“Bring acceptance into your non-acceptance. Bring surrender into your non-surrender. Then see what happens.” Eckhart Tolle
Acceptance and surrender are spiritual practices that are extremely difficult. I remember as a teenager how my father who was quite a mystic talked about “surrendering the Old Adam” “every morning anew” as he called it. I was 15 at the time and my “Ego” instead wanted to find herself. Surrendering, that was the furthest from my mind. Understandable that a teenager would rebel and not believe in such a thing as surrender.
And even forty years later my “Old Eve”, my “Ego” has a hard time accepting the present moment, if my “Ego” finds it unacceptable. Surrendering my “Ego” roles, my successes, believes, convictions and my wants is a most challenging spiritual practice. However, suffering forces me/us to go there. The year 2020 has been filled with much collective and individual suffering. Eckhart Tolle invites us to see that the Universe provides us with suffering as opportunities to learn this practice of spiritual acceptance and surrender and thus become fully present and free of fear.
And going a little farther, Jesus fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14: 35-36
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 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
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
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 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
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 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