Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Spiritual Practice: Compassion
Compassion etymologically means to “suffer with.” In that way, compassion is a spiritual practice wherein you acknowledge and even allow yourself to feel the suffering of others. After a year of empathy and sympathy and compassion for those who are suffering from coronavirus, economic hardship, racial injustice, uncertainty, trauma and more, it is tempting to “numb out” or find ways to distract yourself from the suffering of the world. None of us can actively “suffer with” all the time, and so we do need healthy ways of disconnecting from the embodied work of compassion, but each of us called, in our own way, to find a path toward a life of compassion, listening, taking action, relieving suffering, and cultivating habits of life-changing care.
Compassion is an interfaith practice, an ideal that knits us together across the globe. Pema Chödrön is an ordained nun and American Tibetan Buddhist. She says, “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” I love that. It encourages a healthy, active, mutual relationship when dealing compassionately with neighbors, friends, family, confidants, or even strangers-who-become-friends.
God of compassion,
Morning by morning we know your mercies,
Your tenderness, your love.
Give us, this day, a path toward compassion,
A way to suffer with one another,
To listen, heal, mend.
To offer connection, to take action,
To make way for your transformation.
Be our guide toward compassion.
Make us a way.