Day 345 | Saturday, 27 February 2021
This past week we surpassed over 500,000 deaths in our country due to COVID-19. I so appreciated that our President and Vice President and their spouses took some time at the White House the other evening for a brief candlelight vigil and prayer time to help us remember these souls who have died. It certainly was an act of compassion.
I have been reading a book that was given to me as a gift, titled “The Book of Joy”. It is a book based on a dialogue between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu written by Douglas Abrams. I want to share some of the quotes from the book on compassion.
The word compassion literally means ‘suffering with.’ Not all people are compassionate or empathetic in their lives. I believe that those who are compassionate are people who are not self- centered. “Too much self-centered thinking is the source of suffering. A compassionate concern for others well-being is the source of happiness.” page 47 Dalai Lama
“When you become so inward looking, so self-regarding, you are going to end up a shriveled human being.” Page 268 “The Book of Joy” Archbishop Tutu
“This being on earth is a time for us to learn to be good, to learn to be more loving, to learn to be more compassionate. And you learn, not theoretically. You learn when something happens that tests you.” P 91-92 Tutu
“Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved. Compassion is what connects the feeling of empathy to acts of kindness, generosity, and other special expressions of altruistic tendencies.” P 252 Jinpa
“We fear compassion because we are afraid of experiencing the suffering, the vulnerability, and the helplessness that can come with having an open heart.” P 259
“Compassion and generosity are not just lofty virtues- they are at the center of our humanity, what makes our lives joyful and meaningful.” P 266
“You need other people to be human.” P 270
"When you show compassion, when you show caring, when you show love to others, do things for others, in a wonderful way you have a deep joy that you can get in no other way.” P 293
Jesus was very compassionate and certainly took on the suffering of those around him and for all of us.
Matthew 9:36 36 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34 34 When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
Romans 9:1515 He says to Moses, I’ll have mercy on whomever I choose to have mercy, and I’ll show compassion to whomever I choose to show compassion. (Exodus 33:19)
Our gracious God, please help us be compassionate in our lives so that we might take on the suffering of others as best as possible. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen
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Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus