Monday, August 31, 2015

Prayer 951

We thank You, O God, for sending your angels to watch over us, for night is now past, and the hope of a new day envelops us. Revive the spirits of those who are faltering, and strengthen the will of those who persevere over trouble, we humbly pray. May we always remember that You are with us, the Ground and Source of our Being, O Holy One. Purify our hearts that we may glorify You in all we do, Lord Christ, that we may unite ourselves to You in love and service. Send your Spirit to hover over us, O Almighty One, to unify us as one people dedicated to your truth and wisdom. Holy One, we remember unto You these beloveds, and ask that your grace rest upon them.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sermon for Proper 17B: Let's Talk About Love

On my final Sunday at Holy Communion, I was presented with a custom alb (from England!) and a very generous check to help defray my seminary studies at Eden.


After many, many, MANY weeks of hearing about the rise of the monarchy in Israel, in particular of the House of David, it suddenly seems like our lectionary has taken a weird turn this Sunday. We just got finished hearing about the building of the Temple, and now suddenly, there’s this chunk of love poetry that seems to celebrate midnight rendezvous and peeping toms. Where is this coming from?

The connection is in the name of the book: the Song of Solomon. This is a name that was given to this collection of poetry rather early in its life as scripture, and it was named that because, supposedly, it was written by King Solomon. In scriptural studies, this book is placed in the category known as “wisdom literature.” That may seem strange, too, given that this book is a collection of rather frank love poetry. But perhaps there is something to that. Perhaps, as our epistle from James reminds us, the exercise of wisdom means nothing unless it is rooted in love.

Now, there are many suggested interpretations for the Song of Solomon. On its face, it celebrates the love and eagerness two people can feel to be united with each other in the deepest way possible. It is a testimony to intimate love, to the joy and delight we can take in every aspect of our beloveds.

Other scholars, throughout history, have claimed that the Song of Solomon is really NOTHING MORE than an allegory about the love God has for Israel, or that Christ has for the Church. Perhaps they were embarrassed by some of the frank allusions to physical intimacy within its chain of interwoven love poems. Perhaps they were shocked by the honest expression of desire by a feminine voice.

The Church itself has often trod gingerly around this book, with its frank appreciation of breasts and succulent fruit and references to young stags, shying away from attending to the Song in all but the most cursory manner. That might be why the only snippet we get from the Song of Solomon in the Revised Common Lectionary is this one here— this relatively tame part known as “Springtime Rhapsody,” which spends way more time talking about flowers and figs and turtledoves than about lying on a couch with your lover’s hand behind your head, which is also frankly discussed in the verses of this book.

Now, having been a teacher of adolescents for 27 years, I know I am taking a risk in talking about things like that from the pulpit. There are some of you who may walk out of here today only remembering that I preached about sex today even though that is the first time I have said that word out loud.

So far.

Maybe some of you are going to be pulling out your Bibles later and taking a look at this entire Book to check it out-- to see if there are any naughty bits. (And there are!)    And that’s great too!

But what I really want to address is love. It’s too easy in our culture to talk about these two topics—sex and love (there! I said it again! I’m doomed!)—as if they are absolutely divorced from each other. We live in a culture awash in sexual imagery in movies, TV shows, and music. But at the very same time our culture is starved of acknowledgment of open-hearted empathy and affection—
real love, that doesn’t seek to gain anything but takes pleasure in being with someone. Love that seeks to serve and treasure each other in all our differences, even with our flaws.

What joins these two separate subjects—sex and love-- together, however, is intimacy. It is being willing to be with someone and not just accept but celebrate them in all their glories and all their flaws—and to be willing to see that everyone has both of those things—glories and flaws—but still, we love them anyway.

Thus, I wonder if both camps of scholars aren’t right. Perhaps, as Episcopal theologian Ellen Davis notes, the Song of Solomon isn’t the least biblical book in the Bible, but the MOST biblical book. Maybe the Song of Solomon is the most biblical book-- because it celebrates the expression of love as God made us to love:
as we have been made to love each other, and
as we have been made to love God, and
as God most assuredly loves us.

That deeply.
That completely.
That fully.

It goes against the grain for many of us to talk about how much we love each other, how we feel a pull to open our hearts and souls to others. It’s hard to maintain a stance against the values of this world, and instead be willing to put others first over our own immediate advantage; to be willing to enjoy and delight in the beauty within each and every person (even when they sometimes drive us nuts),and to know that we all are worthy of love and respect and even celebration, no matter our different circumstances.

Society tells us that individualism and self-interest should be the basis for every decision--     even as we live alongside thousands, millions, even billions of other people. But some of us long for something more.

The Song of Solomon reminds us that THIS is exactly how we have been made. We have been made to love— made to love each other, and made to love God.

As people of faith and seekers along the way, we feel our way in the darkness of the modern world toward embracing this hidden truth. We hope we find a place that can give us the freedom to be this vulnerable, and many of us search in vain a long time for a place where you can totally be yourself before others and before God. It’s not every day you find a place where you can love and be loved in safety.

But that very search is what drew me and my family to Holy Communion in the first place, over 14 years ago. The ability of the people in this congregation to love each other—even through trials, even through disagreement, even across racial, political, geographic, and economic differences. So I want to talk about love, about intimacy, about delighting in each other, especially as it is practiced in this parish.

You know, some people in this diocese don’t get this parish. I don’t know if you know it, but some people call us “Holy Commotion.” Others even go so far as to call us “Holy Confusion.”

Listen—I think they’re just jealous. I prefer to think that this is a parish that is so rooted in love of God and love of each other that we leave lots of spaces for contemplation and commotion in equal measure.

But they are WRONG when they call us “Holy Confusion.” When stuff goes off the rails around here, we are ANYTHING but confused! This is not new ground for us, people!
We are, instead, Masters of Adaptation and Improvisation. They’re jealous, I tell you!

I mean, after all, who can remember how many times we have been in the middle of worship and the lights—and worse, the air conditioning-- have gone out? Remember those times? And we just keep right on rolling. Who needs lights or conditioned air, anyway, when we are lifting our hands and our hearts up to each other and to God?

Who can remember all the times we have planned worship in the park only to forget that the rainy season in tropical St. Louis comes in the late summer and early spring, and that there is no fall around here but a headlong dive into winter? I sometimes wonder if the weather forecasters in town look to see if Holy Communion is planning an outdoor service before they forecast rain.

But it doesn’t matter where we are—what matters is that we are praying together, and loving God and each other together.

We are a people who work together to solve problems, and they happen so often that they have made us a well-oiled machine, my friends!    Like that time a couple of weeks ago when the binder on the lectern nearly caught on fire because it had been shoved too close to one of the torches—no one panics, but eyes meet, unspoken words are exchanged, and voila! Problems are solved.

We’re not confused—we’re PROBLEM SOLVERS. We need to OWN that!

We worship over tornado sirens, elevator alarms, joyful children’s happy singing, forgotten cell phone ringtones, the gremlin that sometimes possesses the organ and makes it moan, and indoor waterfalls when the gutters fail. We worship together in the liturgy, because that literally means, “the work of the people.”

There’s a story told about Blessed John the XXIII, the Pope who presided over the reforms in the Catholic Church known as Vatican II.

Supposedly, once a journalist asked him,  “Your Holiness, how many people work in the Vatican?”

The pope thought for a second, and answered, “About half of them.”

But that’s not how it is around here. We are all hard at work building the kingdom. We just don’t call it work. We call it love.

Each and every one of us does things to be the hands, feet, or face of Christ to others in this parish and in the greater world. And we take care of each other—
take each other grocery shopping or to doctor’s appointments, march for racial justice,
make each other casseroles,
visit and call each other when we are sick or in hospital,
listen to each other as we try to discern God’s call in our lives, attend each others’ children’s recitals and plays
and just with each other in a ministry of presence.

We welcome fellow worshipers with such thoroughness that the peace around here can make the Super Bowl halftime show look like a third grade skit.

We have laughed together, mourned together, prayed together, and sang together. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. And that love may look like commotion to some people—but that commotion is filled with joy, with intimacy, with humor--
with celebration of each other as beloved children of God.

It’s not the orderliness and predictability that bring us here each Sunday. It’s the love.

While we ARE Episcopalians, we here at Holy Communion have our priorities in the right place. Just as in the gospel this morning, our focus is on feeding the soul and loving each other, not in finding fault or criticizing HOW things get done. We’re just focused on the happy fact that stuff gets done somehow!

And each Sunday the tide of love draws us in to worship and pray together, to be fed in body and soul,
and then we are sent forth by that same tide, to carry that love and worship into a world that is flat-out starving for it.

As the Song of Solomon reminds us, we are a people with spring forever in our hearts, because we are rooted in love for each other and love for God. We have weathered the winter, and we have weathered storms, and we are held together through it all by love, and gentleness, and laughter, and joy.

Whether you believe it is a love song between two people or a love song from a God who loves us so much that she yearns for us passionately, the Song of Solomon reminds us that love IS the greatest thing in the world, and it calls us out of ourselves and our concerns to embrace each other and God, to put our hands in each other’s and walk forward, in faith and hope.

Listen! A voice is calling to us!

“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.”

Let us go forth to love, and be loved.


(Note: this sermon was given on my final Sunday before leaving my home parish to begin a field placement at a new parish as part of my seminary studies.)

Prayer 950

Holy One, illumine our hearts and minds with your holy wisdom, love, and charity; may joy rise in our hearts with the morning sun. 

May we trace the pilgrims' way with our feet, that we may be led into your good pastures of grace, O God. May we clasp hands in unity, united in your love, and know the peace of God by offering ourselves to You, O Savior. May we sing out God's praises with our whole being, and gather around your altar with gratitude for your many blessings. May we hear your call to us in the cry of the oppressed, and work to build your kingdom in our hearts and in our communities. 

Shine the light of your countenance upon us, O Lover of Souls, and extend your peace to those for whom we pray.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Prayer 949

Blessed be the day the Lord has made, and may we give honor and praise to our Creator whose love never ceases. Let us join our voices with angels and archangels, and sing to the tune of creation that continues around us. 

O God, You are the source of life and light: lift us up, we pray, that we may worship You in holiness. Accept and cleanse our hearts, overflowing with gratitude for all You have done for us, O Savior. Unite us with one another in love and truth, that we may do your work with a song on our lips, Lord Christ. Renew a right spirit with us, O Holy One, and consecrate us to your household, that we may dwell in peace. 

Envelop your children in a cloud of blessing, O God, and place your hand upon those for whom we pray.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Prayer 948

As the morning sun blesses us with light, we rise to ring out praises to our God: Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Lead us into the path of life, O Most Holy Spirit, for we need your tender care and guidance. Settle us into the crook of your arm, Almighty One, for we are prone to wander and worry. You are our strength and our stronghold: send us forth, renewed and fired with joy, to do your work in the world, O God. Give us courage in the face of adversity, and hope in the face of struggles: Lord Jesus, may we walk with you this day. We lift our prayers and praises before You, O Lord: spread your sheltering wings over those for whom we pray.


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.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Prayer 933

Blessed Redeemer, we are your beloved children. You are patient and forgiving when we are foolish; you watch and hope for us even when we turn our backs on you. You clothe us in your love and righteousness even after we fall away the path we should follow. 

Thank you for embracing us even in our shortcomings, and help us to forgive others as you have forgiven us. Extend your hand to us again, loving God, and grant your protection to those for whom we pray.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prayer 932

Precious Lord, lead us into your truth and beauty this day. Let us sing out our awe and wonder at your generous love for us, and give us grace to do your will, O God. May we show forth your mercy in each action we take today, and reflect the love you have given us into the world. Teach us the wisdom of love and respect for all living things, and draw us into one body in your Name. Draw us before your throne, O Loving One, and extend the shade of your blessing over those we now name.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Prayer 931

Lord, let us come to You as little children with open, wondering hearts filled with hope and peace. 

Let us lay aside our hardness of heart and turn to You, who calls us to stand beside the oppressed. Help us to see the light of God shining from the faces of those around us, for You are God of All. 

Strengthen us to build a firm foundation of justice and empathy that we may be united to one another through You, O Holy One. Lord Christ, You opened your arms to us upon the cross: let us turn into your embrace with faithfulness and hope. Bless those whose cares we lay before You, O Loving God.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Prayer 930- On Moral Monday

Bishop Wayne Smith at a march on August 14, 2015 in Ferguson.

Loving one, we rejoice in thy manifold blessings upon us, and give You praise and homage. 

Lead us, O Mighty God, in the paths You would have us go. Give us eyes to see the way even when light is dimmed or brambles catch at our heels. Keep our feet upon the paths of righteousness, illuminated always by your loving-kindness and mercy. Carry us upon your shoulders, O Shepherd, when our strength flags, and let your love encourage us to set out anew. 

Unite us in our common bond as your children, bearing each other's sorrows and celebrating each other's joys. By the miracle of your grace, we lift up those whose needs we cradle within our hearts.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Prayer 929- On the anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown

Deaconess Anne House interns and others at a protest over the killing of Michael Brown on August 14, 2014.

Lord Jesus Christ, we ask your blessing upon us today: let us worship you in holiness and follow in your ways. 

Let us pluck out the weeds of fear, mistrust, and scorn, and sow empathy and love in our hearts. 
Let us remember your manifold mercies to us, O Holy One, lest we act in anger and hatred to any. 
Let us raise our hands and open our hearts to each other in peace, and embrace each other in compassion. 
Let us walk in pathways of brotherhood and equity, and tear down all that divides us. 
Let your grace flow into us, O God, as cool summer rain blesses and satisfies a dry and thirsty ground. 

Comfort those who mourn, O Lord, and succor those who thirst for peace and equality. Savior and Redeemer, take up your home within our hearts, and place the seal of your blessing upon these, your children.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Prayer 928

Today is the 21st birthday of my beautiful daughter!

O Creator, draw us deeper into fellowship with You through your grace and mercy.
May the Breath of God kindle and revive the fire of discipleship in our hearts.
May the Light of Christ illuminate our inmost thoughts and direct them to You, O God.
May the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit send us forth as joyful witnesses of God's glory.
May the Love of our Savior transform us into the Beloved Community, united as one, as You are One, O Holy Trinity.

Rejoicing in our manifold blessings and mindful of our reliance upon You, We lift up these loved ones to You.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Prayer 927

O Holy, Blessed, Abiding One: Great are your mercies, and greatly to be praised is your truth! We give thanks for your steadfast and patient instruction, for your teachings that seek to lead us into peace. We give thanks for the beauty of your creation, for the earth that supports our feet and the skies that elicit our wonder. Help us to walk faithfully in the paths of your wisdom, and live into the life you have called us. Help us to dwell in gentleness, patience, and compassion with every living thing. Almighty God, we depend upon your grace and celebrate your abounding love: place the shield of your blessing over those we now name.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Prayer 926

Icon from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Egypt.

On the Transfiguration
Lord Jesus Christ, reveal to us your glory, that we may know and love You with our full hearts. Fill our hearts with wonder at the perfect love You have for us, O Savior and Redeemer. May we sing out your praises, O Lord Most High, and be transformed by our knowledge and love of You. May we carry your gospel of peace and love into the world, and spread a mantle of light over the dark places within us. Blessed Savior, let us worship You in beauty: hear us as we place our prayers and praises before You.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Prayer 925

Hosta, 2015.

O Lord, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer: accept the willing tribute of our lips as we bring our hearts before You. 

With humble spirits we kneel before You: accept our penitence for our sins and follies, and turn our hearts to your way. Let us never use our love for You as a means to hurt others, but let us bear each other up in faith and hope. 

Guide us with the light of Christ, that our paths may be illumined by wisdom and compassion, O Holy One. 

You know the cares we bear in our minds: soothe and comfort those who call upon You, we pray.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Prayer 924

The beauty of creation reflected in the water at Camp Phoenix, 2015.

Open our eyes, Lord Christ, and heal our blindness, to see your glory revealed in all creation. Open our lips, O God Almighty, that our songs may tell out your saving help to all who call upon You. Open our minds, O Spirit of Truth, that we may learn the ways of justice and peace, and work for the mutual welfare of all. Open our hearts, O Holy One, that we may love each other as You have loved us. Renew a right spirit with us, O Loving One, that we may seek your grace and praise your mercy with thankfulness. Draw us within your pastures, O Prince of Peace, and place the seal of your protection upon those we now name.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Prayer 923

One of the glorious sunsets at Camp Phoenix 2015.

Beloved Creator, we thank You for tending over us as a shepherd cares for his flock as we have taken our rest through the night. Illumine our footsteps with your wisdom, that we may rejoice in walking beside You, Lord Christ. We thank You for the loyalty and love of friends and family, and pray that we are ever grateful for those we love. Fill us with your loving-kindness and mercy, that we may grow in grace and charity for all we meet. Draw us into the bosom of your grace & peace, O Loving One, spread the shade of your mercy those we now name.