ourselves for not being more “functional”, Your Spirit intervenes. You remind us of all that has happened to and around us. You remind us of the things we could not control but that impacted us deeply. And then You fill our heart with compassion for ourselves. And after you comfort us in this way, You also give us compassion for others who are “spinning” in the dark, just like us. You are such a safe place to land. And we are grateful! Amen

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2. Corinthians 1:3b-4 (NLT)

This is the moment…

This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Barack Obama

Meditation: Our current government has declared “There is no global warming”. Nature proved them otherwise. We mourn with all who lost their loved ones or their homes in the wild fires and the hurricanes striking. We pray for all who have to rebuild their houses and their lives. Let us resolve! We must come together! We must save this planet!

Prayer: God of this precious earth, we pray that people wake up. We pray that science will not be dismissed. We pray that those in power who value short term financial gains over long term preservation won’t have the last word. Empower those who are resolved to preserve our planet. Amen

I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. Jeremiah 2:7

Peaceful Protest…

Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order, and the right of peaceful protest. Barak Obama

Meditation: . There is a powerful wave of protest energy swiping our country. Have we reached the tipping point? First women, then teens and their families and teachers and finally black lives matter demonstrators are protesting those in power who don’t care about the rights of victims, be it sexual abuse, gun violence or racial injustice. Yes, in these months we stand reminded: “We are all part of one family. And we are united in values, belief in equality, respect for the law and our right to protest peacefully!” May this new wave of protest bring about change. Even if not short-term, then long-term. This year, in 2020, most of the junior and senior High Schoolers all around the country who protested two years ago against gun violence will now be able to vote and join in with many others who protest this administration…

Prayer: God, You will bring justice. When those who could do something preoccupy themselves with their own pleasures and their own safety, and when others allow to be bought and corrupted while resorting to “fake prayer” – God You see. God You hear. You hear the protest of each High Schooler, each parent and teacher, and each racially discriminated person on behalf of all Americans who care. We pray for change in this country. Amen

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love;my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13: 2-5 (ESV)

The “Zeitgeist” is lacking a compassionate heart…

The entire political system is contrary to everything a feminine heart stands for. It lacks inclusion. It lacks tenderness toward children. It lacks honor for relationships. It lacks reverence for the earth. It lacks love. And without those things, the feminine psyche disconnects. Marianne Williamson

Meditation: Tenderness, inclusion, honor, reverence and love… these are the values that are currently being sacrificed. They are being killed and then buried under the political altar of the current secular religion that has taken over our land: The “Zeit Geist” religion that worships money and power, that increases wealth at any cost for those on the top and that creates intentional divisions based on the self-serving portrayal of a distorted reality. Many of us feel distressed. Many of us feel disconnected. Many of us are dispirited. And yet, there is a compassionate God who sees, hears and witnesses what is happening. A God whose essence is visible in Jesus who embodied those qualities of tenderness, inclusion, respect and love. Back then those in power killed and buried Jesus, thinking that this way they had gotten rid of him. And yet, they could not silence him nor contain the power of his Spirit. After his death he gained even more power than he had during his life among us. And so once again, as we endure the soul killings and value burials of our current times, we call upon and wait for God’s powerful Spirit of resurrection.

Prayer: Jesus, we call on Your Spirit to comfort all of us who feel disconnected, distressed and dispirited. Every day we experience how many of our values are being killed and buried. Sometimes we come close to losing heart. Compassionate One, we feel lost. Gather us, keep us connected with each other and with You. In the midst of our losses, we are grateful that we know You and the power of Your life, death and resurrection. Amen

Seeing the people, Jesus felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

The little things….

We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Meditation: It is challenging for children to understand why we ask them not to lie in small things. Little white lies, why not? However, it is important for children and adults to understand that all those little things make our character, and also eventually make the big things in our life. If I am wiggling out of uncomfortable situations by telling small lies, can I trust myself that I won’t wiggle out of very important and challenging situations? The same with gratitude. If I am not thankful for the small things in life, how will I be receptive and grateful for the great things? Gratitude, honesty and faithfulness begin very small, and yet translate into the character building and lifelong traits a person develops. Let us practice as parents and role model for our children how to be grateful, how to be honest and how to be faithful, so they can begin practicing with us.

Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for preparing us and pointing us to the many small things in life that You want us to be grateful for, that You need us to be faithful in and that You want us to be honest about. This is how You build Your Kin-dom among us. When we Christians become and remain grateful, honest and faithful in the many daily things, then You will be able to entrust us with Your large things: The re-establishment of “Justice, Peace and Righteousness” in this world. Let Your Church become a beacon of hope. And let it begin with me. Amen

Whoever is faithful in little things will be faithful in large ones. Whoever is unrighteous in small things will be unrighteous in large ones. Luke 16:10

Your efforts matter…

“Don’t worry if those around you aren’t doing their best. Just worry about how you can make yourself worthy. Doing your best is the surest way to remind those around you to do their best.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation It is difficult not to feel isolated and small at this time. What does my breathing, my mindfulness, my small contribution to peace do? What do I contribute to the larger world when I try to model justice, peace and understanding in my small community? The concept of “interbeing” and the belief of God’s Kingdom among us reassures me, that even my small contributions to peace (with my children, my husband, my co-workers, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my fellow protestors) will make a difference. Don’t worry about the large picture. Let God handle that. Just focus on what you can impact today, each moment that is before you, in a positive and loving manner. Breathe, practice mindfulness, compassion and love right where you are. And you will embody the Holy Spirit and God’s Kingdom among us.

Prayer: God of Life, of Justice and of Peace, we seek refuge in you at this time. Encourage our small efforts to contribute to your Kingdom here on Earth. Give us your Peace that surpasses our understanding. Let us see the interconnectedness of the small and the large, and help us trust that our small contributions to Peace on Earth do matter!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phillipians 4:6

Do not worry… even in a time like this?

“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile,and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation: The Buddhist practice of breathing in and breathing out, of being fully in our body as a way of being in the present moment is an amazing spiritual way of stopping our minds of racing and worrying. This does not mean to withdraw from this world. Yet it means to not become consumed by this world’s dysfunctions, traumas and threats. Jesus mirrored this Buddhist teaching by calling us to not worry, but to throw our worries onto God. (1. Peter 5:7)

Prayer: God, you are in my breath. You calm my body. My calm breathing is able to bring my mind together with my body once again. Alone, my mind starts racing and my fear is skyrocketing. Together with my body, my mind becomes calm again, and I am able to pray. I am not alone. You are with me. I am in you. Amen

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 34