Never stop loving…

If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. James O’Barr

Meditation: “There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so.  One must simply hold out and endure it.  At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled, one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve – even in pain – the authentic relationship. Furthermore, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Prayer: Gracious God, as some of us walk in grief and have to adjust to a world without the beloved person physically present, we pray for them as they remember their life before the painful loss. Be present in those feelings of emptiness. Be present in the pain of missing. Be the one who transforms our torment of memory into silent joy. Amen

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Start with the children…

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. Mahatma Ghandi

Meditation: Our children don’t listen as much to what we say, as to what they observe about us. Our children not only remember our words, but they remember how they felt in our presence. Peace begins with modeling relationships that are safe and respectful. Peace begins when children see their parents resolve differences without becoming violent. Peace begins when Youth experiences that our values match with how we act on a daily basis. If our children feel respected as unique individuals and not feel treated as extensions of ourselves, they begin to learn about peace and about justice. Our community needs to hold our children and Youth in high regard, as they are the future generation that will determine the fate of our planet. Today is the day for us adults to role model, to be present, to be available. Children and  Youth (even if they pretend not to) are like sponges. They absorb what they hear and witness, especially from us adults who are daily in their lives. This does not mean that we as adults have to be perfect. But it means that we are believable. It means that we apologize if our own behavior violates our belief and our values of peace and love.

Prayer: God, our society and our world are in upheaval. We are in a time of uncertainty with increasing threats of violence and with increasing injustice happening around us. Help us adults to uphold and role model the values of non-violence, justice, love, respect and protection of the vulnerable. Help us to embody for our children those values that bring about peace for future generations. Amen

The God of peace will soon crush the Adversary under your feet; the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Romans 16:20




Being safe…

“Before I die, I want to be somebody’s favorite hiding place, the place they can put everything they know they need to survive, every secret, every solitude, every nervous prayer, and be absolutely certain I will keep it safe. I will keep it safe.” Andrea Gibson

Meditation: The most beautiful and healing experience is feeling safe in a relationship that is loving. This can happen between a parent and child. It can happen between friends and lovers. And it can happen spiritually between us and God. When we trust that the other person will be respectful and will keep holy parts of us that we entrusted safe, we start living. Sometimes we begin living for the first time. There is so much betrayal, endless sarcasm, so much joking or talking behind one’s back… However, when we have that place that is safe, we can dare anything. We can dare being ourselves. We can dance though others are watching. We can sing, even if we are off key at times. We can write and not worry about our punctuation being correct. And when we lose that space of safety, it feels as if our world crumbles. We go into survival mode. We grieve, sometimes for life. And yet, having had such a relationship just one time in life will help us believe that it exists. And we will find it again.

Prayer: Sheltering God, when our parents leave us, when our partners or friends betray us, let us hide in you as the ultimate realm of safety. Thank you for every relationship we have had that made us feel safe, accepted and delighted in. We know that you are the one to heal our broken hearts when those we wanted to trust betray us, and when those we loved leave us. Thank you for never leaving us. Amen


Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.



“When I see the migrant workers’ broken bodies and eyes without hope, I want to embrace and wipe away their fears. It makes me angry and helps me to keep fighting the oppressive system.” Irene Fernandez

Meditation: These days fathers and mothers are being deported. Pulled out of their cars. Arrested when they open the door. IS means Immigration services. Interestingly the same two initials as IS for Islamic State. How can violence against undocumented immigrants be justified? No rights, no protection, because they miss a certain document?

These days Germans remember the rates that were done to arrest Jewish individuals and families and then deport them. The incarcerations and deportations caused unimaginable suffering and millions of deaths. It suddenly became a crime to belong to a certain ethnic and religious minority. Jews were being scapegoated and blamed for any and all problems that the German society faced back then. How are undocumented immigrants being used as distraction and as scapegoats today? How can history repeat itself like this… America wake up!

Prayer of a German resistance fighter:“In me there is darkness, but with You there is light; I am lonely, but You do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help; I am restless, but with You there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience; I do not understand Your ways, but You know the way for me.”“Lord Jesus Christ, You were poor, and in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.You know all man’s troubles; You abide with me when all men fail me;You remember and seek me; It is Your will that I should know You and turn to You. Lord, I hear Your call and follow; Help me.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Daniel 3:17 “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”










“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do harm, but the harm that they cause does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Meditation: How did we choose the President we did? Has our culture overall become so narcissistic that narcissism has become the “new normal”? The addiction to be loved and to be all important. The splitting off of one’s flaws and vulnerabilities and the obsession of having others’ hail one’s ego that is so inflated, but really “naked” and that cannot bear any criticism. The rage of not being loved, of starring in one’s own image and of believing that one’s own image will love one back. But then deep inside knowing, it is all an empty illusion. An empty existence…filled only with money, sex and power behavior. Why did America choose a person like this to make decisions and represent the US in the world? What is the collective injury that this country has received that we would fall for this man’s illusions? What is the spiritual task before us?

Prayer: Gracious God, you urge us to deal with our wounding as a country, our split off shadows, our narcissistic tendencies as a nation. Now we see a part of our collective unconscious embodied in this President. You let us see and experience the extreme so that we can’t close our eyes anymore but that we strive to be healed. God have mercy on us, as we meet and endure our shadow incarnate. Amen

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. … 2. Timothy 3:1-5


Intercessory Prayer

Quote: “The church speaks finally in that it prays for the world.” Karl Barth

Meditation: When I grew up my father who was a pastor would pray for his congregation and for his family. At times he would pray for one or two hours before he began his day. He would choose a different area of concern each day of the week. At the time I did not quite know what to make of that. I did not know anybody else who was dedicated to pray for others as he was. Leaving home at the age of 19, I knew that my Dad “had my back”. Not by rescuing me from every difficulty, not by sending me exactly what I thought I needed or wanted, but by keeping me in his morning prayer… every day of my life. When my Dad died, I felt his absence and also the absence of the knowledge that there was someone who was praying for me, every day. When my husband says that he prays for our daughters every day, it brings tears to my eyes. There is power in intercessory prayer. Power in intergenerational prayer. Power in knowing that somebody cares enough, loves enough to pray like this for me.

Prayer: Gracious God, you are holding us in daily prayer. Your Spirit is the one that prays for us, in us and through us. Help us to become the one praying for those who need prayer. And open us up to request prayers from others. There is much power in intercessory prayer… keep us connected to that field of love, the power of prayer and the ongoing circle of intercession, so that we will be strengthened and healed. Amen

Colossians 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

True Self…

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” Shannon Alder “Be bold, be brave enough to be your true self.” Queen Latifah

Meditation: Sitting in a dance competition of mostly female young dancers, I can see how the definition of beauty and the scores of female dancers are easily being determined by stereotypes. The white girls dance to music that describes them in certain ways and that they  move to in ways that can be described as “cute, sexy, or innocent”… White girls have certain norms to abide by and to appear a certain way. Usually all have to be like mirrors of each other, moving like a well-oiled machine, one copying the other. Black girls have their own norms to abide by such as being “Hip Hop queens, angry, or wild”… Black girls refuse to copy each other, but doing so, they don’t look as controlled and “in sync” and sometimes get lower scores because of that… These dance competitions are culturally and individually shaping events, judging young females partly based on their athletic abilities, but are also largely based on certain cultural norms of what a “white woman” and what a “black woman” is supposed to be and dance like. How do we empower our girls (and boys) to be bold, to be brave and to be their true selves, no matter what the crowd or what the judges think?

Prayer: Jesus, you were the most individuated person. You defied many expectations and cultural norms. You always grounded yourself in your relationship with God to be able to live out of your true self. Being in relationship with you allowed your disciples, men and women, and those who met you to become their true selves as well. You broke cultural norms and rules regarding class, gender, ethnicity and religion. You transcended stereotypes and met the others by engaging and seeking their “true self” and thus bringing healing and liberation to those who met you. Jesus, come and meet us and our daughters and sons, so we/they can be bold and brave to be our/their own true selves. Amen

Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” John 4:28f




“The deep meaning of the cross of Christ is that there is no suffering on earth that is not borne by God.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Meditation: When we encounter persons who are suffering either physically, emotionally or mentally, we often use all that we have and pour our strength, health and wellbeing into that person or into the situation, to make things better. That is how helpers come about. The world often experiences relief and moments of betterment through those who want to help. And yet, when we become such helpers our resources become easily exhausted after a while. We start feeling in body, mind and spirit similar ailments that the suffering persons have we are trying to help. Many people like social workers, nurses or pastors start burning out. But also family members who care for the generation above or below know this phenomenon. The experience of having taken in too much suffering of others is called compassion fatigue. This exhaustion becomes very real and is often accompanied by symptoms like depression, complete physical exhaustion or even spiritual despair.

Prayer: God, in times of such exhaustion I am called to come to you and rest. I am invited to acknowledge and accept my human limitations and boundaries. I am not You. I am human. The other persons’ suffering needs to be held by Your hands that are bigger than mine. I am not able to bear all suffering, but Christ did. You don’t ask me to help, just to serve. And so I allow myself to come to You and rest from trying to help. I hide myself in Your arms, gracious God,  and I stop helping but begin to serve those who are suffering by praying for them. Sometimes we cannot help and we cannot even bear the suffering, but You can and will. Amen

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30



February 10

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.  Willie Nelson

Meditation: The news each day are overwhelming. And often they are not good news these days.  I find myself cutting off the radio or TV with a foul taste in my mouth. Sometimes I even feel like throwing up. This is how toxic that which I took in feels to my body. How must my soul feel when even my body revolts?

As I then use body movement therapy by shaking imaginary toxins off my arms, off my legs and off my whole body, I make a first move towards healing and resistance. And when I then center myself, and allow my soul to focus and start counting my blessings, I shake off hatred, feelings of fear and disgust and apply the balm of gratitude. When I start counting my blessings, when I remember where my source of life and strength comes from, my whole life, my attitude, my emotions begin turning around.

Prayer: Healing and liberating God, as I shake off the mud and toxins of the day, as I spend moments of intimacy with you and remember myself in your care and in your blessings, I develop spiritual immunity. I develop gratitude that transcends the news of the day. God, as a nation, remind us how to shake off, to vomit out, to detox and then come and rest in you. Amen

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28




“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”

― Michael J. Fox

Meditation: The dynamic of abuser and abused is a painful cycle of never ending insults. The abusers because they can’t stop their sadistic rage. The abused because they don’t know how to stop being in the position of allowing abuse to happen.The pain of that cycle screams loud. So loud that those who engage in it scream a lot.

This cycle of abuse has been broken on the cross. Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” What an ending of the cycle of hatred. The one who was spit at, tortured, betrayed and despised finds words to pray for his persecutors.

Prayer: God, when I get hurt, disrespected or taken advantage of, I want to retaliate. That is deeply human. And often I get swiped away with the wave of rage that comes over me when that happens. But I know that my heart will get infected. My soul will become toxic and my actions become more and more reactive. I lose my perspective that comes from being yours. God, I am committed to discipleship. I want to learn from Jesus how to overcome the cycle of violence and say: “God, forgive her, for she does not know what she is doing – and God, help me so I can forgive her as well.” Amen

Luke 23:34: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

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