...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Surrender Can Be Gentle

Looking for a softening of the austere Covenant Prayer from the Puritan and Wesleyan tradition? You may not be the only one that reacts to its harshness, especially the way some churches just throw it out there for everyone to read (not necessarily pray) every New Year. I struggle to pray and not mouth the words.

You find a gentler expression of a similar prayer by Charles de Foucauld, the posthumous founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus, the Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Little Sisters of Jesus.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, these groups seek to conform to the social milieu where they earn much of their own living, working regular jobs, wearing ordinary clothes, and exercising their influence by sharing the life of those around them. Henri Nouwen cites Foucauld's prayer in The Road to Daybreak.
Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
And in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
For I love you, Lord,
And so need to give myself,
To surrender myself into your hands, without reserve
And with boundless confidence.
For you are my Father.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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