Prayer for an end

Unfailing heart,

walk with me
on this path not made yet.

Make as you do
of this darkness
evening and morning,
a day.

Let this end
unfold
as you yourself become

and with me
rise anew.

   —June 4, 2018

 

The light, not the jar

         We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ...
         It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
         who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge
         of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
         But we have this treasure in clay jars,
         so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power
         belongs to God and does not come from us.
         We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed....
                  —2 Corinthians 4.5-8


Here is the secret to happiness:
you are not the jar.
You are the light.

The jar cracks and breaks.
The light spills out.
Nothing can hurt the light.




Breath prayer:

Godly ∙ ray

June 1, 2018

Original One

         Original One,
you for whom so may things
are our desperate substitute,
the only
         One Thing
at the heart of all things,
who we abandon
for so many replicas,

I am astonished
at your abundant generosity,
on this street watching so many
kinds of beauty,
         you

endlessly
         in us
replicating
yourself.

    —May 31, 2018

 

I sat down to my prayers

I sat down to my prayers
and I heard angels singing at the window.

I got up to look
and there was only light.

I returned and there was
a lion sleeping in my chair.

I let my prayers
go where they will.

My prayers are wild,
I do not argue with them.

Beloved, you bend over my chair
and behold your likeness.

   —May 30, 2018

Do good or do harm

         Jesus said to them, “Is it lawful
         to do good or to do harm on the sabbath,
         to save life or to kill?”
         But they were silent.
         He looked around at them with anger;
         he was grieved at their hardness of heart

               —Mark 3.4-5

Harm is being done by racism, violence and greed.
Unless you resist it, you assist it.
There is no neutral position.

Is it faithful to let evil go on,
or to stand against it?
Silence is hardness of heart.

Does your faith lead you
to tolerate it, or to intervene?
There is no neutral position.

Evil will tolerate your anguish
as long as you tolerate evil.

In no choice do you save the world,
but in every choice you do good or do harm.

God give us the faith and courage
not merely to lament the harm we do,
but to do good.

   —May 29, 2018

Memorial Day

To honor soldiers who have died
is to confess the monster of our violence.
Regardless of how noble,
they are victims of our fear and rage.

Remember fallen soldiers,
and those who have fallen at the hands of soldiers,
those who have given their lives
and those who have taken,
those who have served in war,
and those who have served in peace,
giving of themselves without violence
for the sake of justice.

Let this be a day not of celebration
but repentance.
In memory of all who have died
by the violence of nations,
we pray for peace
and live in peace.

   —Memorial Day, 2018

 

Open

O Holy Trinity,
you who are beyond all,
and at the heart of everything,
and living in me,
I open myself to you.

You are the Lover
and the Beloved
and the Love flowing between.
I am yours,
and part of you.

O, Thou Mystery,
I give you my wonder.
All I seek to understand
I set aside,
only to be present in you.

O Beloved Presence,
I confess my need.
You are kind,
saving me
from what is brittle.

O Flowing Grace,
your compassion for all beings
is already in me.
I release my small desires
and open myself,
a clear and wiling vessel
for your infinite beauty, patience,
love, courage, and delight.

   —May 25, 2018

 

Spirit of adoption

         You did not receive a spirit of slavery
         to fall back into fear,

         but you have received a spirit of adoption.
               —Romans 8.15

You have a Word to speak,
         a song to sing,
         word of yourself, song of God.

The stage awaits you.
         What are you afraid of?

They won't like your word?
         So? Their likes, hidden from you,
         are already different from yours.

You aren't a slave to their likes.
         You only imagine those chains.

You fear they won't like you.
         You'll be all alone, unloved.

Child, you are already adopted:
         chosen, belonging, beloved.

What can they do to that?

Remember whose you are
         and
         sing.

   —May 24, 2018

 

Newborn again

         No one can see the Realm of God
         without being born again from above.

               —John 3.3

Womb-nestled, bathed in God,
wrapped in heart-throb, heart-warmed
in umbilical darkness.

Waiting without knowing for the unknown,
unaware of boundarylessness,
enslumbered, unimagining.

Then, unwilled, thrust and kneaded,
potter-thrown and pushed by pulsing music,
through a grave-thin valley shriven.

Drawn by darkness into light,
uttered out into the world,
choiceless, falling into the air.

So much ceased or left behind, or cut,
the warm and safe, contained,
the unknown known of who you were.

Borne, bare and blinking into brightness,
into arms, into hope, into a life
reaching out in all directions.

Needy, nursed, and crying, held,
a stranger, named, a pain and a delight,
set free and still belonging.

New and tender, weak, at risk,
unknowing, small, and wondering,
the only wisdom learning.

Beginning, now, and now again,
each breath, a birth of love,
and God alone your mother,

each of you the center of the other's life,
both changed, both rapt, and bound,
your calling now to be, and hers to love.

Held in her arms through every wind.
Borne on her back,
and carried where she wills.

   —May 23, 2018

 

Send me

         Then I heard the voice of the Holy One saying,
         “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?”
         And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

               —Isaiah 6.8

I am an unclean person, living among the unclean.
Our complicity in oppression and injustice is deep.
Our privilege is an entrenched addiction.
No angel can cauterize my racism with a single burn.
No single vision can open my eyes all the way.
But I can be led. I can grow. I can risk for God.
I can let the Spirit light my fuse and send me out
to witness, to speak out, to proclaim justice.

My resistance to public witness is my resistance to the Spirit.
That's the limit of my faith, the edge of how far I'm willing
to be guided by the Spirit, to experience God,
to be vulnerable for the sake of the vulnerable, to be born again.
Out on the street, speaking your mercy, at the limit of my power,
there is where I will be born again, a new person,
a dependent infant in your strong and loving arms.

Your Spirit burns in me, and either it burns me up,
or it sends me out with light and warmth to the people.
Yes, I am unworthy. Yes, I am unprepared.
Yes, I am a little afraid. But send me.
Touch me with your fire, and send me.

   —May 22, 2018

Cups of water

We who live by compassion
are so small in this world.
It seems sometimes as if
we face a forest fire
of fear and violence
with little paper cups of love.

They appear like magic tricks
in trembling hands,
not much, just little cups,
but we offer them,
the great baptismal, birthing flow
in little cups, mere drops
of God
that flood the world,
that never run out.
 

May 21, 2018

Sighs too deep

         We do not know how to pray as we ought,
         but the Spirit prays in us with sighs
         too deep for words.

               —Romans 8.26


Deeper than my words,
deeper than my knowing,
Spirit, pray in me.

I open the door of my heart for you.
I hold the arms of my spirit open for you.
Welcome. Spirit, pray in me.

I only hold the space.
I do not hear your prayers,
your sighs too deep for my hearing.

I do not know how to pray.
I only know how to be still,
Spirit, as you pray in me.

   —May 18, 2018

Paraclete

         I will send you an Advocate from God,
         the Spirit of truth who comes from God,
         who will testify on my behalf.

               —John 15.26

When we say God is our judge
we really imagine God as prosecutor, judge and jury.
But Jesus says he will send us the Spirit,
usually translated “Advocate” or “Comforter.”
The word John uses is paraclete.
Paraclete is a Greek word meaning "one called along side of."
Originally it meant a "legal assistant.”

God is on our side.
God is not the judge or prosecutor or jury:
God is our defense attorney.

When you judge yourself, God doesn't.
God believes in you, and is on your side.
As you face the challenges of your day
trust that God defends you.

The truth the Spirit begins with
is the love of God and your belovedness.
Even if Jesus is no longer here to speak for you,
the Spirit will testify on behalf of Jesus
in your defense.

The Spirit says: “You can do this.
I've got your back.”

   —May 17, 2018

 

Tongues

         They began to speak in other languages,
         as the Spirit gave them ability.

               —Acts 2.4

I send these posts out daily through an email server.
Turns out it has a monthly message maximum.
Once I hit it, I try saying something, but the words don't get out.
I hit “send,” but it doesn't go.
So nothing went out for a week.

I wonder if God ever feels like I did?
What if God wants to express love but we're not transmitting it?
What if God is still doing Pentecost?
What if God wants to say something through you?
Is it getting spoken? Is it getting sent?
What if you are the Word God is trying to get out?
What if you are the language in which God expresses love?
What if there are ways, even beyond your own knowing,
that others hear God's good news through your life?

Listen deeply.
Speak boldly.
You are the blank page of the letter,
and God is the writer.

         You are a letter of Christ...
         written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
         not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
                  
—2 Corinthians 3.3

   —May 16, 2018

 



 

Something true

Something is true,
more true than most,
more to the root:
the love that founds you,
the joy that finds you
the peace that frees you
in the being beneath your doing.
It is the sun of the sunrise of you,
the song
that gives the singing of your life.
Let it be the music you dance to,
the drumbeat of your journey.
Let it be the path you're on.
Let it be the one heart that believes
what is worth believing,
the one ear that hears
what is true in others.
It married you long ago.
Renew your vows and stay faithful.
If you lose it,
stop and listen.
Go with it, always with it.
Trust it deeper than any thing else,
except maybe the voice that utters it.

May 9, 2018

 

 

Open the windows

Love, open me to this day.
This is a day.
I need no words or categories─
rain or sun, clouds or wind─
only to see it, to feel it.
I want only to be open to this day, this moment.
I release all desire and attachment
to it being otherwise, to being elsewhere.
Open the windows of my heart
and throw back the curtains
to let this day in.
To notice and receive.
To be in this day,
shields down,
eyes open,
hands ready to be yours.
Love, open me.
Amen.

―May 8, 2018

 

 

Holding Oliver

I remember as a young father
holding little Daniel,
only months out of the swimming darkness,
late nights, early mornings,
feeling like a pitcher poured out,
incredulous that he was not as sleepy as I,
holding him as he wrestled with the dark
and stayed awake, I wrestling with the dark
and not staying awake, staggering
up and down the hallway, or half-slumbering
in the wooden rocker, waiting for rest
for both of us,
wondering if I'd live through it.

Awakening me before dawn,
playing at nothing,

his son holds me against the strange dark,
holds me, soothing:
Don't worry Grandpop,
you will die,
and I will go on.

―May 7, 2018


 

Miracle

Every moment a miracle is placed in your hands.
It may be a flowering tree
you are free to notice or not,
or a sink of dishes,
it may be someone's feelings,
or a newborn child,
or simply the unfolding of this moment.
Every moment there is another.

It is a revelation from God.
Attend, be amazed, give care,
and give thanks.


Granddaughter Maggie
came into the world yesterday.
She hasn't been placed in my hands,
but the moment has.

May 4, 

Patience

Patience is not merely waiting;
it's peace.
This moment is part of the story.

Hope is not merely wishing;
it's trust.
The unseen is as real as the seen,

On this gracefully turning planet
the sun is already rising.





Breath prayer:

Now … the miracle

-- May 3, 2018

Expectant

We are awaiting the birth of a grandchild.
We expect it's a girl. That's all we know.
But we already love her.
Already anticipate her, want her,
want the best for her,
hope for her what she can't yet imagine.
She can't see us, know us, suspect us.
But here we are, and our delight is real.

She hasn't been born yet,
but she's real. She's alive.

She's here. Just hidden.
But growing, listening.

You are here, even the part of you
about to be born again,
still becoming, still unseen.
And there is One you can't see
or know or understand, who delights in you,
wants you, wants the best for you,
hopes for you what you can't imagine.

Every one of us is so loved,
our arrival, even as we become,
so anticipated, by a God
so expectant.

   —May 2, 2018