Monday, September 1, 2014
for Sunday, September 7, 2014
13th Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Romans 13.8-14 “as yourself”
REFLECT: I suspect that for many of us, to love our neighbors as ourselves would not be a good thing. When I read through this passage the first time, I imagined a spectrum of treatments — from neglect to abuse, from ignoring physical needs, signs of distress and cries for help, to active emotional, physical and mental mistreatment. You may be thinking, “Of course I would never abuse my neighbor! Of course I would notice and offer to help if I saw signs of trouble or heard cries for help!” But the challenge I hear rising up from reading this passage today is this: can I recognize signs of trouble in my own body, mind and heart?
May of us have bought into the notion that loving ourselves and taking time to care for ourselves is selfish. We think that the time we spend on ourselves is time that could have been spent on someone else in need. Self-care has become something rare and indulgent like getting a massage or a manicure. Real, effective self-care needs to be practiced on a regular, daily basis. It is a necessity, not a luxury. As we say in my office at work, you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on before attempting to help others.
RESPOND: God, we’re so good at twisting words — yours, others’, even our own. Help us to recognize areas of false humility in our lives, places where we pride ourselves and deceive ourselves about how we sacrifice for others. Give us the courage to acknowledge these places and to let them go in favor of true love.
Take a few moments to be quiet. What deep need for care rises up from within you? Ask God to sit with you as you sift through places in yourself that you’ve been ignoring. What would it take to carve out some space to pay attention to one of these areas? What small change or shift can you make even today?
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.