Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Forgot

The last several days have been quite full--full of meetings, full of writing, full of "tying up loose ends."  Through all of the hustle and bustle of what should be a very relaxing time of year, I have found that I have yet to slow down.  Not only that, I have neglected a couple of things.  It has been a couple days since I have posted a status update on Facebook or Twitter.  It has been a few days since I have posted on this site.  Why?  Simple answer.  I forgot.

It happens to all of us.  We forget to do certain things that should be regular habits.  For most things, it really is not a big deal.  It is not a big deal that I have not tweeted for a couple of days.  It is not a big deal that I have neglected my blog for a few days.  The world will continue without my input.

However, there are other "disciplines" that are important and should not be forgotten.  Again, it happens to all of us.  We forget to read from our Bibles.  We find ourselves going longer and longer between prayer times.  And while it is not a big deal to forget to tweet, it is a big deal to forget to pray.  Paul challenges us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Some have balked at this challenge because they do not fully understand what Paul means.  He is not suggesting that we stay in a perpetual posture of prayer, such as closing our eyes and folding our hands.  Just imaging all of the odd stares we would get in Wal-Mart if we bowed in prayer between each aisle.  

No, what Paul is describing here a perpetual state of prayer.  As people of faith, we must be prayerful people.  I always advise those I am mentoring or teaching to pray when they drive.  However they must keep their eyes open!  We can pay silently in our minds.  We can listen to prayers on the radio or on our iPods.  We can pray "breathe prayers" throughout the day.  When it comes to praying continuously, we really do not have an excuse.  So, make sure that the next time you forget something, make sure that it is to tweet instead of to pray.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Transitions: A Reflection and Prayer

I am sitting in my office on a day book-ended with notable transitions.  Earlier this morning, I conducted a graveside service for a woman who was raised and lived in this community for several years.  She had not lived her for sometime, however her wishes were to return "home" for her burial.  The service was small, yet meaningful as those who cared for this woman said their goodbyes and hoped for the day when they will see her again.

Later today, I will part of another transition, although merely as a spectator.  I will be on stage and looking at an audience, yet my participation will be as a silent, smiling observer.  As is common among religious and faith-based educational institutions, we will have a baccalaureate service for our graduating seniors.  It is their last time to worship as a student of this university, and it is our chance to offer a parting blessing to them as they leave us to enter professions across throughout the world.  

Transitions are part of life.  We transition from an apartment to a home.  We transition from one career to another.  We transition from being providers to being provided for.  We transition from being married to being widowed.  Transitions are part of life.  We may ignore them or rebuff them, yet they are there and we must respect them.  Yet this does not mean that all transitions are painful.  Some, even if they bring sorrow, are productive and even healing.  

Just as birds must leave the nest in order to learn to fly, we often must transition from one phase of life to another in order to mature and live a productive life.  To that end, I offer this prayer for all those who are going through a transition in their lives, especially those who are finishing a chapter of their educational journey.  May this bring you comfort on this weekend.

Father God, Giver and Sustainer of Life,

We approach Your throne this day and ask that You give blessing to all those who are facing a transition in their lives.  Growing hurts, yet we know that there is purpose in pain.  Saying goodbye hurts, yet we are hopeful for the next hello.  Chapters end, yet new chapters begin.  In this time when so many are enduring a transition, whether it is with a job or school or family, we ask that You bring blessing, comfort, and direction to those seeking Your will and Your presence.  We trust that You will lead us where You want to go, and we hope in Your faithfulness to us as we are faithful to You.  May Your grace and mercy cover us!

In Christ's name, Amen