In the End, There Is The Truth…

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. Winston Churchill

Meditation: The Mueller investigation methodically has indicted person after person. Plea deals were made, immunity was granted. The persons who have been indicted are all former employees of the president. Some of them have over a decade worth of information. They agreed that under oath they would not lie: not about their own crimes nor about the crimes of anybody else they worked with or worked for. Today Paul Manafort “flipped”. He that seemed loyal to the president and who praised him for it. We witnessed one more step on the journey of having the truth finally come out. The US government has not been here before. The president, his family members and his advisors are in the bright investigative lime light. What they have whispered in private rooms, thinking it would remain hidden, shall be proclaimed from the rooftops. Storm Florence has hit the East coast yesterday and today. Not only are the Carolinas exposed to strong winds and much rain, parallel there is a gigantic legal storm coming closer and closer. A legal hurricane is building, getting ready to hit the Whitehouse. There is no global warming producing intense hurricanes? There is only fake news? Really? Mr. President, are you prepared for the legal hurricane to hit the Whitehouse?

Prayer: God of truth and of justice, we pray for protection for the legal processes in this country. We pray for the constitution to survive this storm. We pray for the witnesses to be on one accord so that no talking about “fake news” can blind the masses. We pray for protection and help for the storm victims on the East coast. And we pray that the legal storm that will hit the Whitehouse will cleanse it from all lies and deceptions and reveal to the world any illegal acts that have been committed. We pray for protection of the leading legal institutions and representatives in this country. Amen

Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. Luke 12:4

The Strength to Forgive…

I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive. Yolanda Hadid

Meditation: Sometimes it is hard (and yet possibly easier) to forgive somebody who asks us for forgiveness. If both sides are involved, we possibly experience the act of asking and granting forgiveness as a time of mutual vulnerability and love. Yes, it takes strength and courage to forgive somebody who asks us for forgiveness. However, it takes even more strength and courage to forgive somebody who does not ask us for forgiveness. Prayer is the practice and process of finding this even greater strength and courage. Praying is a powerful practice when we try to forgive somebody who wronged us and who does not show remorse. Praying as Jesus taught us means that I am placing myself in the realm of God’s forgiving love. When I pray, I realize how much I need God’s forgiveness, as I become aware of my own short-comings, my character flaws and my imperfections.  At the same time in prayer I allow to be embraced by God’s loving forgiveness. I experience God’s grace. I experience freedom. Prayer then also demands of me and gives me the strength and courage to forgive others in a one-sided way. This act of one-sided forgiving has nothing to do with heroism nor with forgetting or condoning. More so it is the need to forgive and no longer allow my feelings about the other person who wronged me to hold me hostage and produce destructive feelings of hate, self-pity, victim thoughts and resentment. When I forgive, then I am the first one to be set free. The other persons might not know that they are being forgiven. For them to come one day and apologize would be desirable and freeing for them, but it is no longer essential. Forgiveness and freedom have happened already. Love has replaced resentment.

Prayer: God, give us the strength and courage to forgive those who wronged us, whether they admit it or not. Help us to know our own need for forgiveness, so that we become able to forgive others as an extension of being forgiven ourselves. Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy that is available and new every morning. Free us from all bondage to hate, victimhood, resentment or self-pity by enabling us to forgive those who wronged us. We are deeply grateful for the amazing power of your forgiving love. Amen

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

UNRAVELLING

You just look at the world, and you see things unravelling, and you say, “I wonder what we ought to do?” Things are seldom crystal clear. James F. Amos

Meditation: “Unravelling” is the word for our times. Things are being undone that seemed habitual and certain. Processes collapse, fail and go wrong. The values and norms of the presidency is disintegrating, and many policies that had been in the works for many years are being destroyed with one signature. “Unravelling” also means to investigate, solve or explain. That aspect is also happening in ongoing investigations that we are all aware of and awaiting eagerly to learn more about. “Unravelling” also means to solve, resolve, work out, clear up, puzzle out or find an answer to. I think America as a culture is currently unravelling as we knew it. Each one of us and also collectively we are challenged to respond and not only react. Our emotional reaction is likely fear, frustration, anger, disgust, panic… Our spiritual response needs to be for us to stay in the midst of the unravelling and gradually puzzle out and find an answer to this new and destabilizing phenomenon, individually and collectively.

Prayer: God I feel overwhelmed with the unravelling of basic norms and values. Nothing seems certain right now. Having a mentally ill president unravels the American society, and we witness phenomena that scare us. Bind us together one by one and as communities, so that nobody is getting isolated during these disintegrating times. In the midst of this unravelling, send Your Spirit as the “third strand” so we can respond as communities, and we are not only reacting. Use this time as an opportunity for all of us to become more engaged, more conscious, more involved and more responsible within the communities we are living in. God, have mercy on us as we experience the unravelling of basic cultural values and norms. Amen

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

 

A Spirituality of Imperfection…

To deny our errors is to deny our self, for to be human is to be imperfect, somehow error-prone. To be human is to ask unanswerable questions, but to persist in asking them, to be broken and ache for wholeness, to hurt and to try to find a way to healing through the hurt…Spirituality accepts that “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

Meditation: The book “The Spirituality of Imperfection” is challenging many of our modern Western assumptions. Its content challenges both secular and faith based individuals. These days parents often tell their children: “You can do anything you put your mind to” or “only do things if you do them perfectly and if you can complete them”. These words are meant to encourage our kids and make them strive to become the best they can be. However, when we say those words, we often also project our idea of perfection onto our children. We want and need them to be “perfect”, just as many of us desperately strive for perfection. This puts a lot of pressure on the next generation to succeed in everything they do. The children begin to feel that their parents’ love depends on them becoming “perfect”. This is how they, just like their parents, develop an inner harsh critic that judges whenever they cannot keep up with their “ideal image” and “perfect goals” for themselves and for others. The Spirituality of Imperfection challenges these assumptions of perfection in its core. The Christian faith is built on the premise that we are imperfect human beings. And with our imperfection, in our imperfection and through our imperfection God loves us, just as God loves this imperfect world. God created us imperfectly, error prone, yearning, questioning, broken, hurting and incomplete… And the Good News that Jesus embodied is that our worth is not grounded in our efforts to become perfect or to prove our value by overcoming our imperfections. We are worthy, because we are accepted and loved deeply exactly with our imperfections. To come to this realization completes us. We actually become fully grown and mature followers of Christ when we embrace this truth about ourselves: to be human is to be imperfect. Becoming “perfect” as God is “perfect” means to become “whole”, as in “embracing of all parts of creation”, including the imperfect, broken and incomplete that exist in all of us.

Prayer: God, help me to learn “to do things badly if they are worth it”. Help me to overcome my illusion of perfection. Liberate me from my constant striving to become perfect. Send Your mending Spirit, so I can learn to accept my limitations and offer them to you and to the world. When I am imperfect, fragile and limited, and I witness others’ imperfection, fragility and limitation, I am invited to embrace all of me and all of them. This is how a mature love of self and of others begins. This is when we become whole, just as God is whole. What a mystery! Amen

So, then be perfect (“teleios”) as Your Heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48 “Teleios” means: : “perfect, complete in all its parts, full grown, of full age”.

Success Is No Name Of God…

Christian hope does not promise successful days to the rich and the strong, but resurrection and life to those who must exist in the shadows of death.  Success is no name of God. Righteousness is.  Jürgen Moltmann

Meditation: The current chaplains and pastors in the White House who are chosen by the President mirror his worldview. They provide no challenge to him. They too, believe in a God who provides more wealth to the wealthy, and in a God who is on the side of the rich and the strong. The Old Testament would call them “false prophets”.  False prophets proclaim what the rulers and their followers want to hear. They even at times get paid by them to fool the masses. Their job is to blind people with “God talk” and numb their hearts and minds. However: “Success is no name of God. Righteousness is.” Many today are starving for justice. Yesterday I heard the loud and ongoing shouting of a homeless boy outside my downtown office window. His mother screamed too, as she obviously felt completely overwhelmed. More than 500 children are still separated from their parents, who were deported without them. There is no place for and hardly any mention of families like these in today’s politics. People who “must exist in the shadows of death” are not even mentioned. The focus is only on a few who are already privileged and who already have what they need, but who want more.  Only a few in our society benefit from the policies that are being made. Most of those in real and urgent need are being forgotten.

Prayer: But You don’t forget, righteous God. You know. You care. Your promise of resurrection and life is for those who are currently forgotten. God, let us remember those one the margins of society who are hungry and thirsty. Your Kingdom come! Amen

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

It Is Like Taking Poison…

I know from personal experience how damaging it can be to live with bitterness and unforgiveness. I like to say it’s like taking poison and hoping your enemy will die. And it really is that harmful to us to live this way. Joyce Meyer

Meditation: Sometimes families hold on to grudges for generations. Sisters are angry with sisters, brothers hate brothers, couples remain in conflict for decades… and the next generation unconsciously repeats this cycle of bitterness and unforgiveness. When we finally realize that our current family patterns of conflict and hatred have been passed down to us, we can become empowered. When we recognize that what is happening in our current relationships does not have to be, we are set free. We can choose to stop taking poison. We need to let go of our ancestors’ unfinished business. We need to discharge the hatred and anger that have poisoned us from past generations. We can start afresh. This is the good news that our Christian faith has for us. We can overcome broken patterns. We can initiate new connections. Old wounds can be named openly as what they are: old wounds of ancestors that we unconsciously have kept alive in our personal story. We can honor our ancestors without drinking their poison. We can love the generations before us without repeating their unresolved conflicts. In Christ we are set free. We do not have to live in bondage to the patterns of our past nor do we need to redeem or suffer on behalf of those who went before us.

Prayer: God, help us realize where we unconsciously repeat our ancestors’ suffering and where we copy their unresolved conflicts. Make us aware where we drink their poison without knowing it. And once we realize where we are enslaved to family themes of old, set us free. Help us to break through life destroying patterns. You are the antidote to all poisonous relationships. You want us to be free from the shackles of our past. Heal our family relationships today. Amen

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Live, Love and Let Go…

In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go. Jack Kornfield

Meditation: At times is not easy for me to “let go”. Usually these are times when I feel anxious, overwhelmed, lonely or unsupported. Then I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I feel so overly responsible. And as a reaction I develop the tendency of wanting to control how things go. I diligently watch out for certain outcomes to happen. When I am caught in this way of thinking and feeling, I often become very anxious. I begin to stare at a particular outcome, as if everything depended on it. Having faith is the opposite of controlling based on anxiety. It means to breathe deeply while realizing that I am not alone and that I do not need to be in control. Having faith means to no longer feel overly responsible for ideal things or for perfect outcomes. It means letting go of the burden of over-responsibility, as I am realizing that I am not in control anyhow. For me breathing deeply while surrendering my anxiety to God is the beginning point of having faith. When I can step back and look at the bigger picture, my anxiety usually lowers.  When I think not of ideals, but of how I can live life well, my trust in life grows. And when I think about what is most loving, rather than what is “perfect”, I become able to calm down. During my training as an educator I often heard the sentence: “Trust the process”. This means to accept that even though I do not necessarily get the outcome I anticipate, there are valuable lessons along the way and many opportunities to practice living well, loving much and letting go.

Prayer: God, help me to surrender my anxiety to you, every time it raises its “ugly head”. Help me not to stare or focus on ideal or perfect outcomes, but rather follow your lead to live life well, love as much as I can and let my anxiety go. Take my anxiety every time it comes back, guard my heart and fill me with your peace.  Amen

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)