You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Abraham Lincoln
Meditation: Just as democracy in German more than eighty years ago, the democratic system in the US today experiences the perversion of basic ethical values as for example “decency”, “order” or “assumed values of right and wrong”. As we are watching the manipulation of facts and the perversion of ethical values we ask ourselves: What is my responsibility as a Christian at this time in history? What ethical values are immune from perversion? Dietrich Bonhoeffer talks about responsibility in his book “Ethics”. At a time where most assumed values were perverted by Hitler’s authoritarian nationalist regime, he writes: “Reason,” “fanaticism,” “conscience,” “duty,” “freedom,” and “private virtuousness” all fail as tools for locating a true ethic…Christian ethics are not formed by a set of abstract principles but by the concrete test of each situation—“Are my actions helping others to be truly human before God?” “Is Christ being formed in them in the world?” How can Bonhoeffer’s words lead us to a deeper and new ethic and a deeper sense of responsibility and into action as Christians?
Prayer: God of history, as we experience the systematic perversion of basic ethical values we feel lost and threatened. Basic human values and basic facts are being changed, manipulated and abused. Many public values that were true a few months ago, no longer seem to hold. We want and need to ground ourselves deeper than ever before. Fill us individually and as Your church worldwide with your Spirit. Help us learn from history. Help us Christians to be the prophetic voices that shout in the wilderness! Come Spirit of truth! Amen
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13
The psychopathology of the masses is rooted in the psychology of the individual. Carl Jung
Meditation: How in the world did our country end up in the situation we are in? Did our individual mental condition become manifested in a collective psychopathology? Our current time in the US can maybe best be described with the words of a trauma survivor. Eve Ensler said: “I think culture is where things change in us deeply. But right now, I think that people are very traumatized. They are very scared. Having grown up in a house with a perpetrator who was violent every day and terrorizing every day, I feel like that this country is suddenly very much like the house and the family I grew up in. Every day we are glued to our phones, glued to our television; “What is this psychopath going to do next? How will he embarrass us? Who will he bully or hurt or humiliate today? It’s so easy to get locked into a syndrome where the perpetrator is ruling your life.”
Prayer: God, our country is going through a severe mental illness. Collectively we have experienced several traumatizing external events in the past months, and then we experience also severe traumatizing reactions and handling of those events. We are afraid. We are feeling trapped in a “family situation” that traumatizes us daily. God have mercy on our country. Restore us to health. Help us to make decisions that lead us collectively out of this system as it is set up currently. Free us from all oppression. Amen
There are six things the Lord… detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19
A simple life is good with me. I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I’m happy. Yanni
Meditation: For the past five days my husband, our 15 year old daughters and I spent our vacation time close to the beach at St. Simon’s. We brought most of our food with us and took just minimal clothing. We packed two boogie boards for the girls to glide head first on the waves and four good books. Our motto as family was: “walk the beach”-“read”-“boogie board”-“eat”-“sleep”- repeat!… My husband and I felt that this time was a foretaste of how retirement might be like, while the girls reconnected with nature as they tried to ride the waves. They laughed a lot while getting a deserved break from social media and from stress over homework. As a family we had wonderfully healing days of living a simplified life. And yet, these were days of abundance. Now that we are re-entering our daily routine, how can we individually and as a family hold onto such simpler lifestyle and with that maintain a deeper sense of gratitude and abundance?
Prayer: Abundant God, thank you for nature and for time away from our daily stressors. Thank you for the warm sand, the extra hours of sleep, the fresh and abundant fruit and the time of laughing together and of listening to each other. You simplify our life so we are being pulled closer to you, closer to each other and reminded of what makes us truly content. Amen
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8
This is the book that has been printed yesterday for the first time. It entails my blogging from 2017 as a daily devotional. If you need a Christmas gift for somebody or would like to have my meditations handy in print for yourself, you can either purchase it from me directly for a discount of $25 (instead of $28.99 retail price) or you can order it these days from my publishing company at www.iuniverse.com
In a few weeks you should be able to purchase it also from any major book selling company (Amazon, Barns and Nobles etc.). The digital e-version will also come out a few weeks from now.
However, you might decide not to purchase anything, but continue to enjoy my blog website and leave it at that. This, too, would make me happy and content. Writing is a hobby of mine, not a career or money making endeavor. So, I do not have much at stake other than appreciating you, my readers, for your love, support and constructive feedback.
Blessings to you and to yours,
You don’t fight racism with racism, the best way to fight racism is with solidarity. Bobby Seale
Meditation: “When you see something, say something” this is the sentence that my daughters hear every day in school in case violence looms. Sojourners read those words when they travel while waiting at the airport. Words that are calling for solidarity. Words that want to protect from harm, urging all to speak out when danger threatens an individual or the community. The recent emergence of the “Me too” movement is a solidarity movement of women (and men) who have suffered from sexual violence and abuse. This is a new movement of liberation. “When you have experienced something traumatic, dangerous or destructive, say something.” Sexual predators have been able to continue and hide their abusive behaviors for decades and even centuries because they counted on the shame and isolation that sexual trauma causes. In the past predators were able to keep their victims hostage to shame, trauma and silence. Not anymore! A new day has come! A new era has begun! We witness how even after many years, women and men are now coming out. They speak out by saying: “I have been sexually molested. I have been sexually assaulted and taken advantage of. I have been traumatized by a sexual predator.” The solidarity that we are witnessing between survivors of sexual abuse is powerful. And we need this powerful solidarity as “coming out” is being met with violent threats, even death threats, denial, counter accusations, mockery and additional shaming by predators. Standing up for the truth takes solidarity. It takes courageous and strong survivors. We witness both these days.
Prayer: God we pray for all survivors of sexual abuse, women and men, girls and boys. Let the “Me too” movement create unity among all survivors of sexual trauma. Change our society from keeping taboos and from practicing apathy to show solidarity, and tender sympathy towards the survivors. Protect the survivors when they speak their powerful, vulnerable truth. Heal all wounds that sexual trauma causes. Give the community of survivors courageous hearts. Let them find strength to speak truth to power. Protect those who dare to speak up. Let your church and society at large show humility and solidarity with all who are being oppressed. Amen
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly/sisterly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1. Peter 3:8
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
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