It might well be that the greatest threat to human survival now confronting us is not the loss of energy or the increase of pollution, but the loss of compassion. We are confronted daily with the pain of human tragedy—the breakup of a family or the sunken face of a starving child—to such an extent that we soon learn to turn off what we see. In order to cope with our feelings of helplessness, we teach ourselves how not to feel. The tragedy in this response, which is probably more widespread than we dare believe, is that we also deaden our capacity for love. For Christians, the cross stands as an ever-present reminder that love and suffering are two sides of the same coin.
—James C. Fenhagen, in Compassion: Thoughts on Cultivating a Good Heart, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson (Fresh Air Books, 2008)
When faced with suffering, what enables you to stay connected to compassion? Join the conversation.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
—Isaiah 30:18 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
With my eyes, I choose to see with compassion. With my hands, I choose to give and touch with compassion. With my feet, I choose to go where I can deliver compassion. With my heart I choose to love with great compassion.
(Pause for a minute of silence and imagine how you can show compassion today.)
The Upper Room’s RESILIENCE: Healing Practices for Mind, Body, and Spirit is just around the corner, September 30-October 2, 2021. This online event will be a time of reflection and interaction, and an introduction to spiritual tools that you can use in your own healing journey or the healing journey through which you lead others. Register today.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.