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I’ve had “the weepies” since Saturday.  Today is Friday.  I’m stronger by the day, but I’m still emotionally fragile.  WeepiesAnd then this morning, I found this daily devotional in my email inbox. Maren Tirabassi writes such good stories. And prayers.

I know there are people with worse troubles than mine. I live in suburban US, spring has come; I don’t live in a war-zone or gang-ridden neighborhood, I’m not starving (far from it!) nor freezing. But my spirit is weak and my emotions are fragile.  Will you pray with me, please?

Inscrutable Imagineer,

The layers of your love and your plan go on forever; I can’t know them all, but I sure do love them! You are amazing and I love seeing ‘what happens next’, even when it brings me to tears. Only you can interrupt the mortal actions throughout my day, reminding me to focus on you… on your compassion… your brilliance.

Compassionate Creator,

I bring Thea and Jim and my own self to you.  I pray that your will be done, and if you don’t have a strong preference, I pray that Thea not have to go through chemo again.  She’s only 62 and I’m not ready to lose her.

self care - 12 steps

Hold my brother close, please, and remind him to take care of the marvelous being you have created, the one that we know as Jim.

And me: strengthen me. Grant me intelligent compassion: the ability to care for others and to care for myself just as much and to take care of myself. And help me to come, and to come to, and come to know, and come to know you.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for sunshine, and cold dew on the grass, and plants to ‘harden off’ as they prepare to go in the garden. Thank you for bleeding heart that came back, after Pat Hummel gave me replacements for the one I lost in the drought. Thank you for the pond and thank you in advance for the waterfall and the goldfish.  Thank you for popups that tell me of a book written by John Shelby Spong. Now I want to read it and Amazon has it for a penny. Thank you for sisters in Christ who pray with/for me. Thank you for my life.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Love always,

Melissa

Melissa Pazen, MSW

Inspired Coaching, Melissa Pazen

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

 

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently! 

 

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
…A time to kill, and a time to heal

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

AP_FALL_BACK_TIMERecently, I’ve watched a lot of people deal with loved ones end of life (or the over it).  Today in the US, it’s “Return to God’s Time” as daylight savings time ended at 2 a.m.   (I wasn’t up to count THAT down.)  My garden is brown or frozen because it’s -3ªc or 20ªf outside!  All the lovely blooms are gone and the annuals are too, except for tarragon & rosemary that I haven’t harvested yet.

This all reminds me of the seasonality of all living things.  Rod McKuen called it ‘Seasons in the Son’.  Leslie Bricusse talked about the morning, noon and evening of one’s life in Fill the World with Love in the musical “Good-bye, Mr. Chips”.  I simply wax nostalgic.

I remember my women’s theology group (Monday Night Bible Study or MonNtBS as I irreverently named my e-Mail group), working through the book of Job.  I went into it thinking “God and the Devil playing a game with a man’s life… RIGHT!”  But here’s the thing, I came out of it with a six word answer to many of our theological musings.  “I am God and you’re not.”  

Will you pray with me please?

Everlasting Energy,

You named yourself to our ancestors, “I am”. I can only agree, “Yes, God, YOU ARE.”  Job asked why he was smited and covered with sores. You asked if he was present when you called the world into being and hung the sun and moon.  Of course, Job wasn’t.  But “YOU WERE/ARE/WILL BE”.  Merely the fact of your infinite nature brings me figuratively to my knees while my literal fingers are on this keyboard.  I adore you, God.  You are AMAZING!

Lover of Light,

Perhaps you inspired daylight savings time.  (Wait, did I SAY that?  Of course, YOU DID!).

Responsive Ruler,

Jesus told the disciples that we should ask in his name, that our joy be made full.  I rarely ask for miracles, though.  When my 92 year-old mother-in-law went to the hospital, I thought, “This could be the end.  She’s lived a long time.” Then when she was moved to a rehabilitation center, I thought “Ah, an easier transition to this continuum of care facility.  She’ll move on to the other assisted living centers.”  Now she is home.  I praise you!  Only you could make this happen!

Annamae with Savannah

Responder to our Requests,

YOU ARE.  You answer the desires of our hearts that we dare not articulate — sometimes.  Then there is Mary’s 95 year-old mother, who cannot live unassisted anymore and has been moved to her son’s house, after hospitalization, then skilled nursing care, then home.  She can’t make it without someone strong to lift her. I suspect she’ll either die eventually in another skilled care facility or have hospice care at her son’s house.  So what of her? What should I ask of you?

Mary is sad and harried.  The weight of this is heavy on her shoulders.  God, will you inspire her with your peace?  I pray of thee, surround Mary and her family with your love and a bit of joy through this dark time of the soul.  Remind them, especially my good, good friend that the clouds will lift as they have this bright morning.  That while we go through autumn and winter, that your energy and spirit are always willing to support us, to let us lean on you.

Is this what it will take to get Mary back to church, God?  She has suffered with the guilt of a divorce, but you always forgive the penitent. I know  you still yearn for her; crave her attention.  You want her to worship YOU, not a religious rule that blocks her ability to seek you.  Put it on her heart at just the right time, to go to Mass or a Worship Service.  In your time, may this be done — not mine.  Remind her that communion in any form or any sense is bringing her soul to yours.  Let her commune with you and with other seekers of your kingdom.

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Or perhaps, you will use her daughter’s new baby.  Remind Mary that the love is in that new life, too; that her relationship with her own granddaughter and daughter is equally important as her relationship with her mother.  Remind Mary to spend less time on worry and more time on “OPTIMISM” and peace and rest and self-care.  If she runs out of energy to replenish her own body, remind her that she must rebuild herself before she can build or rebuild others, I pray of thee, God.

Yet not my will, but yours, God.  Not in my time, but yours. Not to my glory, but to you be the glory,

Generous Giver,

Thank you for the mouse and the red underscores that help me to correct my mistakes.  Thank you for the ability to confess and apologize when I sin.  Thank you for Samantha Madhosingh’s month of gratitude.  Thank you for Jean Stone who taught me about gratitude even during those dark nights of the soul.  Thank you for the internet.  Thank you for daylong retreats and Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel and Rev. Merlyn Lawrence and for all the Sisters, Saints & Sinners who went with me.  Thank you for living my life with me and letting me live it for you.  Let me live to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.  Let me live according to your will and to love, and to love and to love.

I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Professor Mary Luti wrote, in this morning’s StillSpeaking Devotional of the capacity for evil and violence in each of us.

So what  Prof. Luti is saying is “It could have been me.”  “There but for the Grace of God, go I.”  “We’re all more same than different.”   Some of us don’t want to remember that.  Some of us, the moral majority or the “good Christians” or the “practicing Jews” want to think we are no longer capable of such.

And then I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who decided (with others) that it would be best to kill Hitler – to kill the evil one and stop the killing of the innocent ones.  Bonhoeffer’s writings are brilliant.  His theology touches my soul.  Yet he was an attempted murderer.  We’re all more same than different.

Ever-renewing Energy,

What an amazing creator you are.  To have allowed humans to be sentient; thinking, reason, deciding.  To have allowed humans to decide between evil and good; free will.  I don’t care if you made one Adam and one Eve or if we came through evolution or mutation, it’s still very cool what you’ve done.  Maybe you experimented: let me try this – oops, no Sodomites need to be wiped out!  How about this?  Nope, gonna wipe it out with a flood.  (Today in the middle west, millions of worms are being wiped  out due to the amount of  rain we’ve received in the last day!  What will the robins eat?  Maybe soggy worms…  maybe that’s what you wanted…  interesting.)  Maybe you don’t get involved at the micro-level.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you weep when even the least of your plans needs to be crossed off your endless list of possibilities.

Yet, you continue.  Maybe you just can’t help it.  Maybe what you are means you just keep creating.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Maybe you set out to make exactly me, and watch what happened from the time my parents got the right cells together to start me.  Maybe you laugh along with me when the joy can’t be contained anymore.  Maybe you clap when I go to the doctor and am taken off a medication.  That would be pretty nifty.  I would adore you anyway…  just because of what or who you are, but I think I would like you, too.  Maybe I’ll find out some day.  Maybe I won’t.  Maybe I won’t even care.  Maybe it will be like Daisy or Duey when they fall asleep in a ‘down stay’ and then wake up and don’t even remember.  That’d be ok.  Oh, wait, anything you do would be ok with me because it’s you, God.  And you’re amazing.  But this was a  fun little meditation; a little frolic and detour.  And it’s a rainy kind of morning when that kind of musing is entertaining.  To you too?  Amazing!

OK, God, let me get down to it.

All-knowing Architect,

What’s up with Amy again?  Why can’t the Lupus calm itself and let her stay out of the ICU?  So she didn’t have another seizure, that’s great!  But now, she got out of bed and fell?  And then she fell again.  And then they took her back to the ICU.  Please, please, please, be the doctors.  Be the medicine.  Be the technology.  Inspire the whole team of people caring for Amy, please.  Please?

And poor Doug and Jill and Paula and Julie!  Please hold on to them; enfold them in your arms so they feel your love and your strength.  Lord, your sense of time might be very different from ours, and this feels like such a long time!  And Amy gets a little bit better and then something else happens.  How can they not be disappointed and frustrated?  How can they not be crying “again?!?!  Seriously?!?”  And how can they continue to trust and be faithful servants through this?  How can they not be consumed with the question “WHY?”

Please, Lord, be with them.  Nourish them with the memory of Job.  Remind them that it’s not about the why, it’s about the what and the with whom.  Help them to remember to love mercy and seek justice and walk humbly with you.  Help them remember that there will be good days again.  Help them to know your peace.  Give them times of respite, maybe with prayer and meditation.  Help them to take their thinking minds off this for a little while and rest.

I bring Susan to you again, today.  I pray you’ve allowed her the medication to dull the pain from her back injury. Send your warmth and healing energy to her, please Lord.

I pray for Steve, home sick from work with the bug going around.  Give him rest and rebuild his systems. Give him a sunny attitude in the midst of this storm.

And now my mind goes back to Prof. Luti’s devotional from this morning.  It could be any of us.  We could have built pressure cooker bombs and left them near the finish line of a marathon.  Or blown up someone/something in the middle east and just happen to kill people who were walking along and weren’t the targets at all.

Some places have more violence than others.  I remember when Steve and I were talking about a honeymoon and I wanted to go to Ireland and Steve thought it was too dangerous.  And I’m reading Eat Pray Love and in Bali there was horrid violence within the last century and now it’s back to being thought of an idyllic paradise.

Thinker-Seated-Young-Woman-

Lord, here’s my plan (and I know it’s meager and flawed):  I’m going to live praising you and go where I wish – even in the valley of the shadow of death.  You’ll be with me, I know that.  I’m going to live my life with as much joy as I can muster and as much kindness as I can share.

Continuous Creator,

Wherever I go, you’re there with me.  Whatever I think, you are the source.  Whatever I have, you made.  Thank you for daffodils and forsythia.  Thank you for cold and heat.  Thank you for sun and for darkness.  Thank you for rest and work.  Thank you for friends and love and community.  Thank you for all the things and people that remind me of you.  I love you so much!  And

I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Earlier this week, my study group discussed “Evil, Suffering, and a God of Love” in the series called Living the Questions. Rev. Winnie Varghese (Rector of St. Mark’s-Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City & former Episcopal Chaplain at Columbia University) stated that it is heretical to focus on material good things that God has given to us, thinking this is because something we’ve done.  She said this belief leads us to think bad things happening has some reason in who we are or what we’ve done.

I learned this morning that Amy (who we’ve brought to God in prayer all week) has had three more seizures since yesterday afternoon.  Doctors are running tests.  All of us are on “pray without ceasing” alert!  Will you pray with me please?

reason_why-il_mscrpt

Constant Creator, 

You call us continually.  You long for our love.  You make mysteries and marvels.  You are more — more than our minds can imagine!  Amazing!

All glory, laud, and honor to you.  I express my adoration, my praise, my joy.  Hosanna!  You are amazing!

Lord of Light,

I wish I didn’t need to bring Amy to you again!  She loves you Lord; I know she is in a strong and loving relationship with you.  I know you are aware of what is happening and I wish it were not.  I know you are in charge and I am not, Lord.  I know you will make all things ultimately work for the good for Amy.  I know this.  But she’s having physical emergencies, Lord and I hate that.  Amy is such a good person and strives for what’s right and cares for others…  I want her to be just fine.  And that’s not in my sphere of control, Lord.  But I know it’s in your sphere of control, so I bring her to you again.

Heal Amy, Lord, I beg of you.

My carpal tunnel syndrome is strong today, Lord.  I love you and I want to keep talking, but I may have to give my thumbs and fingers a rest.  I know you understand and I know you hear me whether I type or talk out loud or talk inside my head.

Gentle, gracious Grandother,

I have come to believe that I need not focus on the bad things that happen to the good people.  This life and this world will always have bad and good.  There will be times of both and of each.  Lord, I know that I need focus only on you.  I need focus on loving, on serving, on praying.  I need not focus on understanding (even though I love figuring things out) your reasons and the reasons of bad, evil, sin in the universe.  That’s not my concern, not my sphere of control.

the-reason-why

So I will dwell with you.  I will continue to ask you to heal my friend.  I will continue to type my side of our conversation and I will love.  I will try to bring your blessing to others.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for doctors. Thank you for hospitals. Thank you for technology. Thank you for medicine. Thank you for nourishment. Thank you for curiosity. Thank you for the will to make things better and the will to improve the condition of the world. Thank you for those who love us.  Thank you for those who support us. Thank you for those who worry about us and cry with us when we suffer.  Lord, I love you so much!

I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

In this morning’s Stillspeaking Devotional, the Rev. Lillian Daniel writes of a gay man from a conservative background, and how he felt alone both at church and with LGBTQ individuals who didn’t share his religious heritage. I love that she says:  “And I am grateful to the UCC for its early and extravagant welcome to those who have been wounded by other churches.” 

Jesus ate with the unclean, publicans & sinners.  He might even have been willing to share a meal with me.  How can I do anything less?  I continue to find the loving spirits in those who disagree with me most strongly, because Jesus showed me how.

Chicago pre-dawn

Omnipotent One,

Only you could call the worlds into being.  Only you would have thought to create species and breeds with such variety; from manx to tabbies, from lipizzaner to quarter, from pug to wolf hound, from gay to straight, from conservative evangelical to post-modern liberal.  All of us are your creations.  Amazing!

Lord of Light,

In this pre-dawn time when the sky lightens, I come to you. I think of Thea and her upcoming transfusion today; remind her that while with you, she will come to no harm.  Let her feel a sense of energy as blood filled with hemoglobin and good counts of white and red cells flow into her body.  Strengthen her in body and faith.  Let her remember that our love surrounds her and let that be a comfort; fill her with a sense of calm.

As the day begins, I bring Susan and Matt to you.  Let them take their time and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they should be friends, committed to one another, or married.  Lead them to the proper outcome for all the right reasons, Lord.  Show them your will for them, Lord.  Open the hearts of each of their family members.  Let them revel in the love you have created in them.

Just before the sun rises, I remember Steve and his interview on Friday.  It feels as if it might be a longshot, but Lord, it would be such a gift to us to not need to strugglewith money!  I know he could do the management aspects of the job and I only hope he would be happy with it.  Please, Lord, if it be your will, let him get it!

Now as I turn to my workday, I pray you will remind me you are beside me always.  Inspire my work and  my work choices.  Let me be a blessing and a purveyor of your light, your enlightenment.  Let me help to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.

Gracious God,

We have everything we need.  In you, we have our refuge and our strength.  I am so grateful; Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the most holy name of Jesus,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Today I read my “Stillspeaking Devotional” and marveled at Hebrew Bible text that was written more than several thousand years ago.  Clearly, someone thought it important to ‘write it down!  Put it on paper!” And we remember some of it and gratefully can read it to this day.

Author of the Ages,

You are behind our search for meaning in this world.  You created humans on this earth with the ability to wonder.  “Where did we come from?”  “Why are we here?” “Isn’t there something more than this?” “Why do bad things happen?” “Why is there illness?” “Why do we die?”

You could have created us to be like cattle or any other of your creatures, but in holy love, you gave us the ability to wax philosophical.  Amazing.

Perpetual Progenitor,

Today I approach you with humility and many requests.  For Thea’s health.  For Alan’s and Adrienne’s comfort.  For Susan’s relationships.  For Linda’s new job.  For Annamae’s ability to live independently. For CJ, in his job search. For Cynthia’s upcoming surgery. And I know that even if I forget someone who has asked, you know that I meant to include them.

In this busy season, help us all to take care of ourselves.  Remind us to take a few minutes to breathe and focus on that breath.  Help us to remember the good air comes from you.  Remind us to get enough sleep, to drink enough water, and to eat well for fuel not frolic.

Gracious Giver,

You continually pour your blessings upon us.  A cold sunny morning with a car that starts comes from you.  The keyboard on which I type comes from you.  You are wastefully generous with me and with us all.  I am so grateful.  I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Melissa Pazen © 2012

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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