Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lent 7

"Seek the LORD; seek God's presence continually" (Psalm 105:4, adapted). Today, pay attention to the presence of God in the "ordinary" moments of life. Write a prayer at the end of the day, with thanksgiving for the joy of seeking (and finding!) God in all things.

Ah, there you are!
Mixed in with the eggs and flour and milk,
hot on the griddle and soggy under syrup:
God in pancakes!
God in the work of cooking,
in the act of serving,
in the delight of waking sleepyheads with warm food.
There you are for me every morning:
in the simplest purpose and function,
in the one necessary task that trumps
all other tasks for that moment.
Nothing else do I need,
nothing else must I do,
than attend to God
in pancakes.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lent 6

Who knows how brightly the sun might shine this day?
Who knows how paths might cross and God-encounters unfold?
Who knows what adventure might begin, or what mischief
might startle me into laughter? God alone! Yes, God alone!
So I set my heart at ease and I give praise for this new day.

Prayer-writing prompt: "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; God's mercies never come to an end -- they are new every morning. Great is God's faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23, adapted from NRSV). God's mercy is new to you today! Write a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of a new day, full of new graces.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lent 5

You know me, God: I like journeys where the destination is goooood, restful for the body and rejuvenating for the soul, with food and fellowship to satisfy my spirit and encourage me for days to come. That's not exactly how the Lenten journey is typically understood, but oh! that's the journey I'd like for this season. I want to reach Easter with a dance and an "Amen!" celebrating that God has been good all the way ... not to collapse on that Easter morning out of relief to find Living Water again because Lent has been so arid. Really, I can't imagine that Jesus was miserable for every one of those forty days in the wilderness. Didn't he sometimes splash about in a stream and laugh at the frogs hopping out of the way? Did he lie flat on the ground to study the expanse of the sky at sunset, and breathe deeply with joy for each sunrise? Let me have that kind of Lenten journey, I pray. Excite and enliven my spirit, O Adventurous Spirit!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Sunday in Lent

Noah's rainbow might be too perfect for how I experience you. Instead I'd say your covenant is a tie-dyed blast of color: a joyous, brilliant mess of "I'm here for you and I'm delighted by you ... and life is going to be hard, but walk with me and you just might be surprised." Yes, your covenant is a holy splatter that highlights and accents all the days of my life!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lent 4

The wind of your Spirit howls at the world and threatens our complacency. I watch the sycamores bend before you; the traffic light poles bounce and quiver; litter dances on the highway; people scurry for shelter with coats held tightly against the blustery Spirit that seeks to undo us all. We are fools to think that we can stand before you, childish if we do not see that nothing is stable or safe when you are stirred up. I want to pray, "Yes! Uproot us and topple us by the force of your breath...but please leave me my coat," but I suspect that I cannot have it both ways. Blow, Spirit, blow! Come and turn us around!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lent 3

May I be disappointed for a moment, Silent God? Would you mind terribly if I sit with this hurt? (I'll try not to wallow.) I need to say that you've felt distant. And probably that's my fault, but for now maybe you could be gracious on that point... My spirit is lonely for you, despite the fullness of life. I've gone out looking for you; I've tried to welcome you in; but you must be too busy. I'm sorry. Can we try again tomorrow?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent 2

You are right on time, O my God and my Peace,
breaking through the clouds to catch my attention
and cheer my troubled spirit. You are right on time,
Perfectly Unexpected God, waking me up from sleepwalking,
interrupting the course of carelessness -- the autopilot --
with which I was stepping into this day. Ah, you!
You are ever timely as you deepen my breath and
turn my head, saying "Wait. Don't miss me today.
Take me in and be satisfied. Seek my radiance,
and be radiant yourself with enduring peace."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent 1 (Ash Wednesday)

One of us has a god-complex, O God.

One of us has an anxious need
to know and to keep life in order.

One of us has a distorted view of sufficiency
and a daily resistance to wounded living.

One of us has a drive to be and do more, and
a combative approach to surrender and sabbath.

One of us has a god-complex, O God
. . . and one of us is actually God.

Here I am, to lay down my god-complex
in this pile of ashes and grace.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Handling Fire

My words are like tongs
handling the hazy red coals
of a fire too holy
which nevertheless
has called me to its side.
So I whisper: "Beautiful!"
and an ember pulses brighter;
"Delightful!" and a spark
cracks with laughter;
"Restorative!" and
a flame licks warmly.
"You are unchanging and
ever-surprising," I woo,
and the fire swells.
"You are satisfying and
unsettling," I affirm,
and then I set the tongs down
while I bask on the hearth
and rebuild my courage
for handling the fire again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Grasping at a Love Letter

There are books that ignite my mind and creativity.
There are frosty dawns that sing beauty to my spirit.

There are homemade brownies that melt my willpower.
There are children's goodnight kisses that satisfy my soul.

I would settle for all of these displays of love
yet you, O my God, go above and beyond.

There are memories which ward off the long night's demons.
There are faithful friends whose gifts exceed my gratitude.

There are symphonies and silences that remind me to hope.
There are tides, herons, and creaking oaks that tell me stories.

I could be content to know you in these reflections
but you, O my God, are truer than all reality.

You are fire that lusts for life.
You are beauty that invites pursuit.

You are love that embarrasses human intimacy.
You are tenacity that shatters every construct of allegiance.

I should realize that words will never suffice
but for today, in adoration, I am grasping at a love letter.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Isaiah 40:18

To whom will you liken God?
To what shall God be compared?

The tree that dizzies me as I stare up
into its outstretched maze of branches
has nothing on your height, O God,
nor can it astound me as you do.

The horizon burning at sunset smarts my eyes,
its melting colors make my heart sing, and yet
it pales in comparison to your brilliant beauty
and cannot elicit the praise of mountains.

The inchworm, though it measures a daffodil's stem meticulously,
does not know the season or dance of the flower as you do;
no one can begin to understand the breadth of your wisdom
or comprehend your knowledge of life's intricacies.

Even the hidden sea creature lurking in the ocean's depths
cannot compare to the mystery of the One Holy Engineer
of pulling tides and blinking stars and soaring eagles.
There is nothing like you in all of creation!