VIOLENCE AND AWARENESS LESSONS LEARNED FROM MY FATHER

A Tribute to John Isaacs on Father’s Day 2020

John Isaacs and Camille Isaacs Morell

Six years ago, I had my last conversation with my Dad.  He slept his way into eternity two weeks later, having the final chapter of his life on this earth ended by Alzheimer’s disease.

Father’s Day brings back many memories of our long conversations throughout every stage of my life.  His wisdom simply expressed and explained continues to serve me well.

Violence and awareness

“Violence begets violence,” he would say when things were getting out of hand in my spats with my older sister.  As an educator, he would lecture my sister and me about the virtues of talking things out to clear up misunderstandings.

As an adult, whenever I mentioned to my father that I was not able to clear up misunderstandings with other people through the ‘talk things out’ approach, he would always say, “We are all acting at our level of awareness.”  “We cannot understand what we do not know or what we are not aware of.  The ‘we’ is two-sided, understanding must work both ways.”

Violence begets violence.

We are all acting at our level of awareness.

The connection between Daddy’s two maxims was patently evident in Nelson Mandela’s biography Long Walk to Freedom.

Nelson Mandela never intended for violence to be the pathway to racial equality.  Those who opposed racial equality used violence to enforce the system of apartheid.   Mr. Mandela said, “The armed struggle was forced on us by the government.”  He was also quoted as saying that “Armed action would continue as a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid.”

In 1960, Mr. Mandela was jailed because he refused to renounce violence as an option to achieve racial equality with a government that had no interest in dialogue or negotiations with Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).   Freedom came more than twenty-six years later, only when the South African government understood that apartheid was wrong, unsustainable and had to be dismantled.

The current violent protests throughout the USA and the world are a response to the continuing physical and psychosocial brutalization experienced by Black people in the USA and in other parts of the world.

The threats to use military-type force to quash the protests, to arrest and apply the full weight of the law against protesters, are responses that aim to protect the public, but only temporarily delay the next round of race riots and protests.

What is missing in all of this is the political will to build the collective awareness and understanding of the reasons why the USA and other countries, including Canada, are caught up in a spiral of sporadic outbursts of anti-racism rage and sometimes violent protests.

Some of us know that racism persists. Others among us question whether racism exists at all. Most of us cannot agree on a common definition of ‘systemic racism’ and ‘White privilege.’  Conversations on these topics end up being emotionally-charged and mentally draining, causing deep-seated feelings of fear, anger, and resentment to fester.

We will never eradicate racism until we commit to deepening our collective awareness of why racism exists and what we need to do about it.

So where do we go from here?

Let us start by addressing stereotypes.

Stereotypes are perpetuated through images and impressions reinforced in various media.

Courageous dialogues are needed, in fact required, so that we all identify stereotypical images that are offensive to Black people.  The aim is to build the understanding why these images are offensive and how they contribute to negative perceptions of Black people by non-Blacks.  This understanding could help explain how stereotypes are consciously and unconsciously ingrained and contribute to racially motivated discrimination.

Quaker Oats has announced that it will retire its 130 year-old Aunt Jemima image.  Quaker, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, said removing the image and name is part of an effort by the company “to make progress toward racial equality.”

“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Quaker Oats said, adding that the move is an effort “toward progress on racial equality.”

The image of Aunt Jemima, who was originally pictured as a minstrel character, was changed over time.  In recent years Quaker removed the “mammy” kerchief from the character to blunt growing criticism that the brand perpetuated a racist stereotype that dated to the days of slavery.

Using the image representing a stereotype of my oppressed ancestors for marketing purposes is personally very offensive to me and to others who share my heritage.

I will go as far as saying that stereotypical images such as Aunt Jemima, are at the root of the experiences of Black professional women who have far too often been mistakenly assumed to be members of ancillary staff by non-Black persons, particularly in the corporate world.

The same is true in other institutions.  Many talented professional Black women are often asked to take on ‘kitchen duty’ in our churches and community groups.

Not that there is anything wrong with being an ancillary worker or doing kitchen duty, but society benefits from the best use of the talents of its members, regardless of their race.

Hopeful signs of progress

An increasing number of corporate entities are taking a long, hard look at how they may be contributing to racism.  This is a very promising sign.  If we can emerge from this period of angst and violence with the resolve to raise our collective awareness of the prevalence and persistence of racism, we will be well on our way to building a better world.

I miss you Dad

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  That’s why glory matters.

www.camilleisaacsmorell.com

@glorymatters

Why we need to hear Derek Chauvin’s side of the story

George Floyd

After watching the 9-minute video clip of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin using his knee to press the last breath out of George Floyd, we need to hear Chauvin’s side of the story.

I swore as I angrily smashed my tablet against my chair and screamed in pain watching Chauvin’s brutality and the indifference of his fellow police officer as George Floyd suffered and died defenselessly.

After seeing the video, the thought of Derek Chauvin being strapped to an electric chair and blasted to his death seemed to me to be the only way to get justice for George Floyd.

To be transparent, as an active participant in the prison chaplaincy in Québec, I do not believe in the death penalty.  I believe in restorative justice – requiring offenders to be accountable for their actions through dialogue and reconciliation with their victims and the community at large.

In the aftermath of my feelings of anger and revenge, I have had some time to reflect and I have come full circle.  I still passionately believe that restorative justice will move us forward to a better world.

I certainly hope that Derek Chauvin is punished to the full extent of the law.  He and persons of his ilk must be locked away.

That said, we need to listen to the voices of evil, even those of Derek Chauvin and his obsequious accomplices.  This is how we can understand why evil behaviour emerges from stereotyping and prejudice.  This understanding offers us the possibility to address and eradicate racism.

As tragic as it is, through this incident, George Floyd has taught the world that there is an enormous amount of work that must be done to establish justice and eradicate the pernicious, malignant disease of racism.

Many lessons are being learned about the challenges, threats and dangers that Black people live with every day.  Many victims of racism and police brutality are now telling their stories, and they are being heard.

Racism has emerged from ignorance and fear that are rooted in the legacy of slavery of Black people.  Racism thrives on the legacy of slavery that has conferred continuing economic power and privilege mainly on White people. Most of us – Black and non-Black people – understand this and show our abhorrence of racial injustice.

Laws have been passed to enshrine racial equality. Prayers are said pleading divine intervention to stop racism and enable us to create a harmonious world.  Commemorative days, rallies, projects, and various activities are held – all of this, to mitigate and eradicate racism.

So why are we still struggling with racial profiling, affirmative action, systemic racism, injustice, and police brutality?

As long as we curse out the racists, punish them occasionally and continue to accept politically correct behavior from those who are too scared to confront their own hidden prejudices, we will never eradicate racism.  Those who perpetuate racism consciously and unconsciously, need to know why racism is wrong and unjustified.

We need to deepen our collective understanding of the fears, beliefs, and responses of people who use the authority entrusted to them to abuse those who are defenseless and vulnerable, particularly those of the Black race.  These “people” include employers, landlords, judges, teachers, corporate executives, politicians, priests, pastors, healthcare workers and many more of us.

This is why Derek Chauvin needs to tell his side of the story, by answering the following questions.

  • What was going through his mind when he first saw George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, alleged to have used a counterfeit twenty dollar bill?
  • Was he acting out of fear based on a stereotypical belief that Black men are violent?
  • Would his approach have been different if he were apprehending a White person or a woman?
  • And if he felt fear, why did he continue to use undue force to torture a defenseless, Black man who he restrained?
  • Did his police uniform and gun make him feel shielded from the consequences of his actions?
  • What was it that emboldened him to continue, even though he was being filmed by persons pleading for mercy, in broad daylight on a busy thoroughfare?
  • Did the fact that there was no objection from his fellow police officer, a member of a visible minority group, make him think that it was okay to act with impunity?
  • Was he so confident that his Police Chief would defend his actions?

Many of us who have been victims of racism may already know or assume that we know the answers to these questions.  But we need to know what goes through the mind of a White police officer when he or she sees a Black person.

The outrage of the George Floyd tragedy will only be appeased for a while if a guilty verdict is rendered.

Racists need more than their day in court.

If as a human race we do not take the time to understand why racism persists, the worldwide outrage will fester and explode again.  We can only eradicate the evil of racism by educating people and helping them to rid themselves of the deep seated reasons why they believe what they believe.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion.  People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

– Nelson Mandela

 

www.camilleisaacsmorell.com

@glorymatters

SOLVING THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS TOGETHER IS POSSIBLE

We already know what we need to do

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If we look at nature, we see the unending abundance and bounty that surrounds us.  All nature, and in fact, the entire universe, provide us with a perpetual reminder that there is enough, and more, for all of us.

We have enough bounty to share this world’s goods for the greater good of all!

We have enough understanding and intelligence to create the conditions for justice, equality, and respect for human dignity to thrive.

The flowing waters of a stream remind us that there is no lack in the universe.

Throughout history, human beings have done remarkable things.  That we’ve been able to land a human being on the moon, find cures for deadly diseases, abolish slavery and create machines that manage and compute complex data, all confirm that human beings have the capacity and the will to create a better world.

Amid the disruptions of covid-19 and racism, we have the answers we need to make things right.

There exists enough justice and enough peace in the conscience and consciousness of our human race.  Let us go within and use the innate wisdom and intelligence we all have to define the solutions to make things right.  Yes, we can!

Let us reflect on our capacity to create a better world, and courageously step forward to make this a reality.

Let us send positive thoughts to those who are calling for justice and equality.  More importantly, let us consider the ways in which we can work for justice … for the underpaid healthcare worker on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis… for the Black men and women who are stereotyped, marginalized and murdered… for all people, everywhere.

 

 

 

Let’s Walk together for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer's 2020

As you know, through my work at the Alzheimer’s Society of Montreal, I am dedicated to the on-going efforts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and to support persons living with the disease, their caregivers, families and health professionals.  

The Covid-19 crisis has brought to light the desperate need to care for our senior citizens, particularly those who are in long-term care residences.  Most people want to keep their loved ones, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions at home.

The Alzheimer Society of Montreal is part of the solution.

The Society is at the forefront, providing community-based services to persons living with the disease, their caregivers, families and health professionals.  We are only able to do this through the generous support of the public and some support from Government subventions.

Although the Alzheimer Society of Montreal has had to close our offices because of the Covid-19 crisis, our team has found creative ways to continue offering support and information to our clients and the public.  For example, between March 14 and May 11,

  • Our intake and referrals service has supported 186 clients remotely, primarily by phone, providing over 365 hours of consultation and counselling.
  • Over 70 families have been contacted every week by our respite and stimulation coordinators and their workers to provide counsel and activity support.
  • 38 support group meetings for caregivers, have taken place. 3 weekly groups and 8 monthly support groups are currently taking place.  In fact we have increased the frequency of the meetings to ensure that caregivers receive the extra support they need at this challenging time.
  • There have been nearly 3,000 views of the weekly mini conferences presented on Facebook Live on subjects that benefit caregivers and people living with dementia who are currently at home.
  • Our team of qualified professionals provides support and advice to health care professionals who are assisting people living with dementia and caregivers in difficult situations. They can contact us by phone and through a special email address.

As you can see, the Society is contributing to the well-being of our seniors, helping to alleviate the impact of the disease and the Covid-19 crisis. 

To continue, we need your support.

Our major fund raising events have had to be changed.  We absolutely cannot afford to lose any funding at this critical time.  Your support is urgently needed.

Here’s how you can help.

The IG Wealth Management – Walk for Alzheimer’s is a national public awareness event taking place in over 250 communities across Canada on 31 May 2020.  It is also the largest fundraising event in the country for Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. Due to the current health emergency caused by COVID-19, the 16th Walk for Alzheimer’s in Montreal will take place online!

I am appealing to you, please, consider participating or donating to the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s.

To learn more about the ways in which you can participate, please visit the Walk for Alzheimer’s website

To support me as a participant, please donate online now.  Click here to make a donation.

Please feel free to share this article to in your network.

Many, many thanks for your consideration and generosity.

Salt, Light and Love – Our Common Christian Identity

This is the text of my homily delivered at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Ottawa in celebration of Black History Month.

Bible readings for Epiphany 5, Year A – Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 112:1-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-12; Matthew 5: 13-20

Audio version : Click on February 9 – Black History Month Sunday 

The four Bible readings this morning speak directly to the people of God.  Themes of exclusion and injustice, righteousness and identity are interwoven and give us much to think about as we celebrate Black History Month.

In the Old Testament reading, the Israelites were exhorted by the prophet Isaiah to avoid the trap of familiar worship that becomes meaningless.  God considers the Israelites’ rituals of fasting and prayer meaningless because the worshippers are unconcerned about the situation of persons whose daily life is different from theirs.  They ignore the poor and those in need and they turn a blind eye to injustice.

Paul, in his epistle to the diverse, affluent Corinthian church, urges Christians to avoid the trap of preaching with high falutin wisdom, which not everyone can understand.  He praises the simplicity and power of divine wisdom, which when used to proclaim the Good News, has the power to save and transform lives.

Isaiah, St. Paul and the Psalmist all speak about the blessings that God bestows on those who live righteously.  Simply put, righteous living is being in a right relationship with God and with people, even those who are different from us.

It is ironic that familiar forms of worship and eloquent preaching can lead to the exclusion of some.  At the core of Isaiah’s and Paul’s admonitions to God’s people, is the prevailing truth that righteous living must involve inclusivity.

Black History Month was established in 1926 with the aim of including the stories of people of Black African descent in history books.

Beginning in the late 15th century and ending in the 19th century, twelve million Africans were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean where they were enslaved.  Even though the financial proceeds of trading in slaves lined the pockets of plantation owners and fuelled the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, the economic contribution of slave-based labor and the slave trade to the world is still conspicuously absent from mainstream history books.

So here we are, nearly a century later, with valid reasons justifying the need to have Black History Month. Black History Month offers us the opportunity to step out of the ignorance of the history of Black people and accept the truths about their contribution to our world and our Church.

The systemic exclusion of the contribution, presence and truthful history of Black people has served to perpetuate negative perceptions of the Black race and has undermined the progress of Black people everywhere.

We still need Black History Month because the many inventions and accomplishments of persons of Black African descent have yet to be widely acknowledged and publicized beyond the four weeks in February every year.

Some of the many machines and devices we use daily were invented by Black people during the nineteenth century, a time when Black people were largely regarded as inferior and incapable of being educated. The air conditioning unit, the stove, typewriter, thermostat control, stethoscope, radiator, smallpox vaccine, the lawn mower, railway air brakes, the golf tee, cellular phones are just a few inventions that came from people of Black African descent.

Here in Canada, Elijah McCoy, “The real McCoy”, invented several devices to lubricate locomotive engines. Mary Ann Shadd was the first Black female attorney in North America and first woman publisher in Canada. Charles Drew attended McGill University medical school where he graduated with honors. He pioneered blood transfusions and established the Red Cross Blood Bank.

The Church also needs Black History Month. Eurocentric interpretations of the Bible have generally failed to acknowledge the presence and role of Black people in Biblical history, in Jesus’ ministry and in the spreading of the Gospel.  There is Moses’ wife Zipporah and the Queen of Sheba among several Old Testament personalities.  There is Simon of Cyrene, the Black man who helped Jesus carry his cross.  Mary Magdalene was in Jesus’ entourage.  The Ethiopian eunuch, a man of great influence, accepted Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior and continued on his way back to Africa, where I am sure he spread the Good News.

There was a time when Anglican Church – clergy and lay people, upheld and perpetuated discriminatory beliefs about social status and ethno-centric superiority.

The Anglican planter class in the USA and in the colonies of the West Indies refused to have their slaves baptized as this would make Black people spiritually ‘equal’ to White people.

We know that the Anglican Church was part of the oppressive colonial government institutions and made no attempt prior to the early to mid-19th century to declare their abhorrence of slavery and racial discrimination.

In the 19th century, Black Anglicans in Canada were relegated to their own congregations and lay-readers were only permitted to read the Bible and lead prayers under restrictive conditions. A case in point is Joseph Leonard, a Black Anglican lay-reader in the Brindley Town settlement in Nova Scotia, who inspired by God, went way beyond those restrictive conditions and was flatly refused permission by Bishop Inglis to be ordained a minister.

It is the persistence of evangelical missionaries – the Quakers, Baptists, Methodists, as well as the persistence of Black Christians – that shook the conscience of the “established” Anglican Church in the early to mid-19th century. This led to a reversal in the Anglican Church’s position on slavery.  It was only in 2006 that the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a formal, unequivocal apology for the role that the Anglican Church played in the slave trade and slavery.

Today, Anglican Churches in the Caribbean integrate local, afro-centric cultural elements in the liturgy. Many educational institutions under the aegis of the Anglican Church graduate scholars who continue to make a sterling contribution to their communities throughout the world. In the Anglican Church in Canada, people of Black African descent comprise a significant percentage of many congregations. They play an active role in the life of the Church and in advancing its work at home and abroad.

Black History Month is a valiant effort to highlight the on-going need for the inclusion of the missing pages in the world’s history books and seeks to remind us that Black history is an integral component of all our histories.

We can and should celebrate diversity and honor the identities of all the peoples of the world. But more importantly, we must truly understand and accept that all human beings, can have a place in the Kingdom of God.  This is because, all of us are created equally, loved particularly and offered redemption freely by God, through Jesus Christ.

Our common Christian identity

In our Gospel reading this morning, Jesus defines our identity as His followers.  Christians are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Salt changes. Light reveals.

What are Christians being called to change? 

The prophet Isaiah’s message to the people of Israel is relevant in today’s world.  We are to step out of our comfort zones of the way of life of the 90% of Canadians who don’t live in poverty. As the salt of the earth, we are not just another social service helping to meet the material needs of the other 10%.  We are called to work and to worship, feeding and clothing the souls and bodies of anyone in need, and always remembering that there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ in the Kingdom of God.

What are Christians being called to reveal?

As the light of the world, we rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal God working through us on how to live in ways that proclaim the Good News in word and in deed, influencing and impacting the lives of those to whom God leads us to minister.

Jesus also makes it clear that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill the law.  Love is the guiding principle of the law that God gave to Moses.

Justice and righteousness flow from love, which is at the core of Jesus’ exhortation for us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

In honouring the contribution of persons of Black African heritage to the church and to the world, let us celebrate our common identity, which is God’s love.

I would like to share a poem written by Langston Hughes:

I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white,
Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth
And every man is free,
Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,
Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!

I would like to say how very impressed I am with the mission and ministry of this parish.  St. Stephen’s is a church without walls, where I feel the love and the see the diversity of those who worship here!  Keep sprinkling the salt!  Continue to shine even brighter!

I love you…

May God bless you all!

TRUTH SEEKERS, ARE YOU RESISTING OR SURRENDERING?

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday reflections on Matthew’s account of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

DSC01812

There’s an interesting parade of people throughout Matthew’s account of the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection.  Everyone, whether individually or as a group, display a wide range of behaviours and reactions.

  • Jesus’ disciples, notably Judas Iscariot, Peter, James and John, who waver between faithfulness and fear.
  • There are the religious and civil authorities who try to discredit Jesus, desperately seeking out false witnesses and questioning Jesus’ authority.
  • The two convicted robbers who are crucified alongside Jesus, join in the mockery.
  • Charged with enforcing the decision of Pontius Pilate, the derisive soldiers and centurions play between mockery and belief.
  • In contrast, there are weeping women and Simon of Cyrene who show compassion to Jesus amid a boisterous, mocking crowd of people, some of whom were waving palms in adoration and praise of Jesus just a few days before.

I believe that the need to be right was at the root of all these reactions.

Being right is based on our understanding of what we believe to be true.

During Lent, Christians spend much time reflecting on the ways to deepen their understanding of God’s truth to support our quest to live and thrive in a right relationship with God.

Seeking the truth and the desire to be right very often means we must release beliefs that don’t serve us.  Releasing can involve resistance or surrender, or both.

Resistance to declaring the truth we already know, is based on the fear of the consequences of integrity.

  • Peter knew who Jesus was and vowed to never deny his association with Jesus. When confronted with making the choice to associate with Jesus in His most unpopular hour, Peter let fear conquer his conviction.  He would later regret this, but courageously reclaimed and proclaimed the truth about his identity as Jesus’ disciple.

 

  • Pontius Pilate, despite all the evidence, condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. His decision was based purely on public opinion.  Public opinion can be shaped by loud misguided voices that are devoid of truth and integrity.  Leading with integrity requires an unwavering commitment to the truth.  Pilate knew this.  He had the courage to declare his own truth but feared the consequences.   He saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was breaking out, he took water and washed his hands [to ceremonially cleanse himself of guilt] in the presence of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this [righteous] Man’s blood; see to that

 

Surrendering on the other hand, very often leads us to the truth we are seeking.  It is hard, because it is the way of faith and accepting the Wisdom of uncertainty.

Surrendering requires us to change our perspective on the circumstances in our lives.  Rather than resisting adversity, we are better off embracing it with a deepened desire to know the truth about ourselves and to understand God’s will.

Amid the chaos of shouting crowds, Judas’ suicide, Jesus’ death, and an earthquake, there was a group of women who looked on from a distance and stayed by Jesus’ grave, not knowing what was going to happen next.

Being faithful in the face of uncertainty, led to the revelation of the fulness of the truth that Jesus taught them.  He had to die for our sins and then rise in proof that He is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

  • The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said [He would]. Come! See the place where He was lying. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee [as He promised]. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

The act of surrendering to God’s will not only benefits us as individuals but may also influence the lives of other people. 

By surrendering to God’s will, Jesus’ death and resurrection gave credibility to everything Jesus taught and to the way He lived and died.  Even though none of Jesus’ detractors liked his teachings, many of them were converted and accepted the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

  • The centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 

I really believe that our life here on earth is a journey of constant learning.  We evolve to our highest level of spiritual awareness and understanding when we commit to  understand God’s truth for us and for all humankind.  Add Bible study, prayer and meditation to your daily routine.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  That’s why glory matters!

@glorymatters

www.camilleisaacsmorell.com

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

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Almighty God, from the dust of the earth You have created us.

May these ashes be for us a sign of our mortality and our penitence

And a reminder that only by Your gracious gift

Are we given eternal life

Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen

 

Accomplish in us O God,

The work of Your salvation

That we may show forth Your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of Your Son, our Lord,

Bring us with all Your saints to the joy of His resurrection.

 

Christ in us, the hope of glory.  That’s why glory matters.

Meditation on the 23rd Psalm

 St Andrews New Brunswick

The Lord is my Shepherd
I establish the teachings of Jesus Christ as the guiding principles in my daily life.  There is a lot of material and resources on spirituality, self-help, professional and personal success.  This is all good. By declaring that the Lord is my shepherd, whatever I take from this material should enrich my understanding of Jesus’ teachings.

I shall not want
I have everything that I need. There is no lack or limitation in the Universe.  There is enough for everyone and more to share with others.  With the Lord as my shepherd, I live abundantly – knowing that I am protected, supported, guided and fulfilled in every way.  I know this to be true for me and for other people too.  Therefore, there is no place for jealousy, greed or comparison with other people.  I gratefully receive and I joyfully give.

Treasure BeachHe lets me lie down in green pastures
Meditation and deep reflection on Jesus’ teachings are critically important for daily living.  This is my daily commitment.

He leads me beside the still and quiet waters
Whenever God’s will is revealed to me, I am at peace.  But allowing God’s will to be revealed requires me to be still and to wait patiently through the daily practice of prayer and meditation.

He refreshes and restores my soul.
Through honest admission to God, I acknowledge my failures, hurts and unforgiveness.  This is how I leave myself open to receive His loving restoration of my soul to the peace and love that were instilled in me when God created me.  My life is better, and I am at peace when I choose the way of love.  This is because God enables me to forgive, to heal, to start again.  In this way I am focused on my highest good and the highest good of others.

He leads me to the path of righteousness for His Name sake
Through restoration, I understand that I have a responsibility to maintain a right relationship with God.  I surrender to His guidance and direction in my daily life. My right relationship with Him is evident in my relationships with other people and in my respect for all of God’s creation.   God is glorified.  In all I do, I am a witness to God’s goodness working through me.

Even though I walk through the (sunless) valley of the shadow of deathBog Walk Gorge Jamaica
I cannot fool myself into believing that I will not encounter any difficulties in life.  There are times when it seems as though God is silent and is not listening to me. Or, is it that I am not listening to God?  Could it be possible that I, on my own, have chosen to walk away from the path of righteousness and I have ended up in a dark place, outside of the will of God?

I will fear no evil for You are with me
Wherever I am, and however I got there, the Lord is still my Shepherd.  I go back to prayer and meditation where I find His peace that passes all understanding.  I affirm that I am in the serene presence of God.  I release fear and anxiety and surrender to the Wisdom of uncertainty as I walk in the dark. I know for sure that the valley is a shadowy place, so there must be Light close by.

Your rod (to protect) and your staff (to guide), they comfort and console me.
I am reminded that throughout the Bible, the rod is used as a metaphor for guidance and protection.  This protection is not only from the harm that others may do to me.  The rod of protection is also meant to keep me on God’s path of righteousness, in a right relationship with Him.  If I am corrected through karma, or through the justified criticism of someone else, I am comforted by the thought that this experience is God’s way of leading me to my highest good.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
In every negative experience, there is a lesson and a blessing.  I direct my energy towards putting my lessons into practice, so I have no desire or time for revenge towards my enemies.  This is how I attract my good to me and to all things concerning me.  My enemies may notice this and maybe they are blessed too! Alleluia!

Surely goodness and mercy an unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life
I am convinced that everything I experience in life, leads me to my highest good, which is God’s unfailing love.  With the Lord as my Shepherd, all things work together for my good – disappointments, joy, failure, success, lack, prosperity. I make a commitment to stand in faith and with courage in all circumstances.  Therefore, I seek God’s guidance to take me through and to let me understand all that I need to know, to be and to do.

And I will dwell forever (throughout my days) in the House and in the presence of the Lord.

Because God dwells within me, I will consciously honor His presence in my life for as long as I live.  This is my daily mantra: I am in the serene presence of God. All is well.

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Christ in me is the hope of glory.  That’s why glory matters.

@glorymatters

www.camilleisaacsmorell.com