Tag: Prayer

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” The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and communities. The tempest lays bare […]

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Some of you may be experiencing a load of frustration with all the confusion, challenges, attacks on our freedom, and foolish decision-making which abound during this time of Covid-19. I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer in trying to help others amidst the chaos, helping those who are suffering by sending positive […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Its Effect is to Hold The World Together’

 

The whole neighborhood is home and the grills are going. I sniff the air like Yogi Bear and start pulling things out of the freezer to grill for the week. My cousin from Vegas called to check on us. She is 10 years older and, if there was a liberal chart, she would fall off. We have been closer in touch since the passing of her sister, my other cousin, 15 years older, a couple of years ago. We don’t breach politics. We skirted the issue when she revealed her “psychotic event” when Trump was elected – sigh. So we keep it light. I love the sound of her melodic voice that reminds me of childhood.

She called yesterday and in our five-minute call, as I said we were on our way to pick up food, lamented that Las Vegas is a ghost town. It thrives on crowds — the Strip, gambling, sports events, concerts, conventions — now all gone. Then she suddenly began to rail on Trump, and how his “slow” response to the virus caused our current situation. I asked what about all the other world leaders and their responses? She said, but we are the greatest country, and he dismantled Obama’s emergency response team! I won’t go there but I dismissed it with, “Well, glad you are all ok, and can I call you back?” I don’t feel like calling her back.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cryptic Phone Message is No April Fools

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida issued a stay-at-home order that will go into effect Friday night at midnight. Our roads and byways are already empty, except for grocery shoppers and local labor that is still on job sites (i.e., painters, carpenters, etc.). Restaurants are closed – take-out only if they can. So a few minutes ago, a solemn and serious message came over our landline from our local authorities stating the new order. They said our local sheriff’s office will be making more clarifications available and take questions and answers at a certain time tomorrow. We get messages like this when an impending hurricane is approaching, or other weather hazards like extreme heat, where we are asked to conserve energy. But nothing like this.

I watched on our local PBS station the story of the 1918 Flu — how it started, escalated, the tolls. It was appalling and I couldn’t finish watching it. I was trying to understand how worldwide epidemics begin and how they take the world by storm. It’s a different world since 1918. Even with SARS, Bird Flu, and Swine Flu, the swiftness of this terrible scourge across the world is nothing like we have ever experienced. I’m scared and still working. So is my husband.

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See the two standards, their standard bearers, and the followers of each standard. First, look to the prominent place where the devil (the adversary) is, and see his followers. His followers possess good health, the pleasure of society, the praise of others, wealth, even fun! Then look to the lowly place where Jesus is and […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Moment in Time: My First Orthodox Jewish Wedding

 

It was a heart-filling experience, one that will become an indelible memory in my budding Jewish experience. I attended the wedding of iWe and Mrs. iWe’s son #2 and his bride.

I was a bit nervous about attending, fighting off a low-level anxiety about potentially “doing the wrong thing.” A few days before the wedding, however, I realized how silly and self-centered my concerns were. I was not attending this blessed occasion to make some kind of impression on those who were there; I was attending to contribute joy (simcha), offer blessings and goodwill with everyone else for the bride and groom. Holding that wish in my heart was the only mission I needed, and the one that guided me through the day.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Prayers Do You Offer When Catastrophe Looms?

 

This morning, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my many friends in Florida. Off the top of my head (and forgive me if I’ve left you out), I can identify @frontseatcatt, @formerlawprof, @jamesgawron, @samuelblock, @cm, @bossmongo, @eb, @theotherdiane, @kevincreighton, @barkhaherman, and I know there are many others. Feel free to use this post to let us know where you are.

Due to the impending hurricane, I’m inclined to pray for all of these folks, for those who have already been hit in the islands, and for those who may be hit outside of Florida. But I realized that prayer is an odd thing: outside of the written prayers, just what can or should I pray for?

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Can one know God? Can one experience God? Saint Gregory Palamas, an ascetic monk, priest, and later Archbishop of Thessalonica asked these very questions. His answers, based on centuries of understanding and experience, became the foundation of the final major dogmatic development in Orthodox Theology. For this, St. Gregory is commemorated on the second Sunday […]

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Greetings, dear Ricochetti and hey there, prayer partners! The Lenten season of reflection and preparation for Easter (for those observing it) is upon us. Along with the cultivation of good, possibly new physical habits, might we consider an attitudinal one, as well? This could include any one or all of the following: More

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I saw a quote on Twitter a few weeks ago that got me thinking. I am working from memory here so I don’t remember who said it or the exact wording, but the main point was this: I have better teaching and music on my phone than you have in your church, so if you […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Does It Mean to Pray for Others?

 

Over the last few years, many of us have expressed our desire to pray for others who have been the victims of savagery, storms, illness and other kinds of suffering. There are times when we can do other things—make donations, help make repairs, offer words of comfort. It occurred to me, though, how much I rely on praying for others as a way to not only offer solace to them, but as a way to relate to G-d and comfort myself. And yet at one time, I didn’t know what praying for others meant.

I grew up in a barely Jewish family that didn’t speak of prayer or of G-d. We did attend High Holiday Services and decorated for Chanukah. I was even sent to Hebrew and Sunday schools. But even there I don’t remember talking about prayer. At services, of course, there were many prayers to recite; when I returned to Judaism, I was amazed at the number of prayers I remembered just from my exposure to them as a child at synagogue. But they were simply verses I recited, rather than my relating to them in a spiritual way.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Book by a Better Guerra

 

I’m going to take a moment to brag on my wife, Shannon Guerra. She just released her second book, Oh My Soul: Encountering God in Honest Unconventional (and Sometimes Messy) Prayer, and it’s doing much better than my book. Of course, she is a much better writer, and she’s been doing it longer. The title says it all, but let me also add that it’s ridiculously funny, while being deeply insightful. I’m incredibly proud of my girl.

An excerpt to prove I do show up in her writing once in a while:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Multi-Sensory Prayers, Witchcraft, and the Mirror of Protection

 

I see another story about witches acting against the Trump Administration today, specifically planning to “hex” Brett Kavanaugh publicly on October 20. There have been several other such stories since Trump got elected in November of 2016. I would like to suggest doing a bit of counter-magic, although I would use a very different term for it: prayer.

Ricochet is an interesting place. We have many religious folks. We have many hard-headed atheists and some agnostics, many of whom are engineers. We also have others who have had a wide range of experiences. One of our members was once a 900-number telephone psychic, for instance. I’m not sure how many here have ever studied any forms of traditional magic beyond the “I read Harry Potter” level. Trying to explain why this is important in a way or ways that make sense for everyone on Ricochet, across our vast array of backgrounds and knowledge sets, is not easy, but I’m going to give it a go.

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Things look pretty good when you’re up 34-7. A point differential that wide means you’ve been thoroughly dominating your opponent. When you find yourself in that satisfying place, there are a couple of strategies that can follow. One strategy is to pump the brakes. This is not a bad strategy. Sometimes the vast success means […]

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There are many things that form the mountains in our lives; grief, worry, fear, desolation, disease, pain and anger are just a few of these things. Sometimes we stand at the base of the mountain before us and feel the anguish of defeat, because the mountain stands in the way of our purpose. Some would […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Power of Words

 

No one knew much about Herschel. He was a shabby older man with long untidy grey hair and beard, who always carried a stout pole and walked with a pronounced limp. He lived in one of the cheap hotels somewhere downtown, and he would come to the House of Love and Prayer whenever Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was around. Most people found him rather annoying, but he was accepted as yet another of our eccentrics.

Sometime in the 1970s, American television showed a film made by an Israeli kibbutznik about the longing for peace after the Yom Kippur War. The opening shot was of a Jewish festival in Golden Gate Park, and there, as that scene closed, was Herschel, in an old Army jacket with a shoulder patch of Israeli and American flags, dancing in a kind of awkward stomp.

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What is the use of formal prayers? Why not just tell God whatever happens to be on your mind? Resumes provide some answers to those questions. Imagine applying for a job instead by writing an impromptu letter. Hey, it could work. I landed more than one job by conversation with managers before a single form was […]

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This is a difficult post for me to write, so please be patient with me. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I must ask for your prayers and help. For those who read my post, What it Means to Be a Caretaker, you know I gave my time and efforts to taking care of […]

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