By Ron Harmon, Presiding Bishop
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
[Excerpted from sermon delivered at World Conference 2023]
My most unsettling but lucid moments have been amid human suffering where instead of obligation, I saw myself in the suffering victim on the side of the road.
Ilia Delio, a Franciscan sister and scientist shares:
Love is a consciousness of belonging to another, of being part of a whole, to encounter the other—not as stranger—but as another part of oneself.
It is in this place of deep connection with the suffering of another—one human heart to another—I am changed and find courage to share when the world says I should look the other way.
We never leave fear behind. Courage comes from a willingness to encounter the other as part of oneself, move through our weaknesses, and trust we do not go alone.
Wendy Farley, practitioner in the field of spirituality, explores the incredible depths of God’s compassion sharing that both the Greek and Hebrew words for mercy or compassion mean “to be moved deeply.” She further explains “in both languages, compassion is so intense one can do nothing other than act. It is like the spontaneous and fervid desire for a child’s wellbeing that a mother holding her infant feels. It is visceral and irresistible.”
I have experienced this deep compassion, when all boundaries fade, and we encounter the other—not as stranger—but as part of oneself and can do nothing other than act.
“giving thanks to God…at all times and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20)
[Adapted from A 7-Day Guide to Gratitude by Diana Butler Bass]
Often, we feel we have to escape from everyday life to embrace the mysteries and blessings of God. But we don’t need to go far, we can look inside ourselves. The greatest gift is the one we most often take for granted: that we are alive. Take ten minutes today for silence. Sit somewhere you will not be disturbed and set a timer. Reflect on the words, “I am. We all are.”
What happened in the silence?
Did a sense of gratitude emerge in this exercise?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.