Below is Part 5 in the 2014 Pastoral Care Week (Oct. 19-25) series here at CBFblog.
By Rev. Chaplain Sing C. Yue, B.C.C.
In classical Chinese literature, it is not uncommon for one to find the habits of strong work ethics and a healthy lifestyle listed as virtues. These two pillars are said to be the key to wellness.
Let us look at the chore of cleaning a house. The process and event itself are often just as important as the outcome. As in the days of old, a big house can consist of many rooms, outer and inner courtyards and magnificent landscaping and gardens. All are supposed to be well managed. It is a matter of discipline to clean one’s house every day, so there will be no dust or mess. Let us liken our spiritual wellness to the metaphor of a clean house. Just like the daily work it takes to maintain an orderly, attractive home, it is also true that our spirituality needs ritualistic attention. Spiritual well-being needs spiritual conditioning or daily attention. This is the way we express our modern approach to wholeness.
I would like to share a memory with you from my boyhood. One day, during a Baptist youth group meeting at my home church in Hong Kong, I was approached by a young fellow who was part of the Jesus movement in the mid-sixties. I was cornered and greeted in an unusual way. Rather than the normal “how are you?” he bluntly ask me, in plain Cantonese, “how is your Shu-Ling-Guang-Jing?” meaning “how are you doing spiritually.” Of course at that time, I was caught off guard with those words. They pierced into the core of my soul. It took me a good while to gather my thoughts to answer him back in a responsive, composed manner. Not until many years later, after I came to America and entered into ministry did I start to understand his question.
Ironically, I find my pastoral care work over the last eleven years has evolved from trying to personally and maturely answer that fellow’s question. In many ways the answering of this question can describe how my own spirituality has grown. This process has become something more than a theological concept. It has evolved into a practice of daily prayer, meditation and scriptural reading that takes me on an inward journey. At times, I wander and will occasionally become entangled with many barriers that block my spiritual vitality. However, through steadfast effort in improving my relationship with the Divine, that path has led me to find the mercy and goodness of God’s grace. All beings want to be happy, healthy and avoid suffering. So this is my prayer for all of you today:
When you wake up each morning, may you be able to breathe in the spirit of faith that can enrich your day.
Lord, may our spirit be complete.
When you set out to do your daily tasks, may you be able to grow in the spirit of love that creates resiliency amidst challenging situations.
Lord, may our spirit be in fullness.
When the evening comes and you are done with the burden of the day, may you be embraced by the spirit of hope so that you are resting in the arms of God.
Lord, may our spirit be gentle and peaceful.
When others are in need of help, may you be able to give away what you have in the spirit of compassion that offers comfort and protection.
Lord, may our spirit be wise and strong.
When the world turns out to be cold and in darkness, may you be able to show warmth through the spirit of healing that deepens human relationships.
Lord, may our spirit be bright and humble.
Rev. Chaplain Sing C. Yue is a CBF-endorsed hospital chaplain serving Dignity Health in Bakersfield, Calif.