Archive for Prayer

Hospice’s Two for One

two for oneBack when working as a hospice chaplain, one of the newer social worker suggested that we visit together. We shared various patients as part of their hospice “team.” I recall that two of those patients lived a long and winding drive from our office. Carpooling was a good use of resources. Additionally, the families wouldn’t be interrupted by multiple phone calls from multiple staff trying to schedule multiple visits.

Everyone loves more phones calls and visits, right?

On the way there, I said, “You know, this does defeat part of our impact.”

“What do you mean?” the social worker asked.

“We won’t get much of a chance for one-on-one encounters. A lot of what we do is based on being with the patient or family member. Having another person around changes that.”

“Oh,” was mostly what she replied. She was young. She was new. On we drove, excellent stewards of hospice resources. Read More →

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I Just Want Them to Be with Me

This newborn day is where I can dare to make a difference…

When serving as a chaplain for another hospice—like hopefully all chaplains in all hospices—I never emphasized my personal faith. But then and now Christianity influences me, even as I try to remain open to learning from the various religious traditions (or lack of religion) represented by the dying patients and families that have been part of my work.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said, “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16)

This verse from Luke is one of the places where Jesus broke the rule about not working on the Sabbath—he healed!—and was condemned by the religious authorities. Worse, he healed a . . . woman! Worse yet, the incident occurred in a synagogue. While I am a Christian pastor, I don’t think the implications of this passage are limited to Christianity or Judaism. Whether someone is Hindu, agnostic, or spends weekends worshipping a three iron while strolling along a favorite golf course, Jesus’ statement resonated with universal truth.

I’ve seen it in hospice. One of the suggestions I make to families is to let their loved one know—when it seems appropriate—that it will be all right for him or her to die. Read More →

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Loving Kindness

May I be at peace.

May my heart remain open.

May I realize the beauty of my own true nature.

May I be healed.

May I be a source of healing for this world.

May you be at peace.

May your heart remain open.

May you realize the beauty of your own true nature.

May you be healed.

May you be a source of healing for this world.

This is the loving-kindness prayer from Buddhist tradition. However, the moment I wrote “from Buddhist tradition,” I wondered if practicing Buddhists humbly smiled or openly grimaced. Is it possible some Buddhists would declare the May I be at peace… prayer was never in their faith tradition? Could it be made-up and willy-nilly tossed into Buddhism by others, or is it a corruption of an ancient expression watered down for modern listeners? I’m not Buddhist, nor a world religions expert, so I don’t know.

But I’m Christian and recall my sadness when discovering the “Prayer of St. Francis” (Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love…) first appeared in a French magazine published in 1912. In other words, likely not written by the Italian-born saint who lived from 1181 to 1226. Read More →

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