April 14, 2020

Daily Devotions

Meditation, Prayers, and Assorted Stuff for April 14, 2020

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, “Laying Down Our Lives for Our Friends”

Good shepherds are willing to lay down their lives for their sheep (see John 10:11). As spiritual leaders walking in the footsteps of Jesus, we are called to lay down our lives for our people. This laying down might in special circumstances mean dying for others. But it means first of all making our own lives—our sorrows and joys, our despair and hope, our loneliness and experience of intimacy—available to others as sources of new life.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is ourselves. We offer consolation and comfort, especially in moments of crisis, when we say, “Do not be afraid. I know what you are living, and I am living it with you. You are not alone.” Thus, we become Christ-like shepherds.

Today’s prayer comes in the form of a poem from Lynn Ungar.


God of hope and healing, I don’t even have words for what I’m feeling. My stomach is tied up in knots, my thoughts are skipping so fast I can’t keep up. I’m exhausted but I can’t rest. My dreams at night are as stressful as my thoughts during the day

What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love– for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live. –Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

. Excessive handwashing has left my skin raw. Social distancing has left me feeling more alone than ever. I could call a friend, but I’m afraid they won’t understand. I need help. Please help me to calm down. Help me to stay focused on You. Help me to not be afraid. I feel paralyzed. Please take this feeling from me and give me courage, strength, and an unwavering trust in You. Amen.

Time for a little biblical humor.

Today’s links! 

How do we respond to crisis? Read an article about and, if you care to, listen to a podcast describing the 1964 Easter earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska and the cast of characters who kept the city together.

 I’ll admit I was skeptical, but from everything I can find out, this story about a man ticketed for teaching his pit bull how to drive is true.
 This article made me laugh out loud. Filmmaker and animator Tibo Charroppin, with the help of his cat Lizzy, created funny videos featuring Lizzy stealing the spotlight in Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, Titanic, and The Shining.
 Those of us struggling a bit with Zoom can either take heart from or be humiliated by this 93-year-old woman who took her book club to Zoom.

 This video gives us a peek into the life of a woman who lives every day like it’s 1958. (Before waxing too nostalgic, remember what that era was like for people of color and for women’s rights!)

 Finally, enjoy the “Family Lock Down Boogie” from actor and musician Jack Buchanan.

Stay safe and stay well!