Letters from the weeks of 19 December 2016 - 1 January 2017
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Finding comfort in uncomfortable times
The following letters were in responce to our December 18th front page letter, which asked: In what do you find comfort?
I enjoyed your thoughts on comfort this week, but there is another, deeper meaning to comfort that we must not forget.
From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
late 13c., conforten "to cheer up, console," from Old French conforter "to comfort, to solace; to help, strengthen," from Late Latin confortare "to strengthen much" (used in Vulgate), from Latin com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + fortis "strong" (see fort). Change of -n- to -m- began in English 14c. Related: Comforted; comforting.
Note the roots in Late Latin, "to strengthen much" or "strong". We receive God's comfort to strengthen us to continue to serve, to love, to be a people of reconciliation and true peace in a broken and frightened world. We receive God's strength that we might comfort and heal others. Yes, there are many times when I want to wrap myself up in a soft, thick comforter in front of a warm fire with my favorite comfort foods and an old, reliable friend from my bookshelves. And there are temptations to stay there. But that sort of comfort also is to give me strength to get up and go about the high cost business of loving.
Sister Diana Doncaster
Community of the Transfiguration
Eureka, California, ISA
19 December 2016
I still like the four Comfortable Words and the Prayer of Humble Access and the Thanksgiving after Holy Communion. From Morning Prayer, the Venite, the Jubilate Deo and the MP Thanksgiving prayer sill roll up in my memory.
For food, tuna fish sandwiches were my youthful comfort food. My current comfort dinner is to start off with Dubonnet as an aperitif, then Manhattan clam chowder, bluefish Athenian style (over rice and sautéd vegetables), and an almond horn for dessert.
North Bellmore, New York, USA
19 December 2016
Aside from communion, what brings me comfort is weekly confession. It gives me the assurance that whatever bad things I have done, whatever uncharitable things I have thought, God forgives me. I really don't think we ever truly forgive others, much less ourselves. After all, even Jesus didn't forgive from the cross. He asked God to do so.
I can't imagining anything more comforting than knowing I am unconditionally loved and forgiven by God, even though I deserve neither.
All Saints, Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
21 December 2016
What gives me comfort in this strange season?
Giving myself permission to sing Christmas carols in Advent,
Centering Prayer, Realizing that, in spite of "everything," people still need human help, no matter what their politics, my new grandson, and watching my daughter become a mother
Trinity Episcopal Church
El Dorado, Kansas, USA
24 December 2016
launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003.
All published letters are in our archives.