Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Joel 2:12-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain offering and a drink offering
for the Lord, your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sanctify a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation;
assemble the aged;
gather the children,
even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her canopy.
Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and do not make your heritage a mockery,
a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
In spirit, Joel is much like the lament Psalms. Joel laments over the destruction of war that is like a plague of locusts devouring the land
and its people. Joel calls for the people of God to return with fasting and weeping. Promising that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13). The Contemporary English Version translates this message from God as “I am merciful, kind, and caring.” I wrote the kindness blessing below to express this gift of God’s kindness.
May kindness be in our thoughts, making them good and loving.
May kindness be in our eyes,
leading us to see what is just in life.
May kindness be in our hands and feet
so that we may be of service to others.
May kindness be in our whole being –
Making us one with God, one with all people,
and one with the universe.
I don’t know how to define kindness,
but I know for sure when I feel it.
Kindness is the language
known around the world.
Some have objected—
But kindness is simply
not in a lot of the Bible!
I would readily admit this.
War and vengeance is a big theme.
All the more reason—
We need to gather
all the persons, words, and stories
that show kindness;
and use them as a prism for reading the whole Bible
and all of our life experiences.
Kindness is a beautiful
stain glass window
that gathers the light of heaven
and warms all in its glow.
(A shorter version of this kindness prayer was first published in my book, A Relational Hermeneutic of Kindness. This book will also help you see the importance of interpreting the Bible and all of life through the lens of kindness).
I pray that God and Jesus will be kind to all of you, and all of you to one another.
Go with God!