Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

Who can even begin to express
the simplicity of the joy:
There is Life!
Thank God, there is Life!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lent 39 (Good Friday)

Today I have lost
what cannot be regained
And all the powers of the gods
cannot bring him back
And the grandest music on earth
cannot return him to me

Do not speak your condolences
or your pieties, not today
Death has taken away love with numbing finality
and there are no words to mend that pain
Say only to me that you feel this loss too
and let us cry together on this holy day

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lent 37

Let my soul echo the early morning song
of the boldly chirruping birds at my window,
singing: "This is the day that the LORD has made.
Come, rejoice, and be glad in it."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lent 36

Dear Jesus, you are full of contradictions that sometimes help but many times surprise me: saying "Peace, peace" but throwing a fit; giving sight to the blind but telling the sighted to find their own way; lending a hand to pull fish into a boat, but showing up empty-handed to a picnic for 5000, and then later saying "Eat my flesh"; you healed so many sick but missed the funeral of your best friend (I wonder if he forgave you for that after you unwrapped his grave clothes...); you railed against those who neglected the poor but you accepted a gift of expensive perfume; you claimed divinity (sometimes) but got dirty and rode a pack mule and broke religious rules. You manage to be seriously confusing, Jesus -- then and now -- so I pray in this holy week for the patience to find the Holy in the inexplicable...and the Inexplicable in the holy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lent 35

Let the ancient sequoia bear witness,
Let the tides of the ocean give testimony,
Let even the lowly earthworm tell the story:
There is nothing new under the sun.

The lake's waves whisper it to the shoreline,
The endless stream of clouds declares it:
The turning of life's circles is endless,
Its seasons may not be interrupted

And in the eternal arc of life, there is God.
Across the whirl and span of time,
In every instance of life,
There is God, and this is good.

Hear the winds as they sing this timeless truth.
See the sparrow pause to feed without worry.
Trust the budding trees as they repeat:
God is in the turning of life, and this is good.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sixth Sunday of Lent (Palm Sunday)

When the palms dry and crumble,
When the shadows overtake joy,
May I continue singing Hosannas.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lent 34

Reach out to me today, Holy Friend;
catch my hand and hold it tight,
else I might not make it through this day.
Pour me a steaming cup of mint tea,
toast a slice of bread and set it before me
as the best of friends would do
to sustain & comfort this weary soul.
And then do not leave me alone, but
sit and talk through life with me;
nudge me to laugh when I am ready,
offer me tissues when I am not.
Then when it is time to move on,
travel with me, or at least send me on
with a token of your love and presence.
Reassure me that, if it doesn't get better,
you will still be here for me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lent 33

May dawn find you awake and alert,
approaching your new day with
dreams, possibilities, and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.

(John O'Donohue's "A Blessing" in For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics, Hay House Inc. 2009)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lent 32

Guide our wayfaring, E'er-Moving God,
by sidewalks and highways,
on paths of mud or spring grass or hospital tile,
amidst love and disappointment and dread,
with youthful steps or bone-tired paces,
traveling with ease or dis-ease (or both).
Guide our wayfaring, E'er-Present God.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lent 31

God of mathematics and mystery,
Creator of the amoeba and the great blue whale,
Painter of the sweeping clouds at sunset and of the delicate violet,
thank you for giving us macro and micro,
for meeting us in the second and in the season.
Thank you for the grace
of a friend's smile when the world is falling apart, and of
the expanse of nature's beauty when my world is falling apart.
Thank you for the miracle
that a glass of wine and a shared loaf of bread
can heal the world, or at least satisfy a moment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lent 30

Maybe there is nothing to sing about, on this day when a rape story is shared aloud (one story that symbolizes hundreds, thousands). Despite all of our noise, maybe we have nothing to say that can really improve life or identify truth.

Maybe our tears have run themselves dry after seeing too much evidence of an eye for an eye (is it even that balanced anymore? was it ever?). Maybe the clouds weep on behalf of God today, because how else can One respond to the report that an island nation faces a generation of clean-up and more tremors and more clean-up.

Maybe this year, a holy week's worth of rituals will leave us, abandoned, without a happy ending, at the Place of the Skull. Maybe the best faith we can show is to put one foot in front of the other, as though tomorrow will surely come.

(There's a prayer in here somewhere, God...)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lent 29

I cannot reach you today, my God -- not by savory caffeine or thoughtful word, not by breathtaking nature or stress-releasing laughter, not by stirring liturgy or restful silence -- and I find myself wondering how often I lean on emotional experience to bridge this chasm between holy and human. Do you find me as predictable as I feel today? Is it frustrating to try to provoke my attention and adoration, day in and day out? Tomorrow I may find you as close as my own breath, but for tonight I will worry that you are not.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Lent

I will sing praise to the Holy
as long as I have my breath:
for the squeeze of a hand
and the beauty of bluebells,
for kids playing ball and laughing
and crying honestly when life hurts,
for jet-black crows in a freshly tilled field
and weeping willows' tears of spring green,
for virtual hugs and emoticon winks and
a caring voice relayed via cell phone towers,
for stories and realities and the many ways
that we get through these days called life;
for all of this (and so much more) I give praise!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lent 28

May I walk in this day
as though with bare feet:

more attuned to the cold and to
the extravagance of my comforts,

more inclined to splash playfully
in puddles than to avoid them,

more sensitive to the toe-stubbing-stones
that we so casually toss into one others' paths,

slowed down by necessity of caution
to be more mindful of spirit and direction,

deliberately risking the softening of calluses
to sense more fully the mystery of holy ground.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lent 27

I send out a prayer like a tree branch
(stretching,
turning,
multiplying,
sun-seeking,
arms reaching)
for resurrection to burst into full bloom
where life has been harsh and bare, where
fruitfulness has been forced into hibernation.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lent 26

You surprise me, Holy God,
with love that is both passionate and gentle,
with grace that is attentive and motivating,
peace that is strong but unassuming (even vulnerable).
You surprise me, Holy God,
every time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lent 25

... in the unknown ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the longing ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the hope ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the uncontainable shout-out-loud joy ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the desperation, in the last-ditch effort ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the eagerness, the want, the looking forward ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the madness, in the skewing and manipulating ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in what doesn't make sense ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

... in the giggles and the love and the gentleness ...

surely God is with us,
surely God is with me

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WRITING TO GOD News

It's exciting (and humbling, and still surprising) to hear about and to read news of how people's prayer lives are being shaped and encouraged by WRITING TO GOD. Here's a snippet from a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota, a recommendation of the book as a Lenten study from a York PA bookseller, a blogged prayer from a Presbyterian minister in Washington, a note on spiritual disciplines from a fellow RevGalBlogPals blogger in Canada, a facebook page for prayer-writers, a congregation in Ontario writing prayers online together, and Amazon just started offering the book on Kindle! Really stunning and wonderful that the book is creating so many spaces for creative prayer!

Lent 24

Dear God: It's not okay.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Lent 23

Holy Awareness, forgive me:
I have not been intentional
in words or in presence;
I have leaned on grace
as an excuse, not trying
not striving
to be more fully
where I am, as I am,
for this work that I have
to your glory, your fullness;
I have not been mindful
in these days and moments
. . . and we both know it.
Forgive me. Wake me up,
surprise me, slow me down,
do what you need to do
(I think)
until my spirit
enters Awareness.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Lent

I cannot dance, O Lord,
Unless You lead me.
If You wish me to leap joyfully,
Let me see You dance and sing . . .

Mechtild of Magdeburg (German mystic, c. 1210-1285), quoted in For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics (Hay House Inc. 2009)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lent 22 (John 9:1-41)

A prayer of the man who once was blind:

Strengthen me, Jesus,
in this moment of stillness
knee-deep in healing waters.

Say a prayer for me, Jesus,
as I go back out into the world
to live in this complicated life.

Comfort me, please Jesus,
when they say that I cannot be
who I am or how I am or all that I am.

Encourage me, blessed Jesus,
to claim what no one else will affirm,
and to love this life and flesh always!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lent 21 (on Isaiah 35)

The crocuses shall bloom and the snow melt away;
understanding will thrive and violence will find its end.
The bombarded land will become an oasis, and
the growth of cedars will break the marbled hallways of power.
The women will dance to have freedom of their own bodies;
they shall tell stories of the day when war against them ceased.
Workers will leap like deer, no longer bearing the burdens
of corporations or of middle-class-striving on their backs.
Where the earth's oil has spilled like blood across sand and sea,
the oceans will again dance with creatures great and small.
Like a stream rejuvenating a dry and desperate wilderness,
the LORD will flow abundantly with grace among peoples.
Say to those whose lives are compromised until that day,
"Be strong, do not fear. The LORD will come with a vengeance."

An Online Community of Prayer-Writers

If you are writing your prayers this Lenten season -- whether by pen or by blog, using "Writing to God" or another devotional resource -- consider joining the Facebook page "Let's write 1,000,000 letters to God" and sharing your prayers (and reading others' prayers) there!