Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prayer for Earth Day

Barbados beach
Prayer for Earth Day

Loving Creator, Blessed Savior, Holy Spirit: 
we praise You 
and bless You for all your marvelous gifts, 
and sing your praises in joyful thanksgiving. 

We thank You for the wind that stirs
the prairie grasses and treetops, 
the breath of the Earth as she carries us through space. 

We thank You for the whispered prayer of pines 
and the trilled alleluias of forest-birds. 

We thank You for the grandeur of canyons, 
and the patient power of water and wind to carve them. 

We thank You for the warm, hallowed earth 
that bears us in its embrace, 
pregnant and precious with new life and growth. 

We thank You for the mantle of sky 
that brings us breath, light and rain, 
a starry testament to the depth of your infinite love. 

We thank You for giving us today our daily bread, 
generously bestowed from your abundance,
drawn in our nets 
from the profligate beauty of earth and sea and sky. 

Most Merciful God, forgive us our vain strivings 
that have wounded, disquieted, and trammeled your creation.
Forgive us for our failure to love creation as You do.

Give us the eyes of children 
that we may see the wonders of your handiwork anew, 
O Holy One. 

Give us wisdom
to use our hands 
not vainly to mold and subdue your creation 
but heal it and tend it. 

Give us hearts 
to treasure and revere it 
as a sacred gift and trust. 

May we always remember that You formed us
in your likeness, 
made from the dust of stars 
and the richness of humus, 
the brine of the sea in our veins: 
of one being with all that is created.

May we remember that we are created
to be rooted in the land 
but long for your heavenly kingdom,
placed gently in the care of this Earth by You, O Creator.


Prayer 821

We praise your Wisdom, O God, that sings to us in creation! We thank You for this world in all its beauty and wonder. 

Teach us to be trustworthy stewards of your living Earth, to walk gently, reverently, and humbly upon it. May we remember that everywhere we stand is in the presence of the Almighty and is holy ground. 

Give us faith that grows as the grass in the meadows. Teach us to care for all of creation as brother, sister, mother, father-- making each others’ burdens our own. 

Let us, with all creation, rejoice together, work together, pray together, and mourn together. Send your healing Spirit upon the entire Earth, and especially for those for whom we now pray.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Prayer 820

Our praises rise before you, O God Most High;
Our prayers rise unto You, O Redeemer, Our Lord Jesus Christ;
Our fears we lay before you, O Holy and Eternal Abba, Father and Mother.
Our hopes we breathe in from your Eternal Love, O Savior;
Our resilience we draw from you, Abiding Holy Spirit, who lifts us and prepares us for our work in your kingdom today.
O Creator we turn into your embrace for solace and strength, and lay before you those needs for whom we pray.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Prayer 818: On the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

Photo of the Survivor Tree from the Oklahoma City Memorial website.

Holy One, we worship You in heart, mind, and body, and praise your glorious wisdom as we study your words in the dawn. 

Awaken us like those who dream to see your glory spread across the sky, to sing out your Name to all people. 

Give ear to the whispered prayers and sorrows of your people, especially those who worry or weep. Give your peace to those who miss lost loved ones, especially at the hands of terror and violence. 

Bring us to a deeper fellowship with You and one another, Almighty Savior, and bring our hearts to rest in You. Blessed Jesus, open our eyes to see You as You stand before us: in the face of friend and beggar, seeker and saint. 

Merciful One, pour out the balm of blessing on those we now name.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Prayer 817

We bow before You, O God, as rosy-fingered dawn paints the spring sky, and the whole Earth whispers "Alleluia! The curtain of the night sky is pulled back to reveal your glory: the depths of your love are everlasting. 

Holy One, we praise You for the blessings with which You shower us, awed by your glorious creation. Make us one body and one heart by the power of Your Spirit, O Lord, that we may serve You in unity and peace. Lord Christ, we turn toward You as a child is comforted in her Mother's arms: you are the rock of our salvation. 

Here we place our prayers and songs at your feet: gather in your loving embrace all who call out to You.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Prayer 815- on Yom Hashoah

Vad YaShem. Photo from wikipedia.

In Memoriam- Yom Hashoah
Holy God, You are with us at our rising and at our sleeping: hear our prayer.

There is a time and a season for everything, O Holy One: may we remember that our times are in your hand.

You have given us freedom: let us always use it to love You fully, and to love each other as our own flesh and blood.
You have given us hearts and minds: let us use them to serve You, and all humanity, and all creation with steadfast righteousness.
You have given us memory, for learning and for mourning: may we never forget those who are gone from us.

Merciful God, you give us reason and skill: may we use them to resist evil committed by us, and committed in our names.
You have called us with an undying love: may we turn to You and walk in your ways of peace and comradeship.

May we all sink deep our roots in the waters of life, and turn to your light to guide us, heal us, renew us in fellowship and compassion, especially as we pray for all victims of the unimaginable genocide of the Holocaust, 

may we never forget.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prayer 813

O Merciful One: with happy voices we praise You and bless You and magnify your Holy Name! May we rise from our beds with your praise upon our lips, treasuring your love and wisdom within our hearts. Make us a new creation, and forgive us all the wrongs we have done that we may be consecrated anew to your service. Nourish us with your truth, and strengthen us for our labors: may we greet the day with joy. Guide us in the paths of compassion and peace, and set us on fire to do your will. Hear our prayer as it rises like incense on the breath of morning, and look with favor upon our prayers and supplications.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Prayer 812

Almighty God, we lift up our eyes from all our worries and concerns, and behold your glory everywhere. The heavens proclaim your praises in the midnight sky as it subsides into dawn. The birds sing alleluias to the sun as the light reveals your manifold gifts you bestow with an open and generous hand. The scent of lilacs on the breeze acclaim your grace and compassion. 

Draw us into the life You intend for us, O God: to walk in justice, gentleness, and mercy throughout all our days. Let our lives testify to the healing love of Christ: may we allow your grace to sink into our bones and animate our hearts. Draw into your embrace those for whom we pray, for we know You are always near.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Art of Doubt, the Barrier of Disbelief

This was also posted at The Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on April 12, 2015.

The Art of Doubt, The Barrier of Disbelief

This is the second Sunday of Easter, which means it’s “Thomas Sunday.”  Today we will hear the story of how Jesus appeared to the disciples—all except Thomas. When he hears about Jesus’s miraculous appearance, he doesn’t believe until he sees with his own eyes.

Yet, when seen without caricature, Thomas has always had a heroic quality to him in my mind. He is willing to admit that he has doubt. He doesn’t keep those doubts to himself, which would have been easier and far more popular. Thomas is willing to give voice to his doubts. And when he gives voice to them, his needs are met. He DOES get to see Jesus. He does get the proof his doubtful mind needs. But remember, in the story we hear today, ALL the apostles were doubtful, or they would not have been afraid. None of them seemed to believe until they too had seen Jesus with their own eyes. Thomas is the one who is willing to admit the emotional crisis that all the apostles are feeling, which manifests itself in the locking of doors of the house where they were staying.

Some would say that we, too, live in a time of doubt. I wonder. Perhaps we should take it a step further. We seem to live in a time of disbelief. Shaped by the modern sensibility, we fear being seen as naïve, gullible, credulous.

Disbelief is the adamant unwillingness to be converted to a new reality, even when presented with evidence. Disbelief is the stopping of the ears to hear that which surrounds us. It is the stubborn rejection of the warnings of a traumatized planet, reeling from tons of pollutants and casual human disregard. Disbelief is the outlawing of any opinions that challenge one’s own beliefs. Disbelief snuffs out the light of inquiry and douses the wick with water.

Doubt, on the other hand, is the oxygen that can make the flame burn brighter. Doubt invites examination, and is willing to adapt to new information. Thomas stands in a long line of doubters in scripture, and none of THEM get the word “Doubting” attached like a title in front of their name. Abraham and Sarai heard the promises of God, and scoffed, even laughed. Gideon put God to all sorts of tests in the Book of Judges. Jeremiah tried to beg off from fulfilling the role of prophet, claiming youth and inexperience. Zacharias responded to the promise of a son with skepticism, and was struck silent.

When Thomas DOES see Jesus and see his wounds as proof, he exclaims “My Lord and My God!” He abandons his skepticism in the face of proof, and states the unthinkable—that Jesus is not just the Son of God, but IS God. Thomas’s doubt has led him further toward being a witness to who Jesus truly is. Thomas is wary, but still open to possibility.

We have much to learn from Thomas, because Thomas reflects the willingness to suspend stubbornness, and to allow the light of mystery to penetrate, bringing him to new understanding and enlightenment, remaking what he has previously  known.  Thomas may doubt, but he is willing to admit that he does not know everything. He is willing to be shaped and reformed in light of revelation, and to open himself to a new understanding of reality. Thomas is willing to own up to being human.

May we also be willing to doubt. May we be willing to suspend disbelief enough to see and hear what is right before us.  May we make a space within our imaginations to receive new truths, allowing them to break in and reshape what we think we know.

Prayer 811

Most Merciful God, we are drawn before your altars by our joy, praising You for all your compassion and tender love that makes us whole. Tune our hearts to sing a new song, that we may lift our voices in harmony to sing out your glory. Make our hearts fertile fields for your wisdom, Lord Christ, blooming as all of creation witnesses to your truth. Give us the strength and faith to seek You in all our questions, and to rest in You as the source of all goodness. Lord, we turn to You in hope: send your Spirit upon those for whom we pray.