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Invitation to Compassion

Today’s Reflection

[I HAVE] COME to understand that the heart of Jesus’ invitation to love is an invitation to compassion—to live compassionately. We’ll soon explore this notion at some length, but for now it’s important to note that in the Christian scriptures and in Christian history, love is defined largely in terms of compassion. That’s a relief to me. I confess I’ve never found it easy to define love. It’s so very big. I can call it agape or say it’s some complex mash-up of romantic, platonic, and unconditional stuff, but in the end, a precise definition of love eludes me. Love simply covers too much territory.

Compassion, though, gives me a handle on the massive umbrella that is love. According to Christian understandings, compassion refers to the concrete ways love (divine and human) is expressed. Compassion grounds love in the world we know.

—Andrew Dreitcer, Living Compassion: Loving Like Jesus (Upper Room Books, 2017)

Today’s Question

What does “living compassionately” mean to you?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
—Colossians 3:12 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Lord, make me an instrument of your compassion.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Reverend Junius B. Dotson was preaching at a funeral when suddenly he realized he wasn’t going to make it through the service. The next thing he knew, he was in an ambulance on the way to the ER, where he was diagnosed with extreme exhaustion. Read more about his Soul Reset.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 16, 2019, 5:20 am

    Living compassionately simply putting yourself in the person’s shoes and be kind to the person.

    Blessings!

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling September 19, 2019, 10:30 am

      Living compassionately is simply…

  • robert moeller September 16, 2019, 6:16 am

    I’d define “living compassionately” as caring for the needs of others.

    Everyday there are needs to be met. Some are more imminent than others, I can’t fulfill them all, but I try to do something every day.

    There are many ways to help needs, prayer is one of them. The UR family, my church family, friends and family, and anyone I meet or see needing help are in my thoughts and prayers.

    God’s peace be with you.

  • Karen September 16, 2019, 6:53 am

    Please pray for the success of my back surgery this afternoon. Thank you.

  • Julie September 16, 2019, 8:26 am

    Compassion is caring for the needs of others and caring about others. At its core, in order to have compassion we must feel for others, experience their pain, albeit not perfectly as we are not the one living the pain.
    Prayers for Karen may her back surgery be successful and may she recover quickly.
    Prayers for physical healing for Andrea, Connie, Erich, Marcy and Robert.
    Prayers for emotional healing for Connie, Jill, Larry and Lou.
    Prayers especially for Jill and Larry as the anniversary looms with memories and emotions. May the majority be positive. Maybe Larry can begin a new way to celebrat the day.
    Prayers for April, BJ, Betsy, and Mary and their families.
    Megan and I attended a “The Lion King” show yesterday. In Pittsburgh we are blessed to be a favorite stop for many Broadway productions. This show was spectacular. We saw it once before when Megan was very young, it was nice to revisit this show now that Megan can appreciate the pageantry more.
    Prior to the show we had breakfast at our normal spot and a former employee I had become friends with visited with us. He came in to catch up and is going to try to make it each Sunday we are there.
    Prayers, blessings, warm hugs and thank you dear UR family

  • David Bedunah September 16, 2019, 5:10 pm

    Compassion means “sharing in”.
    Sharing the joys and the pains. Being moved as if it was happening to you. Feeling that thrill of sharing yourself with another and letting another share themselves with you. Crying with each other, laughing with each other. Feeling as if it is your joy or pain.
    Compassion is being there.

  • Anonymous September 17, 2019, 12:05 am

    Larry Eugene Dyer (Indiana} Love is more inclusive spiritually. Compassion is an emotion. Love is relationship to spiritual being. For some believers the human body is a personal gift from a spiritual realm beyond physical existence. The gift of life is an expression of love. Our task is to share, show, spread, receive, and live LOVE as we go. We are all missionaries. As we go we grow spiritually honoring the gift of life we have been given.

  • Anonymous September 17, 2019, 12:20 am

    Glitch/ Larry Eugene Dyer ( Indiana USA ) Please remember Kathee De Lawter as she faces complicated vision. Also my self as I overcome food addiction….also for PEACE IN THE WORLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jill September 17, 2019, 3:20 am

    To live compassionately, one must see the other with great concern, attempting to address needs when possible. To be willing to dive in, get messy and be with the person in the situation.
    I thank all of you for your prayers for my dad. He most definitely will get through today, albeit with a heavy heart. I hope the memories, while producing tears, will give him comfort in that the union he shared with mom was so special. We had lots of good conversation Sunday, while golfing. I am grateful we can speak openly and that he doesn’t attempt to hide his struggles from me.
    Father God – may You surround my dad with Your comfort today. I know You count His tears and You sustain Him. Thank You for bring Him safely this far.

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