Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lent 30

Be glorified by the praises of your people, O God Most Holy:

Call to the east, to the west, to the north and the south!
Call to the ends of the earth for God's name to be lifted up!
God above all the gods
Foundation for all lovingkindness
Center of the orbits of galaxies

Proclaim to the east, to the west, to the north and the south!
Proclaim to the ends of the earth that God has done it!
Rainmaker in seasons of drought
Laughter in every friendship
Nursing Breast to the hungry and the orphan

Call to the east, to the west, to the north and the south!
Call to the ends of the earth for God's kingdom to take on flesh!
Mountain Guide to those lost and foraging
Healing Touch to those on battlefields
Sunlight to the plants' yearning branches

Be gratified by our lives given over to your praise,
O God of our salvation!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lent 29

"A Prayer from Sarah and Hannah and Elizabeth and..."

O God, I come to you with my barrenness,
asking for new life beyond my imagining.
I wanted to give birth, but I cannot.
I wanted to be celebrated, but I am not.
I wanted to contribute, but my body is limited.
See, I am here in your temple
to make sure that you hear me.
I will not relent until you respond,
until you reveal another use for my body,
my life.
I will come to you day after day
until you open a new door.
O God my God,
what options do I have?
Am I dead because I am barren?
See how others are making a way for themselves,
but I have no way.
Look around and see
how those who sow and plant and harvest
are valued for their gifts to the community,
but my fields lie fallow and dry.
I have no place to call my own
just this square of floor in the temple
to lay out my pleas.
God of my mother and my mother's mother,
bless me with unexpected life, I pray.
To your glory.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fifth Sunday in Lent

I pray with these hands:
for the humility to remain open, unclenched;
for the gentleness to touch and care.
I pray with these hands cupped,
longing for a blessing.
I pray with my hands clasped,
fingers overlapping:
may they have something to hold onto.
I pray with my hands dirty from the day,
gratified but tired from the work,
asking for renewal.
I pray because my hands are at a loss,
fingers wide in uncertainty.
I fold my hands and pray
for the Word Made Flesh
to be holy in this flesh,
in these hands.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lent 28

"Praise in haiku, on Psalm 51"
I trust in the dawn
to say "God lets you restart."
Praise the Morning Star.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

I trust the fresh air
to feel the Spirit within.
Praise the Holy Wind.

Put a new and steadfast spirit within me.

I trust the spring buds
to stir my sense of oneness.
Praise the Mystery.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

I trust the mountain
to turn my heart to silence.
Praise the Restful Word.

Sustain in me a generous spirit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lent 27

When the light of this day is done,
can I be with you in the darkness?
Will you hold my hand through the darkest valley?

When I sit and observe the long shadow of the cross,
can you keep me company?
Will you watch with me while I consider death?

When my breath at last expires,
and nothing can prepare me for it I am sure,
will you send your Spirit to give me a new kind of breath?

Jesus, you spoke boldly in the face of death;
can you forgive me if I am not brave in that moment?
Will you promise that I can be with you on the other side?

I don't need fancy words of salvation
or misplaced sentiments about God's will;
I just need someone to be there
because I will be scared---
scared of what's ahead,
scared of what I'm leaving behind.

When I tremble before death, today or tomorrow,
can you stay with me?
Will you promise not to leave me?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lent 26

Rain down on me, blessed Creator,
rain down with mercy and grace
for the living of these days.

Rain down on me, blessed Savior,
rain down with love and strength
for the walking of this journey.

Rain down on me, blessed Breath,
rain down with holy fire and faith
for the empowering of your disciple.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lent 25

Stop.

Where are you going in such a rush, child of mine?

Today I am having lunch at your home.

Today I am spending the day with you.

Today I've planned to sit with you and listen to your thoughts.

Today it's just you and me, reflecting together on life
as good friends do.

Stop.

What are your thoughts? Where is your heart today,
child after my own heart?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lent 24

In praise of the I AM who was and is and will be:

On the wings of the eagle I soar to the high reaches of the mountains, to the desolate snows of Mount Everest and the trembling sides of Redoubt Volcano---and your fierce love is there.

On the currents of the ocean I sink past the bright and busy coral reef to the deep canyon of unimaginable glowing sea creatures---and your startling beauty is there.

On the rising steam of hot ugali and stewed goat meat I laugh with the crowd of bodies dancing and children weaving throughout---and your brilliant music is there.

On the pulsing beam over Cape May Point I marvel at the seasons changing across land, bay, ocean, land, bay, ocean, land, bay, ocean---and your steadfast light is there.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God.
With you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

(Psalm 36:5-9)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lent 23

Gideon felt dew on the fleece of wool.
Noah saw the bow of color arched in the sky.
Thomas touched the scars from the nails in Jesus' side.

We pray for signs.

The psalmist observed the deer at the stream.
Peter dreamed of animals, reptiles, birds lowered in a sheet.
Deep in Egypt, the Hebrews marked their doors with blood.

We pray for signs.

For Hezekiah's reassurance and healing, the shadows retreated.
A young woman bore a son for the hope of the people.
Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall.

How great are God's signs,
how mighty God's wonders.
The kingdom of the Most High God is an everlasting kingdom,
and God's sovereignty is from generation to generation.

We pray for signs to this generation, to this world,
for the sake of your holy reputation in these days.

(includes Daniel 4:3, adapted)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fourth Sunday in Lent

The prayer that remains constant,
on my lips at dawn and at dusk,
is simply: Please be here.
Please be here.
Here, with me.
Here, wherever there is crying.
Here, in the halls of power.
Here, in places of drought.
Here, with my loved ones.
Here, where a child's eyes are filled with terror.
Here, where the great blue heron is wading.
Here.
Here.
Please be here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lent 22

To you o Christ I bring thanksgiving
for warmth and humor and gentleness,
for your faithfulness to generations
and steadfast love rising with each dawn.
I lift up the delights of my life
knowing that grass fades and withers
yet longing for permanence in these moments.
To you I sing praise, to you I whisper fears;
I breathe in Julian's prayer that all will be well
and all manner of things will be well.
So to you o Christ I pray with my ancestors
for daily bread and daily love
and that in the end, all will be well.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lent 21

"A Prayer While Waiting for the Kingdom of God"

Give these bones
breath to dance.

Give your people
a song to sing in exile.

Give the mustard seed
roots to grow.

Give Hagar and Ishmael
an oasis to rest.

Give those behind locked doors
a vision of hope.

Give the widow
flour for her bread.

Give the fig tree
fruit to bear.

Give the leper

a temple for his praise.

Give the Easter lily
a reason to bloom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lent 20

O God my God
Here I am
It is only me
But it is all me
May it be enough
That is, enough of you
Because it is just me
But all you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lent 19

Look at your people, God of the covenant.
Look at your people in the congregation and be glad.
See how they love you!
See how they love each other!
Be blessed, God of all people, by this gathering.
Be blessed and be overjoyed as they seek your face.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lent 18

I pray with all of my senses, O Living God.

I pray with my eyes smiling at the sight of a robin resting briefly on the branch outside my window.

I pray with my fingers kneading the warm fibers of the knitted hat that I snuggle onto my daughter's head before sending her off to school.

I pray with my nose breathing deeply to catch the smell of mud rising with the morning dew.

I pray with my tongue savoring the heavy spices of morning tea, a taste both comforting and awakening.

I pray with my ears tuned to the radio's news, catching words and phrases to lift up in prayer:
"Pakistan"
"Iraq"
"unemployment"
"Wall Street"
"gay marriage"
"insurance"

I pray with all of my senses when I cannot sense you at all:
when life's affairs look bleak to my eyes,
when compassionate touch is absent,
when the putrid smell of war escapes the sterilized news,
when the taste of the day is bitter,
when my ears cannot catch even a whisper of your word.

I pray with all of my senses, O Living God.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lent 17

"Ashes to Ashes Confession"

I am worn down today,
fatigued in every muscle
I am not whole,
not even halfway.
It is brilliant to be human...
oh but I strain against the ashes
the limits.
Heal me, Jesus, with the scars of your own brokenness.
Heal me...not to strength or perfection,
but to togetherness
to gentleness
to taking care of these ashes.
Be the wholeness that I am not
and remind this body of ashes
to rest my scars in yours
to live my broken life
fully.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Third Sunday in Lent

So another day ends.
Words have been spoken,
Moments shared.
Comings and goings;
And where am I now?
I am with YOU.

Amazing, what a day can hold.
Events, conversations,
Highs and lows of emotion.
But inevitably all is done;
Enough for today.
And still YOU are with me.

Could I still chart this day in detail?
Probably not.
Where I am forgetful,
I pray that I have not been careless.
One truth is clear in hindsight:
I was with YOU,
And YOU with me.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lent 16

Because so often life seems to be without order:
I love you, O Holy One who creates and tells stories.

Because I struggle to understand and tackle the world's injustices:
I love you, O Holy One who promises deliverance.

Because I strive and try and work...and then wonder where I'm going:
I love you, O Holy One who guided Hagar and Miriam and Naomi.

Because you do not leave me alone when I need comfort and when I need prodding:
I love you, O Holy One who is restless and passionate.

Because you are not me; because you are beyond this world and still choose to be part of it:
I love you, O Holy One who lights the fire when I need it most.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lent 15

I pray that you have a sense of humor, O God:

How fickle I am on any given day!
Saddened, thoughtful, worried in one minute
and relaxed, top-of-the-world in the next.

How flighty we are as humans!
Outpouring in generosity for one another,
then intensely self-serving and self-focused.

How quick are the days you have given us!
Faster than the grass withering and fading,
the sun races across the sky to mock our sense of time.

I pray that you laugh...
and I will try to do the same.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lent 14

I pause to breathe
to stop
to see
to pray


This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.



Thank you for a few moments of quiet.
(breathe)
Thank you for choices,
the luxury of having options.

(stop)
Thank you for sunlight.
(see)
Thank you for family,
for friendships.

(pray)


This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.



You alone are God; your presence knows no bounds.
(breathe)
How limited my worldview,
how narrowly-focused are my days!

(stop)
How many people are walking in this day, counting
their footsteps carefully; so many...
and I barely know my neighbor!

(see)
Do not let me forget that we are not islands.
Stretch me in community, by your Spirit.

(pray)


This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.



I pause to breathe
to stop
to see
to pray

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lent 13

God be the light in my eyes.

God be the love in my voice.

God be the gentleness in my steps.

God be the compassion in my touch.

God be the word on my lips.

God be the strength for my spirit.

God be the ground under my feet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lent 12

O God, my God, be present in my tears.
I am poured out like water, my heart is like wax.

I pray for the place of hurt:
-- the joint that shoots pain through the body
-- the word that undermines trust & love
-- the job loss that replaces breath with panic
-- the growl of lions that is hunger in the stomachs of children
-- the addiction that devours life & family

O God, my God, do not be too far away to hear.
O my help, come quickly when I groan.

I pray for the open wound:
-- the memory that haunts the veteran in nightmares
-- the distrust laid brick-by-brick until it is a wall
-- the emotional fatigue of a chronic physical ailment
-- the abyss of loneliness that swallows hope
-- the fear of the injustice that gloats to repress others

Deliver my life from the encircling army.
Rescue your people just as you saved our ancestors.

Give us a story to tell the generations to come
And we will stand in awe, saying the LORD has done it.

(based on Psalm 22)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lent 11

I pray for the church--our local congregation and the global Christian community alike--that the Spirit will be among us, that our purpose will be
generosity more than survival,
celebration more than business,
worship more than ritual,
inclusivity more than club mentality.

Holy Spirit be among us. Propel us from places where we are stagnant. Make us living--within or without walls. Nurture our gifts to be a community that gives birth to Pentecost fires, for the sake of your name and your people.
Amen.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Second Sunday in Lent

jesus never promised a life of ease
he said: carry the cross, and
be ye perfect

need i say that i am not?

i love the beatitudes, for their soothing poetry;
i dread to read them, for their idealistic nerve:

blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth
blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy
blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God
blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God

surely jesus wasn't serious?

i rationalize my choice when they compromise the ideal;
i see sadly my pattern for acquiescing to worldly attitudes:

blessed are the rich in wealth, for the earth belongs to them
blessed are the powerful, for they will be made rulers
blessed are the merciless, for they will win the race
blessed are the proud, for they will know popularity
blessed are the warriors, for they will be praised as patriots

no, jesus never promised a life of ease
but he said: i am with you always, and
be blessed

need i say that i am?

i am abundantly blessed

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lent 10

"Recycling: A Prayer for Salvation"

Refresh me

Reuse me

Remind me

Refresh me

Reuse me

Remind me

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lent 9

I pour out prayers for this day, O Spirit,
like water from a pitcher.

I pray for the breath
to speak words of love and truth.

I pray for the presence
to be mindful and aware of others.

I pray for the wind, filled with signs of spring,
to center me and calm my own spirit.

I ask (carefully) for the refiner's fire
to burn away what is unnecessary.

I ask for the energy, the passion,
to do your work well with all of my gifts.

I look for the comfort of the Advocate
to surround and sustain me.

I pray for the covenanted community
to be your witnesses above all else.

Keep my prayers unceasing
and my heart set on you.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lent 8

Bless the Lord, o my soul,
and celebrate God's beauty
in the diversity of all people made in God's image
in the trees that lift their branches to give God praise
in the birds that greet the Light with their songs

Bless the Lord, o my soul,
and remember God's faithfulness
through storms that overwhelmed me with pounding waves
through deserts where the word of the Lord could not be found
through seasons of planting and harvesting this life that God claims

Bless the Lord, o my soul,
and be joyful on the pilgrimage to God's holy mountain
where neighbors and enemies alike will find common ground
where weariness will not slow our tongues' proclamation of good news
where all people will stand in unity with the poor and imprisoned

Bless the Lord, o my soul,
and bless God's holy name

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lent 7

The middle of the night always comes:

I am afraid of the dark

Afraid of the unknown at 2 in the morning

Wide-eyed in case the uncontrollable, unthinkable happens

So I stay awake

Stay distracted

Determined not to be caught off guard by the night

I need you, Lord Jesus,

For this simple act of sleeping

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lent 6

I used to pray geographically at night before bed, starting my "Thank you for..." prayer with the wonders of the depths of the oceans, gradually thanking my way through the shallows and up to the shores, then rising further into the hills and mountains with all of the plants and creatures there, and finally--if I was still awake--thanking God for the planets and stars and galaxies beyond.

Thank you God for the vast beauty of nature--yes, thank you and amen--but today I want to give praise and say thanks for one specific piece within the splendor of your creation: rocks.

Thank you for rocks.

For pointy rocks that my kids dig up in cornfields, then come running to me to say, "I think this one is an arrowhead!"

For humongous rocks on the shoreline in Maine that I climbed confidently in my youth, that my kids now climb to my great terror.

For "rainbow rocks" (as we call them in my family) where hills have been cut open for roads to pass, and the colorful layers of rocks are exposed to travelers.

For smooth rocks, perfect for skipping across the river.

For rocks (and seashells) worn down by centuries of waves to become grains of sand that invite wiggling toes.

For the Rock that I claim beneath my feet, which is more beautiful than all other rocks.

Thank you for rocks.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lent 5

Sing a song of praise
for the wonder of being
for the triumph of standing firm against the wind
for the dizzying pattern of a snowflake's fall

Whisper a song in prayer
for those who are cold
for the unknown cause of ambulance sirens
for the sun to break through the darkness of winter's depression

Sing a song of hope
for the spring that will come
for the miracle of a snowy blanket fading to vibrant green
for the renewed energy and activity inspired by warmer weather

Repeat a song of praise
for the One who can do all things
who knows the design of a snowflake and dances with the wind
who gives us being and teases our senses with the turning of seasons

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Sunday in Lent

O God,
if I call you Father,
will you please watch over me and those in my house,
and guard us like a watchman at night?

O God,
if I call you Mother,
may I curl up next to you when I have nightmares,
and will you soothe me when I am sick?

O God,
if I call you Savior,
will you rescue me during hard times
and keep me from rebellion?

O
God,
if I call you Lover,
will you keep me company through thick and thin
and encourage my best self?

And God,
if I confess that you are beyond naming,
will you please be greater than me and beyond my understanding,
so that the things I cannot fathom but so desperately want---
lion-and-lamb peace,
feeding miracles by the millions,
tears-into-joy justice---
can be conceived and built by your imagination?

Will you please be holy so that I can be human,
to the best of my ability?