It has been one week since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. The death toll is ever increasing and the destruction has yet to be rebuilt, but despite these perilous conditions there is still an outpouring of compassion from people of all stripes. That outpouring includes ’round the clock prayer from people of many faiths. In the next few days I hope to share prayers that have emerged from other faith traditions for the people of Haiti. To that end, I am glad to have the opportunity to share a prayer for the welfare of Haiti by Associate Rabbi Steven Exler of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. I encourage all that would to welcome this prayer and see it as a spiritual effort toward the restoration of the island of Haiti and it’s people.
May God who blessed our patriarchs Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, and our matriarchs Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, and Leah
Bless and heal all those wounded in the earthquake in Haiti.
Merciful One, whose strength and might fills the earth,
Save and rescue those who are trapped,
Return those who are missing, and
Strengthen and comfort the families of those who have died.
May the One who heals the sick and supports the fallen
Strengthen the hands of Haiti’s leaders and her doctors,
And the hands of all those engaged in volunteering and rescuing at this time,
And put in their hearts wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.
So may it be your will, and let us say: Amen.
-By Steven Exler and Mishael Zion
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Today we remember the birthday of a great American, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We will hear a great deal about the man and his mission over the next hours. And so we should. But I have noticed a strange neglect in our observances: we seem to forget that King was first a Baptist pastor whose convictions and courage for the cause of civil rights stemmed from his faith, and commitment to the Bible.
The God of the Bible is a God of justice, who stands with the poor and oppressed. Faith not politics drove King’s passion. He saw his strategy of non-violent resistance as a way to honor Jesus in the face of injustice. Wouldn’t it be fitting to make prayer as much a part of this day of honor as speeches and rallies?
King was a man of faith and a man of prayer. Today, as we celebrate the advances our society has made against the blight of racism, and as we also recognize the distance we must still travel to become a fully just and good society, it’s fitting to offer a prayer for justice alongside with our commitment to work for justice. For God along can heal the rifts in our nation. Today, in honor of Martin Luther King, we fall on our knees and again ask God for his grace…
“God, our world needs justice. We acknowledge that all true goodness must come from you. We must obey and act, but you give the convictions and courage and strength to bring about the true changes needed. Today we thank you for the life of Martin Luther King Jr. We ask for your blessing in the cause he championed, the drive for racial justice in America. We thank you for progress already achieved, and we ask you to help us finish the work. Today, bring a new spirit of peace in our nation. And may your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
January 18, 2010
Weight: 202 lbs
Weight lost: -4
“All the fat belongs to the Lord,” Leviticus 3:16.
This morning the temperature on the thermostat outside the kitchen window reads 16 degrees. I wish I was in Kona today. As I stepped out to pick up the newspaper on the front step I felt the stark difference: my temperature is 98.5. Inside my body I am burning fuel, the food my body is chemically consuming. The calories in that food are the units of energy released to keep me going. I am, so to speak, on fire… And fat is the hottest form of heat…
In the Old Testament God required Israel to burn animal sacrifices as acts of worship. In particular they were to burn the fact of the animals. They were not to eat fat or fatty foods. The fat represented the richness of life, the best, and this belonged to God. This also, we know now, a wise dietary direction. Eating fat is an unhealthy choice. The fat was to be burned and give and God.
Okay. Today I will look at this Eucharist Diet as a way of worship. Paul writes in Romans 12 that we are to present our bodies as a “living sacrifice.” “Burning fat” is a way to fuel my love for God. God himself is a “fire” and when he comes he consumes what belongs to him. When he is present in me, in my body, mind and emotions, he “ignites” me and burns away the excess.
“God, I am designed to worship you. I am yours. My body belongs to you. Today I ask that you will ‘burn’ the fat with the fire of your presence. I give it to you. I will also limit my consumption of fat in the foods I eat. This too is a way of worship. God, burn up what belongs to you! Burn the fat!”
“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.
Let’s pray for Haiti at halftime…
The numbers look like… numbers, and nothing more. 100,000 is a symbol, cold and distant. Pictures and videos taken in Haiti this week help us put human faces to the dark tragedy. But even the best photojournalist cannot relay the full scope of this catastrophe. Today I will divert my attention from the “real world” and watch at least part of the NFL playoff game, Vikings vs. Cowboys. The game will be played in a stadium filled with 50,000 fans. I’ve been in that stadium and I know what 50,000 “feels” like. That number times two is now the low-end estimate of lives lost in the Haiti earthquake. When I watch the game today, I will use it as a trigger to pause and pray for the victims and their families. If you watch football today, I challenge you to do the same, and so send some REAL relief to the scene.
Only God knows the full scope of this dark day in the Caribbean, and only God knows what to do. He knows, and he cares. We sometimes call natural disasters, “acts of God.” But God does not cause such disaster. The world he’s created is a dangerous place. These things “happen.” Understanding God’s role here is a mystery I cannot fathom. What we do know is that God invites us to invite him to come at such moments and heal, and strengthen, and restore. That much we can know, though we may not understand much of anything of how, or why. When we pray for a situation like this I think it’s best to resist the temptation to ask, “why?” and instead simply ask…
Here’s one suggested prayer: Join me at halftime and pray for the victims in Haiti.
“God, be with the families who have suffered in Haiti earthquake. Be with the relief workers struggling to minimize the disaster. The with the children who are frightened and confused. This is not a good situation; but you promise to turn every situation to some good when you are invited to do so. Sitting safely at a distance it is easy for us to hide from his pain. But in this prayer we choose to do the thing that makes the most difference – we pray and ask for your intervention. Do a miracle – 100,000 miracles – today in the ravaged island of Haiti. In Jesus…”