Thursday, August 27, 2015

Prayer 947

In gratitude we come before You, O God, with hearts that seek to serve You in constancy and devotion. Forgive us, we pray, for our hard-heartedness and resistance to your call to love You and each other fully. Free us from the suspicions that shackle us in fear and turmoil. May we put our hand in yours as little children, and give glory to You always. Let us look upon the world You have given us in wonder and gratitude, and be devoted to its care. Secure within the embrace of your unending mercy, O Holy One, may we turn into the arms of our God and Savior. Hear the prayers of your children, Almighty God, and place your blessing upon those we now name.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Prayer 946

In peace, we bow before You, Most Holy One, and give you thanks and praise: Lord, hear our prayer. In our remorse, we ask forgiveness and renewal for our wrongs, for our stubbornness in turning from your way: Lord, hear our prayer. In our cares and concerns, we rest upon your steadfast love for us, trusting in your companionship: Lord, hear our prayer. In our joys, we sing out to You a new song, Lord God, for all the blessings you have provided: Lord, hear our prayer. From all the corners of the Earth, let us lift our hearts and our prayers to our Creator, as we ask your blessing upon those we name.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prayer 945

Lord Jesus Christ, we cast ourselves into your embrace, giving thanks for your abiding love. We are encompassed in your tender embrace, O Savior, and we rest beneath the wings of the Spirit. May we repent of all our sins and stubborn pride, turning again toward the path of mercy and justice. May we open ourselves to allow the Breath of God to expand and fill our hearts. May we renew our commitment to the bonds of peace and the call of forgiveness to operate freely in our lives. Trusting in your abundant grace, O Creator and Redeemer, we ask your blessing upon those whose needs weigh upon our hearts.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Prayer, Day 944

Holy Redeemer, we lift our voices in praise of your sheltering canopy of love that you spread above us as deep and broad as the night sky. You have carried us through the darkness to deliver us upon the shore of hope and faith. Set us firmly upon your path of holiness and justice; make your way broad and clear before our eyes that we may not stray from You. Renew our souls that we be truly one in your Spirit of wisdom and truth. Bend near, O Holy One; for while there is breath we will sing out our thanksgivings for your mercy and loving-kindness. Hold us within the palm of your hand, O Love Eternal; especially those we now name.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just Like That: Speaking to the Soul, August 23, 2015

This was posted on Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on August 23, 2015.

Camp Phoenix 2015 Eucharist with Bishop Wayne Smith.
Just like that: from leaden skies rain materializes, determinedly tracing a straight path to the ground. Then the trees begin murmuring louder as the raindrops grow larger and more percussive on the leaves, and the hummingbirds dash for shelter under the leaves of the Rose of Sharon, which are exactly the same size as their bodies. The bees tuck themselves inside the pink, white, and lavender blooms. And everything waits. This will pass. 

Just like that: your heart beats a steady rhythm in your chest, you breathe in and out thousands of times each day, air scented with the slightest tinge of wet grass and jasmine and crushed marigold and maybe even wet dog if you’re lucky. Just for a moment you KNOW the beating of that heart, the miracle that drives it steadily on, bringing you each precious moment working in tandem with each precious breath.

Just like that: someone sings a song, and the words seem addressed directly to you. Or a painting glows with an inner fire, and you stop and take a really long look, so that when you close your eyes even minutes later, you can see a negative impression of the image against your eyelids, still glowing even as it fades into memory. Something inside you begins to unclench and unfurl and knit itself back together. And suddenly everything shifts in your perception, what was unclear comes into focus, and you feel a spark within you catch and begin to grow into a hopeful flame. 

For five weeks now we have been taking a detour into the Gospel of John and the teachings on Jesus as the bread of life. Just like that, in John’s gospel for this Sunday, the disciples are confounded by Jesus’s sayings about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Some of them recoil in bewildered hurt, blinking their eyes as if emerging from a dream into bright sunlight. The dream they had awakened from was the dream that Jesus would be a warrior king like David, perhaps; and walking in the footsteps of his royal ancestor he would vanquish all the foes of the Jews and sit once again in splendor upon a throne. His glory would be the people’s glory. 

Some in the crowd now wonder if they haven’t been following a madman rather than a prophet, a healer, a miracle-worker. Just like that, his sayings HAVE proven too hard for some of his followers. They have not signed on for this.  To drink blood and to eat flesh is unimaginable. They asked for bread, and Jesus seems to be giving them stones. Worse than stones, actually, they think. Jesus speaks matter-of-factly to them about bewildering mysteries when they were asking for another miraculous sign. Moses, they said, laid out feasts in the wilderness. We want bread just like that. They wanted manna, the bread of angels, but to their minds Jesus instead gives them riddles. And so, many leave.

But a few remain. "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."

The ones who leave and the ones who stay do not yet understand that, better than loaves and crumbs, Jesus is offering himself to them—and to us. Too often, we too, bustle about and want things NOW, and we miss the blessings laid before us. Too often we approach the altar and wonder if the wafers will be stale or the wine too dry or not dry enough. Yet Jesus, the Holy One of God, who was and is and ever shall be, stands before us, too, asking to be allowed in, to feed us in a way that sustains us. To see that all we have that really lasts is made not of flour or rice or grape, but of the wondrous, self-giving love revealed to us throughout creation. Jesus is calling us to the table not just so that we can be fed but so that we can love and know that we are loved ourselves. This love is what brings life to the world a true banquet spread before us in the wilderness. All that we need is here. Let us taste, and not just see, but believe and know. Just like that.

Prayer 943

With joy we come before your altars, O God, and lift our voices in song and praise for your saving love! Let us turn our faces to the rising sun, and be thankful for all that God is doing for us: Lord, hear our prayer. 

Holy One, you set the planets and stars in their courses: guide us into pathways of truth and love. Fill us with the fire of the Spirit that we may live out the gospel before the world. Let our love for our Savior unite us into a community of peace and hope. Give us strength to use our lives to heal, to comfort, to bless just as we ourselves have been cared for by You, Lord Christ. 

Merciful God, place the hand of blessing over those whose hope is in You.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Prayer, Day 942

O God, look with favor upon your servants today. Let us turn our hearts toward those who, in the midst of plenty, are in want in body or soul. Let us hunger for justice and redemption as much as we hunger for food. Let us remember how love has blessed us in our lives, and let go of discontent and rancor. Help us to stop building a mountain of our resentments, and dwell instead within the mansion of our blessings. Give your protection to those who are in danger from cold hearts this day, and let us work to give them shelter as our own. Comfort those whose needs we bring before You.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Prayer 941

We pray to You, O Savior, and lift up our hearts and hopes with the rising sun. Breathe on us, Spirit of God, and inspire us to serve You with our whole hearts. Take us by the hand as your children, O Holy One: may we take hold of your wisdom and truth. May we open our hearts and fill them with good things from You, O God: justice, peace, mercy, equity, forgiveness. May we be held within your embrace, and healed by your loving-kindness and grace, O Love Unending. Hear our prayers that we raise to You, and place your blessing upon those we now name.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Prayer 940

Lord, make us conduits of peace and healing today. Bring us to repentance for our blindness to the pain of others, for the pain we have caused and the pain we have ignored. Discomfort us and disturb us, O God, that we may open our hearts to compassion, empathy, and insight. Bless those who work for peace rather than vengeance and for unity rather than division. Bless the hands, hearts, and minds of doctors, nurses, and caregivers as they care for those who are ill or in pain. Give strength and comfort to those who rest within the grace and love of the Almighty, especially those we now name.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Prayer 939

O Creator God, we thank you for this beautiful Earth You have made as our abode. We thank you for the family of humanity in all the places we call home. Help us to know and celebrate the common bonds that unite us regardless of race, creed, wealth, or nationality. We thank you for those who care for the lost, who comfort the sick, who welcome the stranger. Help us cherish each other and learn from each other, tied together in mutuality as Your beloved children. Strengthen those who sorrow or who hurt or who fear, especially these we now name.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Prayer 938

In thankfulness, we pray to You, O God, for You have shielded and comforted us through the night. May we draw near our Shepherd, and answer him as he calls, renewing our hearts. 

Place your hand over us, O Holy One, that we may be guided and preserved as we walk in faith this day. We pray for peace in our hearts, peace in our country and peace among nations: may justice and equity be our guide. Help us to see the glorious face of Christ in all we see, and honor the dignity of every person. Plant within us a thirst for your law and a desire to live in gratitude for all your blessings, O Creator and Redeemer. 

Gather within your embrace all those who seek You, O Merciful One, and lend your aid to those we now name.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Prayer 937

O Light Eternal, illumine my way: let me take counsel in your courts; let me seek wisdom at your feet. Let me walk in the company of saints and holy ones, that I may be instructed in right pathways for living. 

Turn my heart to be a fertile field to receive the seeds of your instruction, O Holy One. Make me a disciple in deed as well as word, O God: help me grow in grace and compassion. Tune my ear to hear the melody of your Word sung out in holy fellowship, that my life sing out your praise. 

Draw us to your altar in brotherhood and peace: make us a holy and priestly people for your glory, Almighty God. From the depths of our hearts we offer you our prayers: extend your blessing over all creation.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Prayer 936

Most merciful God, gather your people together like flowers in a field, that we may sing out the beauty of creation! Feed our hearts and minds with the bread that never perishes, that we may drink deeply of your love and abundant mercy. For the glory of our Lord and Savior, lead us into repentance, and renew a right heart within us, we pray. Give us grace to follow your paths of peace and compassion, making each others' burdens our own. Wrap us in the mantle of righteousness, that we may be disciples in word and deed as we go forth from your courts, rejoicing. Send your Holy Spirit to set us aflame with a desire to serve you, O God, and bless and keep those we now remember.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Prayer 935

Holy Lord Christ, rise within us as we face the new day, and help us turn our hearts and minds to You. 

We bow before the Sacred Mystery of grace and love abundant, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit that blows through our lives. We open our hearts to be filled with the love to which we are beckoned: make us worthy vessels for your truth, O God. May we follow the way of compassion modeled by our brother Jesus; may we be healed and renewed by the bonds of love. 

Our whispered prayers rise before You, O Holy One: send the balm of your mercy and grace upon those we now name.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Prayer 934- Feast Day of Jonathan Myrick Daniels, martyr

Holy One, we turn our eyes to you as we rise to face a new day: blessed and holy be your Name. Give us the courage to turn our hearts and amend our lives from selfishness or envy, and forgive us our failings. Our times are in your hand- you know our rising up and our laying down to rest: guide us this day, we pray. Help us to follow in the paths of saints and martyrs, that we may work to build your kingdom on earth. Divine Spirit, hallow and bless us this day, and spread the wings of your abundant love over those we now name.