Monday, December 30, 2013 – Week of Christmas 1, Year 2
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 20, 21:1-7(8-14) (morning) // 23, 27 (evening)
1 Kings 17:17-24
3 John 1-15
I’ve had the privilege of working with a few different Buddhist teachers along my spiritual journey. Many Buddhist traditions include something called “metta,” or loving-kindness meditation. The practice involves opening the heart and focusing on an intention that all beings be happy and free from suffering.
Our readings today reminded me that directing loving-kindness toward others is integral to Christian practice as well. The third letter of John opens by wishing its recipient, Gaius, well: “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.” The author’s pure intention is comprehensive, desiring good things in someone else’s life circumstances, physical body, and spirit.
The first Psalm for this morning also wishes its addressee well. The Psalmist wishes that God will answer you, send help for you, remember your offerings, accept your sacrifices, “Grant you your heart’s desire and prosper all your plans.” How blessed we would be to have someone chanting this intention for us!
Many Christians are accustomed to keeping a mental or written prayer list, offering up the names of others and their specific concerns. We might also like to pause this morning and wish someone else well, letting our intention of goodness for someone else permeate our being.
Imagine someone close to you and say in your heart, “I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul.” Or, let the Spirit call someone to mind, and repeat, “May the Lord grant you your heart’s desire and prosper all your plans.” Whether we pray this way for people we love or for people we struggle with, these well-wishing mantras will surely open our hearts. And, they may even bring a touch of divine goodness into people’s lives when they need it most.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.