Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lament

Psalm 22

My God, my God
have you left us all alone?
have you turned away from our anguish?
Do you not see what is happening?
Snarling dogs pounce on the weak—
besting the aged for food,
tearing families apart,
trampling the gentle,
attacking the poor.
When they lose a crumb from their enormous loaf
the rich blame the hungry for their “loss.”
They trust might and weapons, feeding on these
until they are glutted,
while compassion and mercy fade into oblivion.

But the new day reminds me that you are constant.
You have not abandoned us. It is we
who have abandoned you, trusting in wealth and weapons,
in power and possessions, and not in your ways,
which work like yeast, steady, unseen.

Expand our hope, grow our compassion,
crowd out our fear, fill us with love
until we sing praise,
until our lives ring true,
until we resist evil.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Song of Praise

Revelation 4:1-11

Holy, holy, holy!
Creator God, you are holy!
In the orange fire of sunset,
in the vivid pink of sunrise,
in the indescribable blue of spring sky,
your glory bursts forth.

Holy, holy, holy!
Christ Jesus, you are holy!
In you, we see God’s heart for us—
love we cannot fathom,
patience filled with grace,
forgiveness that bids us live with joy.

Holy, holy, holy!
Spirit, you are holy!
In the stillness of early morning,
in the silence of a chapel,
in laughter, tears and love of community,
your presence is palpable.

Holy, holy, holy!
Wrapped in Trinity’s holiness
may we too be holy,
lifted by love to deep devotion,
challenged by grace to grow in grace,
filled with joy irrepressible.

Holy, holy, holy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring

1 Thessalonians 5:12-14

In the birds’ songs your Spirit sings
friendlying this dark before dawn.
Today the equinox! And now the light
outlasts the night. All leans toward light,
toward spring, toward life.
My soul too bends toward light,
dainty as a dandelion seed,
sturdy as an oak. The Spirit lifts
and awakens me as its feathered chorus
sings this day into being. A new day,
a new season, a new opening to grow in God.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hunger

Hosea 6:1-3

Some crave travel, their attention given
to planning trips to myriad destinations.
Some follow their palates—exploring the endless varieties
of foods and flavors.
Some collect, studying, scouring to find the next piece
of their growing assemblage of dolls,
wines, coins, cars or antiques.
Others devote themselves to stopping the aging process
through exercise, treatments and diet.
Let my hunger be for this:
to press on to know the Lord,
who is infinitely unknowable,
always surprising, ever revealing,
as close as my breath,
as vast as the cosmos.
Let my life be given to the
presence and pursuit of God.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Presence

Isaiah 41:10

When all seemed hopeless,
when the path I envisaged washed out before me,
through days of distress and nights of sleeplessness and tears,
when I was exiled from what had been my life,
even then, when it was so dark that I could not feel your comfort
I knew you were with me.

As I lay at the bottom of the pit,
my identity smashed, feeling worthless
and very small,
you sent an angel, and another
and in the dark depths they pieced together
my shattered self, slowly.
It took months, but more angels came. They
knitted my broken self together,
each working a different way, but all
from you and for me.
Freed from that dark pit, I live.
I live!

God of the broken, you have strengthened me,
you have helped me,
you have held me with
your righteous strong hand.
I am loved.
I am yours.
I am grateful.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bless the Lord

Psalm 78:1-4, 52-55

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, the faithful
does not leave me alone,
but is always with me
through storms and sunshine.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, the nurturer
led me through my darkest hour
so I could endure my trial
and emerge with stronger faith and love.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, my advocate,
who knows the truth of who I am,
and surrounds me with friends who know this truth
so I can claim it for myself.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, the merciful,
who does not hold my failures against me,
whose memory of my sin is short
and whose love is long and generous.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, the playful,
who fills my life with laughter,
who revels in relationships
of mutuality and depth.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
for God, the creator
of coffee, chocolate and wine,
of sunrises, oaks and sparrows,
of color, music and mountains.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Speed of Growth

Mark 4:26-32

Let nature take its course—
not a popular word in a society of speed.
Consumed with size and strength and speed,
we are like mechanics, manipulating the
engine of life to meet our demands for
more, faster and bigger. We override the
Creator, who glories in the smallest flower,
the speed of a snail, the delicate strength of a spider web.
We want bigger chickens, faster answers, more choices.
We cannot content ourselves with a Kingdom that grows by itself,
that revels in smallness, that is revealed in the simplicity of seeds
and birds and bread.
Life begins small and is only authentic when unforced.
Depth and strength require time, not speed.
The Kingdom comes in its own time.
Let Nature/God take its course.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Authority

Isaiah 9:6

A child is born to us,
a son is given to us,
and authority will be on his shoulders.

Advent’s reading draws us to the child;
in Lent I think of the man
and his shoulders, stretched apart on the cross.
A paradox—authority submitting
to crucifixion. Power becoming
powerlessness, allowing evil to have
its way. If the story stops here
the world’s way wins.
And isn’t that how it seems at times?
We struggle to see Sunday in the world’s events
or in our own particular lives.
Remember, when it seems dark, that
powerlessness overcomes power.
True authority comes with a heart,
not a fist.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Wounds

They treat the wound of my people
   as if it were nothing:
   “All is well, all is well” they insist,
   when in fact nothing is well.   – Jeremiah 6:14

One verse given today.
One verse.
Yet it speaks truth with force,
for all is not well. Humanity is wounded.
People fleeing their homes looking for hope,
people hungry, longing for food,
people sick, praying for medicine and treatment—these
are the wounded we see. But there are others.
People who close borders,
people who blame the poor,
people more concerned about dollars than neighbors—wounds
of privilege fester unseen. Heartlessness causes wounds to
stagnate and stink, like the Dead Sea.
Wounded people everywhere.

God, give us hearts that hurt for others,
heal our wound of uncaring.
Disturb us, shake us awake until we see your face
at our borders, in the clinics, on the streets,
in struggling schools, at the grocery store.
Give us eyes to see you with love, not contempt.
May we not rest until all is well
and all are well.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Visual Praise

Psalm 147

Sing songs of praise to God
   for the glory of creation!
Do not keep silent
   in the presence of God’s diversity!

Birds and bugs, fish and flowers,
   trees and their fruit, seasons and weather,
stars and soil, vegetables and oceans,
   animals of every color, shape and disposition,
and people of every hue and size and belief—
   you made and love them all!
We all reflect your glory,
   though some would deny it in themselves and in others.

May I see you today
   in every bird and everybody,
in every leaf and in my food,
   in sun and clouds and wind,
in water and blossoms and bugs,
   even in the small, the irritating and mean.

May I see you today in every moment and person and place.
Give me eyes that praise you
with love and adoration for all you have made.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Praise

Psalm 36:5-9

How do I express my love to you, O God?
You surprise me daily with the depth of your love for me.
You make a way for me and go with me as I walk its path.
Some love you for what you do for them.
But I love you for who you are, a love forged in the wilderness,
where I was led but not abandoned. You were with me there!
My heart erupts with love for you O Lord,
O lover of my soul!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Endurance

James 5:7-11

O God, waiting is hard. But harder than waiting is unknowing.
With the Psalmist I cry “How long?” And will the journey even take me
to a place I want to be? It seems all I see is the interminable question mark.
Yet in the waiting, in the unknowing, I experience compassion and mercy.
There is hope for fruit from the seeds of suffering. So Lord, cultivate in me
patient endurance and courage. Maybe these are the fruits you want to give me.
If so, may I feast on them until they nourish and strengthen me.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Questions and Faith

Habakkuk 2:1-3

Compassionate One,
I remember a book title I once read: Swift, Lord, You are Not.
I hear your call to wait, to trust,
yet as I watch a nation’s heart turn to stone
I wonder when the tide will turn.
How many more children will come home to find their parents taken away?
How many creatures have to die before we realize our dependence on clean air and water?
How many people will be attacked and killed before we realize that killing others doesn’t allay our fear?
As the fist of power squeezes tighter,
how many more will be crushed by its greed, its hate, its oppression?
God of the ages, help me to take the long view—
to remember that empires fall when power corrupts,
to see that plants grow from the decay and rot of what has died,
to look at you on a cross and to see the empty tomb beyond.
Evil may seem strong, but you are stronger,
though your way is not the way of the world.
You who are the way, the truth and the life,
may we know that your way is power in powerlessness,
your way is strength in weakness,
your way is nonretaliation to violence,
your way is resurrection through death.
So I will trust;
I will do what is mine to do;
I will not let my heart turn to stone.
I know you will take small acts of faithfulness
and multiply it many times over.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Home

John 1:1-5, 14a

Home—not a building, but
relationship. You made your
home among us. Though you had
no place to lay your head,
you were at home with us.
Home, likewise, is for me relationship,
for when I had no place to rest
I found my home in you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Pieces

Ecclesiastes 3:1-20

My life—a jigsaw puzzle,
each piece necessary, but alone
lending no clue to the larger picture
and no box to guide toward completion.
Some pieces that appear to go together
don’t. Unlikely combinations surprise me.
Yet each piece a season, an event—some light,
some dark, but all unite,
making whole. Hope is learning to see
as the Puzzle-Maker sees, the
Imago Dei scattered across the table,
slowly coming into view as I connect
each piece. To see myself
fully human, fully
beloved when the image is not
what I imagined it would be—this
is the key to working
without a box, the key to
becoming whole.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Be Still

Psalm 46

When all around me shakes,
keep me, hold me that I may be
unshaken in your hands,
able to see with nonanxious
clearness, with steady heart
that you are God
and I am not, so I can
be still in my soul.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Confession

Isaiah 40

God, whose way leads through
wilderness, whose desert path
uproots us out of ordinary time,
forgive us when we choose
complacency over change,
ease over transformation,
numbness over attentiveness.
We prefer the false security of
easy answers, blame and prejudice
rather than the disciplines of
understanding, patience and
accountability.
Hold us in the desert long enough
to clear our vision, change our hearts,
gentle our judgments.
Hold us accountable even as you
hold us in your hand.
Flatten our mountains of pride.
Raise the ones we have despised.
Make our desert sojourn fruitful—
harsh enough to soften us, to turn
us to you in utter dependency,
so we will know that you show
your power in gentleness,
your strength in compassion,
your greatness in proximity.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ashes and Fire

Ephesians 6:10-18

Yesterday’s ashes, washed from my forehead
mark my heart, reminding me that your
refining fire, not chosen by me, compels me choose to
die to self. Flaming arrows of the evil one launched
against me call me to trust not in my strength
but in yours alone.
My ash-marked heart is yours, Most Loving One.
My soul sings of your justice and mercy, inseparable,
one from the other.
I stand by your power, not my own.
I stand in your purifying love.
I stand because of you.
I stand.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lenten Prayers

This Lent, I am working through a book entitled Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With my Pen. Each day, I am given a scripture, and then am invited to write a prayer. I'll be posting many, if not all, of my prayers here as time and internet access permit.

I pray for you a meaningful Lenten journey.

Ash Wednesday

Ezekiel 37:1-3

The valley, bowl of bones
prompts tears. I see
my life scattered there,
chipped, broken, dry.
How did I survive?
Harsh sun beat down
severe, unyielding.
Looking closer I see
ground beneath watered by
unseen Source, soaking,
seeping up, easing the dryness,
cupping the brokenness,
soothing, sustaining, shielding.
Can these bones live? Ah,
already they are coming to life!