The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditation: Our current administration is cutting after school programs, reducing special education support and the support of the office of civil rights. Public schools and schools that are struggling are receiving less funding, while private and charter school receive more. It is obvious that minority students have lost out. What do we do for our children? Currently the children of rich households are getting more choices, more funding, increasing support and more opportunities. Children of low income families or children with special needs are being left behind. The quality gap of education is widening. Classism and racism are winning once again, and the oppression of minority children is glaringly obvious. We are failing the test as a society. Our current government is failing us by failing to provide for our children. Injustice to some of us, is injustice to all of us.
Prayer: God, we are lamenting the behind the scenes dismantling of the public school system and the withdrawal of support of minorities that had been established over the past ten years. Children will begin hanging out on the streets instead of attending after school programs. Struggling schools will struggle even more. Children with special needs are being left behind. The injustice that is happening is intentionally hidden behind the chaos in the Whitehouse. A lot is happening that the public should not see, should not be aware of. But, God, we see the immoral workings of the current administration against our children. God, wake us Americans up! Amen.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Matthew 25:45
Relationships are eternal. The ‘separation’ is another chapter in the relationship. Often, letting go of the old form of the relationship becomes a lesson in pure love much deeper than any would have learned had the couple stayed together. Marianne Williamson
Meditation: What do we say about divorce? The bible clearly states that divorce “displeases God”. I agree that the covenant of marriage needs special protection and special respect. This is why the Catholic church made it into a sacrament. At the same time, separation of a marriage could become an expression of love when both sides agree to it. When the old form of a relationship has become unbearable and a new form of relationship that is life giving cannot be found together, the most loving thing might be to allow for a separation. Sometimes this allows for a freedom and a love that could not have been found within the marriage relationship. Children at times benefit from their parents separating. When the old form of the relationship caused suffering and pain for the whole family system involved, having a new form that honors separate journeys might help the individual family relationships remain loving instead of becoming toxic. I am not saying that divorce is a positive thing or that it is the answer to all marriage issues. I hope that couples will seek counseling and will discern over a long period (together and alone) what new forms of relationship are best when the old forms are no longer life giving. Hopefully new roles, new behaviors, better forms of communication and new beginnings can be found within the marriage covenant. However, separation and divorce might also be an option that could be the most loving thing to do.
Prayer: God, when our marriages are no longer life giving, help us discern new forms. Revive what is sick. Resurrect what has died. Help forgive where injury happened. Reconcile what has been estranged. Help couples who are suffering discern whether to stay together or to separate. God, we sin when we are married. And we sin when we divorce. Most of all, fill our hearts with love, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Amen
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1. Peter 4:8 (NIV)
As someone who has faced as much disappointment as most people, I’ve come to trust not that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way. Marianne Williamson
Meditation: Sometimes we pray for just one thing or one outcome. We fixate our emotional and spiritual life on one particular wish. Our prayer becomes secretly a way of trying to manipulate God into cooperating with us and our wishes. When we mature, we learn more about disappointment and about prayer. We learn that life does not always develop as we wish and pray for. Some of us lose their faith in God over this, thinking: “What good does prayer do, if I never get what I pray for?” But prayer is not about manipulating God or about getting our way. Prayer is about the process of surrendering. Prayer is our dialoguing with God while expressing our longings, our needs and our doubts and fears. And as we pour all of those out, and as we work our way in prayer towards “letting go”, we at times experience the emerging of a sense of trust that whatever will be and whatever will happen, we will be fine: If my prayer is being answered in the way I hope for, I will be fine. If my prayer is not being answered in the way I hope for, but that which I fear or something unexpected will come true, I will be fine as well. God will hold me, no matter what. God will make a way. And thus, prayer means growing in trust. It means letting go of our need to predict and to control the future. As we struggle our way in prayer from anxious wishing to trusting, we are being set free from fear.
Prayer: God, I give you my anxiety about the future. I am letting go of needing to know how things will enfold. Strengthen my trust in You. You are awaiting me from the future. You love me and You care about me. Even if things don’t work out the way I hope, You will be with me. And so, I can let go. I can be content not knowing. Whatever awaits me, You will be present and You will give me strength, no matter what. And I am grateful. Amen
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
Letting go of our need to control can set us and others free. It can set our Higher Power free to send the best to us. Melody Beattie
Meditation: When we suffer within chaotic circumstances, we can get caught in the obsession of having to fix things and needing to control our environment. We often are too anxious not to. Our past taught us that unless we control things, life will be chaotic. Especially families that struggle with addiction often bring forth in their members this obsession to control. When we become dependent on the need to control others, our environment, ourselves and even God, we become very limited. As we try to keep life predictable by influencing or even manipulating every aspect of it, we pay a high cost: we lose touch with our true selves. As we bind our energy around others’ behavior and obsess about what others do or don’t do, our sense of self gets lost or becomes entangled with others whose destructive behavior we try to prevent, fix or adapt to. God wants to set us free from our need to control. God wants to detangle our life energy that got caught in this obsessive cycle. God will set us free and will help us recover.
Prayer: God of freedom, take our anxiety and our sense of having to control things. Help us to let go. We give to you our helplessness, our negative predictions, our fear of losing the person who is self-destructive and our guilt about having limitations. Thank You that we don’t have to be in control. Thank you that You will set us free again and again from the illusion we could save, solve, absolve or heal the other person. Thank you for saving and absolving us and for setting us free. And thank you for wanting this freedom for everybody, including the persons we worry about most. 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
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. Groucho Marx
Meditation: When we get up in the morning, we make an unconscious decision about how we want to experience the day. If we meditate on all the negative that might come our way or the fullness of our calendar that overwhelms us, we are already setting ourselves up to be unhappy for the rest of the day. However, if we pause in the morning and make a conscious decision about how we want to experience the day, we might focus on something we are grateful for. We might breathe deeply, drink a nice cup of tea and then care for ourselves by packing ourselves a good lunch. We might also choose to just sit for five minutes and do nothing. Doing so we remind ourselves that we are not slaves to our calendars, but that we have the freedom to choose happiness in the midst of our overwhelming schedule. We have just one day, today, and we can choose to be happy in it. What will you choose today?
Prayer: God, you delight in us when we enjoy our day. You want us to be happy. And you give us Your Holy Spirit that sets us free early in the morning and throughout our day again and again. We breathe out and let our unhappiness go. We let go of resentment. We let go of our past. We breathe in happiness. Freedom to be. Grace and care for ourselves and for others. For those are the basis of all happiness. Amen
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (ESV)
Intimacy is the abilit to be influenced by the other while letting go of the fear of being controlled. Intimacy is the choice to embrace differences and become so vulnerable as to allow the other’s perspective to complement one’ s own. DLK
Meditation: When we become intimate with each other, we allow the other’s perspective and emotions to influence us to the point of those making enough of an impact that they might change us and our perspective of things. I no longer see the other as a threat, but as an enrichment to myself. I will not lose myself only because the other person influences me. But we always consider two and no longer only one perspective. That makes our life richer not poorer. Becoming truly intimate with each other can make us feel vulnerable and ” naked”. It means we attach ourselves to a chosen “other” while remaining an individual at the same time. We are not losing ourselves, but we gain ourselves in a new way. We become a ‘ we” while not losing the “I” and the “Thou”. Intimacy involves conflict at times as the temporary clashing of differing perspectives. When we allow such “clashing”, the energy that is being generated can enrich both sides and create something beautiful…namely a third way.
Prayer: God, You are within Yourself the experience of different perspectives and of intimacy. Jesus is the human expression of Your divinity and You, as the creator and sustainer are divine presence. The two of You sometimes seem to contradict each other. But when we allow both of You to be in tension, when we allow to see You, God, from.two different perspectives ( human and divine at the same time)- then a third entity is born: The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the expression and energy of the intimacy that exists within You. We yearn for this energy of intimacy in our own life. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and take our fear away, so that we may live fully and live intimately. Amen
There is no fear in love. For perfect love drives out all fear.1. John 4:18
The greatest danger, I argued, was civil obedience, the submission of individual conscience to governmental authority. Such obedience led to the horrors we saw in totalitarian states, and in liberal states it led to the public’s acceptance of war whenever the so-called democratic government decided on it… Howard Zinn
Meditation: Today my daughter was part of her first act of civil disobedience. At 10am many High School and Middle School students in our nation walked out of the classrooms for 17 minutes to remember each of the 17 Florida shooting victims. The protest went peacefully. African American students have a long tradition of civil disobedience. For most of the majority youth, this is a new experience. Peaceful civil disobedient protest is a little bit like lamenting prayer. Often we don’t know if our lament changes God. As Christians we believe that our prayer impacts God, as God in Jesus is deeply empathetic by nature. However, we know for sure that our lament and our prayers have a great effect on us. It changes us. And in a parallel process, we won’t know if our children’s civil disobedience has any effect on the government today. However, we know that it has a great effect on the young people who choose to do it. And I believe that each one of them is developing a deeper level of ethical and moral clarity, compassion and empathy as a result of today’s protest. Additionally we know that one day, this generation will become the government.
Prayer: God of transformation, often we pray and we don’t see any immediate results. We protest and we don’t see any immediate effects. And yet, it is in acts of prayer and peaceful protest that Your Spirit works. And so our faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see. Thank You for my daughter’s act of protest today. Thank You for this country’s youth who are finding their voice. May their voices ring loud. May their actions reach deep and last long. Amen
And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men”. Acts 5:28 (ESV)