PERSPECTIVES from the Parish Nurse
Kaye Wothe, Parish Nurse
Be Still, My Heart
In this month of Valentine’s Day there are hearts on every end cap and in every isle it seems as we seek to tell our loved ones of our enduring love for each of them. I have a tradition of making my kids and husband home made Valentine’s. I start before the 14th gathering simple art supplies and ideas of how I will express to them each the many things I love about them as individuals. It feels like I spend much of the rest of the year nagging (encouraging), criticizing (coaching), and hounding (reminding) them to do (or not to do things) that are seemingly important to their healthy development into adults; so this project in mid-winter is refreshing in many ways. It makes me ponder, to “marinate” in thoughts, to stop, focus, and be positive with my love for them.
During Lent our time often becomes more prayer focused. Prayer has us think, ponder, pour out our hearts for forgiveness, to “marinate” in thoughts that are nagging us, to wonder, to stop, focus, and remind ourselves of who we are in relationship with God.
A few years ago the ELCA produced a series called “Book of Faith.” These books are to help us enter into scripture more readily. There are “Book of Faith” titles for Lent and Advent. I have been previewing one by Henry French (Book of Faith: Lenten Journey; The Lord’s Prayer). It walks you through a closer look at the Lord’s Prayer each day. You can spend 5 minutes or an hour each day, as you desire and are able. It is nice way to gain a new, deeper LOVE for a prayer we can say without thinking, yet is such a powerful part of our journey.
I am reminded strongly of this when I visit those with memory loss. It seems no matter how severe their memory loss, they still can say the Lord’s Prayer by HEART with me (and sing many old familiar hymns).
The Lord’s Prayer is law and gospel. It reminds us of how sinful the world is, accuses and judges us... and then in true gospel form its words comfort and save us. In doing this it helps us to know God, which is why we enter into scripture to begin with. It reminds us of Luke 11:1, where the disciples ask Him (for all of us), “Lord, teach us to pray.” It reminds us of the many times in scripture where Jesus goes to a quiet place to pray. It is the “comfort food” of the dark winter days and it is the thankful words of the spring daylight as we long for resurrection. It reflects the journey of a life of faith and a community of faith. Won’t you join us in prayer these 40 days?
(The “Book of Faith” mentioned, as well as others, focused on Lent and other church seasons, can be purchased online or ordered through a bookstore for $9.99 or purchased on electronic books for $7.99.)