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Those Who Inspire Us…

I might sound audacious, but the Mahatma has been a great inspiration. He had the conviction to live with his beliefs in the face of total disbelief. R. Madhavan

Meditation: We are living in times when our leaders embody a spirit of total disrespect, disinformation and disdain for moral and ethical values. As I am watching what is happening in the US and around the world, I experience authoritarian leaders arise who are disbelievers in basic human rights and basic spiritual values. In times like these, it is helpful to ground ourselves in relationship with role models we admire and believe in. Men and women who uphold respect, who tell the truth as they believe it, and who uphold life giving and life preserving values. Mahatma Ghandi and Jesus were two such role models. Their integrity inspires us until today. The way they lived their life changed the world. Their nonviolent approach to conflict liberated millions externally and internally. Their faithfulness to be willing to die for their beliefs and for those they came to liberate is inspiring. Let us withdraw our energy from those who have come to destroy but invest our energy in relationships and ways of living that build up, liberate and redeem.

Prayer: God of hope and of promise, we remember those who came before us and who were great inspirations to us. Help us live our life in accordance with our beliefs. Let us sow small seeds of respect everyday and only speak the truth. Let us uphold moral and ethical values that protect life and uphold love, especially for the “least of those”. We pray for the peaceful overpowering of those authoritarian leaders who rule with violence, and based on lies and on deception. Thank you for being faithful to us. Help us be faithful to you. Amen

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (NRSV)

The Purpose of Writing…

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert

Meditation: Writing is a process of discovery. Often we do not take the time to formulate words and express what we believe, but when we do, we get to know ourselves better and others get to know us better as well. This past year 2017, I have written a meditation and prayer every day, 365 times. Those who have accompanied me, please, let me know if my blog might be worth publishing in a book. I have currently set things up to create an “on demand” book (as more of a personal project). The publishing company now wants to market my book as a devotional called “Inspirations for today”. The price of their marketing is very expensive. Their “package” includes reviews by good reputation reviewers, online marketing platforms and exposure to a worldwide audience. I am not sure if my blog (devotional book) is meant for friends and family, or if I should invest a lot of money and market the book for a broader audience? I am hesitant as our family has many other needs, and we don’t have that kind of money. As you have gotten to know me and my writing better this past year, please, send me your feedback. Would you think a devotional based on my blog would be meaningful? Should I invest in marketing or just continue writing my blog for family and friends? You are my letter/email… I am your letter/email… Thank you for your feedback as I am pondering what to do…

Prayer: God, I pray for guidance. I don’t want to fall into the trap of a publishing company making money using my passion for writing. I also don’t want to overestimate the scope of my writing. At the same time I hope to provide inspiration and spiritual nurture and guidance for people who face today’s life challenges. Help me discern what level of investment you want me to make. Amen

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

I Am Just A Human Being…

I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human. John Trudell

Meditation: While I was in Germany, many protesters gathered recently in several large cities to protest against the inhumane torturing of children and families who are looking for asylum in the US, and instead of finding refuge, they are being treated like criminals. The parents and children are being separated without warning and told that they would never see each other again… “I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human”. In theological terms we might describe what we see as “humanity losing its soul”. The soul of humanity dies when few based on their position of power and privilege exclude and oppress the many others without having any empathy or compassion. The soul of humanity dies when those in power lose touch with their own humanity and vulnerability. This is when the bodies and souls of other humans become random objects and are considered as inferior, as not worthy and as criminal. This is what the recent protests in the US have been about. Yes, we humans need to find our voices and protest. Our quiet tears, our worries about the children and our anguish are not enough to get the attention of the rest of humanity that something is terribly wrong.

Prayer: God of humanity, You are weeping. You are touched and deeply moved seeing us humans lose our understanding of what it means to be human. When we elect, tolerate or support world leaders who have lost their souls, You weep. We cry out: “Come and see”. Free us from the bondage of those who oppress, torture, rip families apart and don’t care. God, something is terribly wrong. Have mercy on us. Amen

Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. “Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. Jesus wept. John 11:33-35

Grandma

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.  – Marcy DeMaree

Meditation: My daughters love my mother, their grandmother. She is the only grandparent they have ever known, as their grandfathers died before they were born and their African grandmother lived too far away. When they were little their grandma would travel to the US for at least three months each year to get to know, love and care for them. As they are now teenagers and “Oma” can’t travel anymore, my daughters now travel every year to Germany to be with her. The past two weeks we stayed in my hometown and showed up at Oma’s apartment each morning greeted by a lovingly prepared breakfast table and left late in the evening after a delicious German dinner and much game playing. We felt awaited, loved and cared for. Even though “Oma” is walking with difficulty, and she has worries about her eye sight, she would generously give and share all she has with us. Leaving her today, we felt sad. And yet, visiting “Oma” at least once a year makes our year complete. We all wish we did not live on different continents, so that we could complete each other’s days and not each other’s years. And yet we are grateful for these special days. They keep us connected.

Prayer: God of generations, we give thanks for the love of grandmothers. For the generosity and love that emanates from their care. Thank you for times of togetherness, for game playing, storytelling and laughter. Thank you for everybody’s effort to bridge cultural and language differences. Thank you for German potatoes, bread and chocolate and for the beautiful landscapes and for sunny days. Thank you for much love expressed and for new memories made. Amen

‘Honor your father and mother’ — which is the first commandment with a promise — ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'” Ephesians 6:2-3

 

Going Home to Family

Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing. Irina Shayk

Meditation: My daughters and I have travelled to Germany to see their grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins. We try to come every year if possible, as living in the United States we do not have any extended family members around. There are often two sides to family visits: On the one hand the reconnecting during happy and relaxed times together, good food, storytelling and laughter. And then on the other hand possible moments of discord when memories return of someone hurting another family member and also present moments when a family member becomes intrusive, judgmental or hurtful towards another. Most families experience both, deep joy and feelings of connection and deep pain and feelings of disconnection. At times we need to allow and endure the distancing from certain toxic family members as to protect ourselves. We can still pray for them, but we do not want to expose ourselves to them. Other times we can find ways of forgiving each other and reconnecting with each other. We need wisdom to know how much distance and how much closeness is life-giving.

Prayer: God, I thank you for family. Thank you for my extended family members who share my story and who remember my past. Thank you for the opportunity to travel from afar to be together. I pray for wisdom to know how much closeness and how much distance is helpful. I also pray for the ability to forgive each other. We are all human. We all fail each other. Help us to apologize when we fail each other and to reconnect if possible. And if family members are too toxic to be around, let us still pray for them, if only from a distance. Amen

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

God Is “Three In One”…

I am not a little bit of many things; but I am the sufficient representation of many things. I am not an incompletion of all these races; but I am a masterpiece of the prolific. I am an entirety, I am not a lack of anything; rather I am a whole of many things. God did not see it needful to make me generic. He thinks I am better than that. C. JoyBell C.

Meditation: When one of my daughters was younger she would proudly proclaim: “I am tri-racial”. I would then respond: “Honey, you are bi-racial and tri-cultural”. She paused. “I think I like tri-racial better”… For a child to find her identity means to fully embrace all ethnicities and all cultures that are part of her. The permission to claim ALL of who we are is essential to becoming whole. The idea that we are multiple, either by birth or also by choice is a wonderful thought. When I changed cultures from my German background to the US culture and then married a West African man, a tri-cultural family was born. And in this tri-cultural family bi-racial children are finding a home to explore, to discover, to marvel, to wonder who they are and who they are meant to be in this world. In the shadow of our current American Zeitgeist that reigns by paranoia and fear, by splitting and by simplifying “either-or” thinking, a new generation is born. A generation embracing of multiple gender identities, multiple ethnic identities and multiple cultures that can all be embraced and all be held within one community and even held within one person. These young communities and complex leaders of tomorrow might still be invisible and in the minority today. However, they have a wisdom and a richness that we will call upon when we will have to rebuild our country in the aftermath of the current destruction.

Prayer: God of creation, You are “three persons in one”. For two thousand years we Christians have known You as a “Trinitarian God”. But many Christians reduce You to this “one law driving male despot” that comes handy when they want to justify enforcements of human laws that oppress those who are different than themselves as the fading majority. God, you are incredibly complex and beautiful. You are three in one. You know about multiple identities, because You are one. May everybody who sees him or herself as bi-gender, bi-racial or tri-cultural find comfort in knowing that they are a reflection of You. May they find their identity in You, the beautiful, loving and creating God who we worship as “Three In One”. Amen

Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! Genesis 1:31a

Be There Totally…

Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. Eckhart Tolle

Meditation: Being in the here and now and feel all that is going on within and around me, can be an overwhelming yet also liberating experience. Responding and not reacting to what I experience makes the here and now MY life and not just my circumstances. When we ground ourselves in God we receive the freedom to respond and no longer just react to our circumstances. We can choose to leave, we can change things or we can accept things totally. What an amazing freedom! And yet, it is a freedom that is first of all a gift of the Spirit. And then: it also takes much practice.

Prayer: God, when I feel scared and overwhelmed, Your Spirit reminds me that I am free in you. Free to choose to leave, free to change and also free to accept things I cannot change. You are with me. My circumstances do not have the last word. Thank you for your Spirit that sets me free. Amen

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2. Corinthians 3:17