Being of Service? Where I Work! (#BestOf)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Interfaith Walk for Peace in Morton Grove happened yesterday, Saturday, September 24th. A wonderful experience! One of the other organizers of the Walk was Dilnaz. I remembered this post from two years ago, when Dilnaz and I first met. A good deal of friendship and interfaith work has happened since then in Morton Grove and the surrounding area. Wonderful, new friendships have started, too!

Many people today in the Morton Grove area advance the radical notion that people of different faith traditions and different ethnic backgrounds can get along in peace and harmony. What a marvelous concept! What a marvelous way to find ways to serve, too.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, September 23, 2014

serve-because-christ-served

Being of Service? In the Town Where I Work!

The town where my church is located is Morton Grove. Great town! And, multi-cultural town, too. People of many different cultures, different languages, and different faith traditions all living together.

I attended a planning meeting for the Interfaith Ecumenical Thanksgiving Eve Service this afternoon. Excellent introduction to a number of other ministers and religious leaders from the community. I so much appreciated it. And—this was a wonderful way of serving.

I especially was grateful that this ecumenical service is so well laid out. Since this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the Thanksgiving Eve service in Morton Grove, this celebration will be particularly poignant. Much support from the local congregations, too!

One of the people at that meeting was a representative from the Muslim Community Center, Dilnaz. She was eager to enter into the planning process. She also had a number of great ideas. We incorporated one—in particular—into the later part of the service. It involves children and youth, and will be a welcome addition to the multi-generational aspect of the service.

At the end of the meeting, friendly Dilnaz and I asked each other several questions. She is involved with a number of interfaith dialogues and outreaches in the neighboring suburbs. It turns out we both know a Presbyterian minister who also is instrumental in interfaith outreach in this area! I am pleased and amazed when that happens . . . when I find out that someone I’ve just met knows someone else I know.

This Muslim/Christian interfaith dialogue has been going on for some time, although a number of people are (knowingly or inadvertently) putting on the brakes. I have noticed Muslim people here in the area being cautious in their interactions in public. I am glad that people like Dilnaz, our Muslim friend at the planning meeting, was so genuine and outgoing. Believe me when I say that I have seen reports of some hesitancy, even some downright animosity toward Muslims, in the greater Chicago metro area.

I am even more happy to see reports of some push-back. A group of British Muslim young people came up with an excellent video, and use of a hashtag: #notinmyname. This shows people throughout the world that the extremists are just that—a small, even tiny percentage of the whole of the Muslim world. You go, young people! God be with you. God be with me, too. God be with all of us!

@chaplaineliza

(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Eastertide and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at ayearofbeingkind.wordpress.com .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

How to Pray? How to Serve.

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, November 5, 2014

pink roses, again

How to Pray? How to Serve.

Today, this was my week to pray. I mean, for an intercessory prayer group I am part of. Each Wednesday, in round robin fashion, a member of the group offers prayers for the rest. By email. I know that there are more than fifteen members. I know that I have only met two others (and one is the administrator for the prayer group). But there is a cohesiveness in prayer. A fellowship and kinship that comes from gathering in prayer together.

Today, I had the opportunity to gather prayer requests (and praises!) from a friendly group that meets together each Wednesday morning. I had the privilege to pray for those who were at the group meeting, and those others we were missing. God, this is awesome. And, a privilege. And, exciting to be able to lift up many prayer requests and cries for God to act. For God to do or not to do, to speak or not to speak. God knows.

I get prayer requests from the most different sort of amalgamation of prayer email. And telephone calls. And people stopping by. Some prayer requests come from relatives or friends, concerned about their loved one. Near or far, that doesn’t matter to God. God will hear, God will encourage and support you.

I ask the dear Lord to help me to be welcoming. And honest, and caring. God, help me to be prepared with all the unknown events of the day ahead. And God, we pray for the sick, the shut-ins, for those who are far away. And, especially for those who do not know You. Thanks for loving me, too.

@chaplaineliza

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Back to the Office—and Still Being Kind

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, July 23, 2014

kitten and little girl

Back to the Office—and Still Being Kind

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, what about all play and no work? What will that do to Jill? What kind of a girl will she become? It’s not that I did no work over the weekend. Certainly not! But I was in a very different setting. In two different settings, actually. (For those who missed my comings and goings, I was at one conference in Cleveland from Friday afternoon until Sunday midday. And then, I made a hop, skip and a jump to another conference in western Pennsylvania from Sunday mid-afternoon until after lunch on Tuesday.)

I’ve blogged about my conference-going for the past few days. Some marvelous insights! Some innovative ideas! Lots to think about, and lots to process over the next couple of weeks.

So—I was back in the office today. Answering a ton of email, responding to social media, doing a good deal of computer file maintenance and other types of office work and correspondence. Oh, I read to the preschoolers and kindergarteners at the preschool. Had several meetings with people over the telephone. Pretty much just stayed put, at the church.

And yet, I realized today that in just about every interaction, I purposed to be kind. Amazing how much six months of a kindness-orientation or service-practice can cause me to change my mindset. Well, that’s not quite right. I have shown the spiritual gifts of helps and encouragement for decades. That’s nothing new. But—this purposeful kindness- or helps-orientation every single day? That is new for me.

I haven’t spoken of the verse I chose for the month of July much. This is not a deliberate error on my end, because so much has been going on! But before July slips away, let’s take another look at James 1:22; “Be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” To my way of thinking, using my spiritual gifts of helps and encouragement is doing the Word. Being active, not passive.

Towards the end of the day, I did something else that was active. Doing the Word, not just sitting there, vegetating like a spiritual couch-potato. I wrote out two cards and sent them to two separate people. One was a birthday card. A happy occasion! The other was a sympathy card—a friend’s mother recently died after some years in a nursing home. A sad occasion.

Yes, I spent most of the day sitting in my office, doing necessary work. But, I can still be kind. Still be of service and help to someone else. And, I do pray for each family who will be receiving a card. God be with them and bless them as God knows they need a touch from above. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

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