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Caregiving as Presence

Today’s Reflection

HOW DO YOU AND I, beloved daughters and sons of God, become more open to the world of those who are broken and powerless? How, with all we have to do, can we enter with them into a more human relationship? Caring as God’s beloved children is making the effort to be present to, listen to, and affectionately embrace a weaker brother or sister who may have been frightened by harsh comments, examined by hostile hands, or ignored by deaf ears. We do this even when we can do nothing to change the situation. This is the crux of our challenge. Whether or not we have chosen caregiving as our profession, we do profess that caring is first of all about presence to a beloved brother or sister who at this moment feels powerless. Right here, we accept in ourselves that we are not someone who takes the pain away but rather someone who is willing to share it.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab
A Spirituality of Caregiving: The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series (Upper Room Books, 2011)

Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you know someone who would benefit from your willingness to share his or her load?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
—Romans 10:13 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Join our online community for the eCourse edition of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Rick Reule August 19, 2019, 6:36 am

    GOD has said to look for HIM everywhere, in ALL things. Every person we meet each day IS GODS’ reflection, HIS image, just bursting inside to share a smile, joy, love, or excitement.
    But SO many are grieving a loss of SOME KIND, and don’t necessarily want advice, we just need to UNLOAD the pain, give away some of the tremendous weight we are carrying, and know that we are not alone. Where is GOD when grief happens? In front of us or beside us or behind us in that stranger who just asked you how you are feeling today, and truly meant it!
    So, JESUS and I would like to know:
    How ARE you today?

    • robert moeller August 19, 2019, 9:18 am

      Yes, Rick! Very well said and how true. Thank you.

  • Gail August 19, 2019, 7:42 am

    Thanks for your pointed question and the observation that each person we encounter is in God’s image.

  • Andrea August 19, 2019, 8:08 am

    A good reminder of the dignity and spark of God in everyone. I strive to share the load with my husband, daughter, SIL, grandson, friends, neighbors. I am thankful for renewed connections to dear friends from high school and the wonderful evening we shared on Saturday, dinner out and an Agatha Christie play. I have three more guests coming into town this Friday. I am tired and need to boost my energy level. I have been juggling medications with my new primary doctor and I am so aware I am older. I am grateful for the beauty of each day, and this summer, I am taken by the northern oriole I see from my bedroom window when I sit and write on my laptop. It flits in and out of the crown of an oak tree very close to the house. For the beauty of the earth…

    Prayers for dear UR friends. I hold you all in my heart. Wishing all a blessed day.

    • Julie August 19, 2019, 8:17 am

      Prayers Andrea, for your health concerns. Prayers for renewed energy to enjoy your guests.

  • Julie August 19, 2019, 8:14 am

    I always try to remember that we are all God’s beloved child. It is difficult with some. I tend to deflect the question Rick asked. I do not like to burden others by sharing my struggles. Some friends have remarked that they wish I would share with them.
    Megan and I went to a Renaissance festival yesterday. Unfortunately we were only there about an hour when a severe thunder storm struck. Usually such storms are short lived, but this lasted quite sometime and when it slowed we made our way to the parking lot. As we were leaving another storm was coming. The festivsl is 1.5 hours away so it took longer to get there and home again than we had there. We did get to see two of the attractions we enjoy and walked around the booths. Make mud pies from mud.
    Prayers for Mary, may she shed God’s light into her world.
    Prayers for Jill and her preparations for a new school year.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be well.
    Prayers for Robert and Erich, may Erich soon find a job he likes.
    Prayers for Lou and her daughter, may her daughter thrive in collage.
    Prayers, blessings, warm hugs and thank you dear UR family

  • robert moeller August 19, 2019, 9:13 am

    Yes, there are many people who could use some help with their load. Hopefully I will see a new person this week.

    Doris will see a second surgeon this week. Hope Anneliese and Meesook are able to receive treatments that help them soon. Baby Finn is doing well after his first open heart surgery, three days after being born. A spell of warm humid weather has made a set back for Erich. Saw Willa and Oona on FaceTime yesterday. Delicious chowder yesterday after church and egg drop soup with Korean dumplings for supper. Had the first microwave popcorn I’ve eaten in years last night. Hope to see an expert on the Grand Trunk New England Lines railroad this week.

    Prayers for Marcy and her helper Mary, Julie and Megan, Betsy, Kelsey, and Harrison, Andrea and Lowell, Andrea;s daughter and grandson, Connie and her husband, Lou and her children, Edy and her son, retired pastors, teachers and students returning to school, Jill, Larry, and Becky, and the needs and concerns of the UR family. Prayers to end gun violence, resolve issues in the UMC, and bring peace, hope, and resolution to the immi
    grants coming to the US. May they be treated humanely, fairly, as our neighbors. Thank You, Lord.

  • Lou August 19, 2019, 1:09 pm

    Here in NYC with my daughter there are so many that I see that need a kind word, a smile, a dollar- it is a tough city with wealthy alongside the very poor. It is very fast paced and I am struggling to learn the lay of the land as I try to support my child. So far she seems to be adjusting to roommates and the pace of the city. There is excitement mixed with the fear of the unknown. We will say goodbye tomorrow and I will head back home- I’ve done it with two others – the last seems hardest – although if I recall the first was hard too. And the second. Many mothers at back to school time are happy to have their kids back in school. I always cried on back to school day- because I enjoyed them so much during the summer…Same now – I will miss this one who has been a fun companion – always ready for an adventure. Now I will leave her to adventure on her own and I will need to revise my life and adventure on my own as well.
    Thank you all for your prayers.
    Prayers for all of the UR faithful and for all of the students and teachers and parents adjusting to the new school year everywhere.
    God’s peace hope and love.

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