Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Except I be moved with compassion

There is a song I learned several years ago, when I used to serve with the Salvation Army that was called, "Except I be moved with compassion." The chorus of the song went like this, "Except I am moved with compassion, how dwelleth thy Spirit in me? In word and in deed burning love is my need; I know I can find this in thee."

This song was sung as a call to give our lives for the benefit and blessing of others in this world. Compassion can help us to choose to serve God with our gifts and abilities. Compassion is an active thing. It is something that can be done as we stop to listen, take time to hear and take action to serve others. Compassion is also something that we really have to receive to truly understand and replicate in the lives of others. Webster's definition of "Compassion" as : sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it . As I think back to the many times I have experienced compassion, I'm always amazed at it's and the giver's ability to lighten the burden that may be weighing in my life. This week in our Shared Lutheran Book Group our topic is, "Compassion." According to the book, The Seven Spiritual gifts of waiting, Compassion has a great deal to teach us.

"Compassion teaches us to receive, allows us to be seen for who we really are, helps us gather strength from others, offers us hope. (pgs 50,52,53,55 and 57 of TSSGOW)"
Psalm 139 shares more about God's compassion for humanity...
" Where can I go then from your Spirit?
where can I flea from your presence?
If I climb up to heave, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me
and your right hand hold me fast."

" When we enter a critical waiting period - whether it's waiting for life-changing news, such as a word about a new job, or a potentially life-threatening report, such as a medical test result - we enter a new territory. While it may initially appear as a dry desert, it can be as surprising as a desert coming into spring bloom, with subtle gifts and vibrant signs of life. As we walk the path of waiting, compassion sprouts around us, filled with possibilities of hope. Hope changes the landscape from barren to blossoming. Hope gives us something to hold on to. Hope preserves the future. Waiting teaches us the value of hope. ( Pg. 59 TSSGOW)"

Ponder these questions on compassion:

How would you define the word "Compassion"?
How have you received compassion from someone else?
How have you been able to be gracefully compassionate to others?
When has hope been a gift in your life and how might you offer that gift of hope to someone this week?

Compassion moves us into a space of hope - allow compassion to move your heart to the space God is calling and know that God is always with you there.

To find a copy of this book, click here.

This book group meets at Immanuel Lutheran Church Wednesdays at noon and Thursdays at 6:30pm. If you would like to get and idea of what we are discussing or would like to participate in the online discussion for the book "Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting", you can find them on the Facebook Group: Holy Conversations.