Thursday, July 31, 2014

Prayer 556- Prodigal God

My view for morning prayer on Tuesday from Camp Phoenix

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, July 30, 2014

Prayer 555- For Camp Phoenix

Glitter and Chiquita gather stones for a craft project at Camp Phoenix

For Camp Phoenix
Dayspring of Life, draw us into your circle of love this day. Let us remember that your eye is always on the sparrow, who sings her thanks with a joyful, trusting heart. Thank you, Loving One, for those who work to make our day possible, and bless their labors this day. We thank You for those who care for us and protect us, who lead us into new paths of knowledge of You. May we run, laugh, and learn with joy this day, delighting in the beauty of the Lord's handiwork. Sky, wind, and water fill our spirit with the hope for new adventures, and of friendships renewed and to be made. Knowing we can call upon You always, O God our Creator, we ask your blessing upon those whose needs we raise to You.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Prayer 554- for Camp Phoenix

Morning Prayer at Camp Phoenix this morning.

Blessed, Merciful Creator: come into our spirits this day that we may love and serve You and each other with open hearts. Bring us into the light of your Word and your truth. Give us joy in fellowship with each other, unified as your people in thought, word, and deed. Let us see the beauty in each person we meet, and be grateful for the chance to live and learn together. Let us drink in the glory of your creation, a reminder always of your goodness and majesty. May we keep in our hearts the needs and concerns of your people, and raise them before You in your mercy.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Prayer 553

The boys at Camp Phoenix arrive at camp and head to their cabins.

Dear God, the glory of the morning calls us to a new journey with You today: Alleluia! 

Bless the path that our feet will follow, that it may always lead us to deeper knowledge of You. Consecrate the thoughts of our hearts, that they may be centered upon You today. Bless the works of our hands, that they may raise up testimonies of your goodness and mercy. Sanctify the words of our mouths that they may build up joy and community in your Holy Name. 

Place your healing hand upon those who suffer anxiety in body, mind, or spirit, and comfort especially those we now name.


Letting the Bread Rise: On the 40th anniversary of the ordination of women priests (Speaking to the Soul)

(This was published on The Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on July 28, 2014. The link can be found here:

“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” (Matthew 13:33)

Yesterday’s gospel reading from Matthew, chapter 13, included the parable of the yeast, or leaven, to use a more antiquated term. This little nugget of scripture sang out to me in light of several events going on at this time.

First, we are approaching the 40th anniversary tomorrow of the ordination of eleven women to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, which happened on July 29, 1974 at Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia. Second, it was recently announced that the General Synod of the Church of England had approved legislation for women to be selected as bishops, twenty years after the Church of England admitted women to the priesthood in 1994. Third, and at nearly the same time as we received that news, several hundred Episcopal youth were raising the roof at the Episcopal Youth Event in Philadelphia—some of them even got to visit the church in Philadelphia where that first ordination took place. Further, I write these words today from Camp Phoenix, which is the summer camp for youth operated by the Diocese of Missouri.

What does all this have to do with this parable?

I would bet that most of us have experienced times when we have been discounted or overlooked for some reason, regardless of our capability. Maybe it was due to our age—either being too young or too old. Maybe it was due to our gender or sexuality, especially when we try to do something that traditionally has not been stereotypically within our sphere of activity. Maybe it was because of our body shape, or our accent, or the credentials we hold or do not hold, or perhaps because it was feared that our admission into a role would diminish that role’s prestige or traditions. Nonetheless, sometimes the most discounted or overlooked things have the most to offer us. One such person was Jesus. He didn’t have the right pedigree, the right accent, the right credentials. Even his neighbors disregarded him and his authority to teach.

That’s part of why Jesus told this little parable—he was explaining how something that could be discounted, that could even be considered unclean, could actually do great things. If you’ve ever made bread from scratch, you know that yeast is tiny little granule-looking things that are actually alive—they are micro-organisms classified as a fungus. But if you had lived at the time of Christ, you would not have thought of yeast as something found in cute, sterile little packets in the grocery store, but was instead you would have had to cultivate from old bread that was allowed to decay. Something that appeared to be useless provided the starter for something good: leavened bread.

Add yeast to flour, water, and salt, and the entire mixture rises and becomes what my more rural relatives used to call “light bread” (as opposed to biscuits). Over time, it grows in size: yeast added to three measures of flour created enough bread for a feast, or so my commentaries tell me. It’s a sometimes messy process, but it’s also amazing. Another facet of this short parable is that Jesus can be compared to the woman in the story, and it is one of the places in scripture where feminine imagery and “women’s work” is used to describe an action of God—in this case, revealing to the world the realization of the reign of God in our lives and in all of creation in the leavening and rising of that bread. Bread that feeds the soul, and the world.

For the last fifty years in the Episcopal Church, the leaven that women provide as laity, deacons, priests, and now bishops—even presiding bishops!—has been allowed to rise, and continues to evolve. Now the Church of England itself is moving further toward an fuller embrace of that same truth. At the same time, we are steadily evolving in our understanding and celebration of the role that our youth can play within the Episcopal Church and the greater church in the world.

We are all leaven. Each of us—male, female, transgendered, old, young, gay, straight, bisexual-- may look like an unlikely source of enlightenment to the world at large, but each of us has a part to play in the Kingdom of Heaven. It may take time and patience but also perseverance for this to come into fullness. When all are encouraged to come fully into the gifts and talents we all have, the entire Body of Christ and the world is lifted up and rises toward a fuller realization of the Kingdom of Heaven right now. May we all have ears to listen!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Prayer 552

Window from the Chapel at Holy Communion, University City

Let us rejoice to approach the altar of the Most High, whose glory enfolds us and gives us strength! Almighty God, we turn to you in sunshine or rain, in the depths of night and in the noonday sun. May we pray with humility and serve each other in honesty and steadfast love. Make us yeast for the world, fed by the feast of your Word and the bread of life You give us abundantly. Call us into your community, and let us embrace each other in peace and justice. Scatter your blessings upon your people, that they may be planted in our hearts. Send your angels to watch over those we now name.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Prayer 551- For reconciliation

Child and statue, Left Bank, Paris.

For reconciliation and acceptance
O Lord, You are our strength and our shield: have mercy upon us and guide us into wisdom. Let your Word revive our spirits, and may our hope be fed by your never-failing care. 

Protect us, O Rock, from the slings and arrows of those who do not understand us, and let us always root our actions in love. Teach us compassion and diligence in inscribing your commandments upon our hearts. 

Comfort us when we mourn for what we have left behind, and be healed of the pain in our pasts. Help us be present in each moment as a gift from You, remembering that faith is grounded in hope. 

Shine the light of your countenance upon us, O Loving One, and hear our prayers that we raise to You.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Prayer 550

Calla Lily blooming outside the Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

O God, You have given us our breath: it is right that we use it to sing and glorify your ever-present Love. May our thankfulness to You resound with each beat of our hearts. 

You are the center of our being: may we make our hearts a fit dwelling place for your Spirit. You have called us to truly love one another: may we shrug off the coils of envy and resentment that choke us. May we unlearn all that anger has taught us, that hope and generosity may take root in our souls. 

May your peace calm all our fears, as rain is soaked up by a dry and thirsty land. May we turn our eyes from the mountains and valleys in our path to the glorious light of your mercy and truth. O Shepherd, protect us from the wolves that prowl among us: may we hear, know, and trust your promises. 

Now, O Eternal One, accept the prayers of your people, for each need which has been offered in love.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prayer 549

Window from the chapel at Holy Communion, University City.

Loving One, give us courage. Give us courage to strike out on the unmarked trail of this day, and welcome the gifts it holds out in promise. 

Give us the courage to admit our wrongs and seek reconciliation with those we have hurt. Give us courage to respond to strife and tumult with love and tranquility. 

Give us the courage to welcome the stranger among us as You have commanded, without worry or fear. Give us courage to let go of our fears and allow our wounds to heal rather than cling to them. 

Merciful One, give courage to all who seek your aid, that they may rest in assurance of your love.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prayer 548

Stacked Stones. Osage Forest of Peace, Sand Springs, OK.

Almighty, Merciful, Beneficent One: we bow before You in prayer. We thank You and bless your holy Name, which hearts sing out when tongues cannot. You are our God: bless us and mold us, and hear our prayers. 

Loving One, help us to never be a stumbling block for our neighbors, but give us generous, loving hearts for all. Make us gentle, grateful stewards of your creation, that we may love it and care for it as we do our own body. Purify our hearts and minds, that we may serve You night and day with alleluias on our hearts and minds. 

Remembering our faults, may we be filled with mercy and compassion for all we meet, who are made in your image. Now, in your goodness and grace, send your healing, comforting Spirit, we pray, upon these who call upon You.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prayer 547- for peace

Chapel window, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, University City, MO.

We sit in silence in the presence of our God, who was, and is, and ever shall be our Shepherd. Bring us joyfully to pull together in the yoke of love, for enmity is too great a burden to bear. 

Banish from us all malice and thirst for vengeance, for we remember our wanderings from your path and are heartily sorry. Let us hold fast to peace with a lover's devotion, and seek justice from the hills of your mercy. 

May our lives vibrate to the melody of your word. Place us upon the heights of truth, that we may discern your path within our lives. Kindle within our hearts the flame of zeal for your ways, that they be ours always. 

May our prayers and petitions rise like the morning sun, and may your peace rest upon those we name.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Prayer 546

Chapel window, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, University City, MO

Glory and honor be ever given to our God, whose abundant love is our refuge and shield! 

Let us seek to make peace where there is war in our hearts. Let us do no wrong to our neighbor, and let us honor our God with every breath. Let us extend the hand of brotherhood to friend and foe alike, remembering your call to love one another. 

Creator God, may we show forth our thanksgiving for your grace, and lift up our hearts to hear your Law. Lord, we lift up those who call upon You, who ask for strength for the trials or uncertainties they face.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Prayer 545

Chapel window, Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, University City, MO

Let us come before the Lord and give thanks for God's manifold mercies, singing out our praise. We thank You for being with us throughout the night and sending your angels to shield us. Guide us to your sanctuary that we may be purified and consecrated to your service. Drive far from us all hardness of heart, and help us to seek the pardon of any we have wronged. Make us joyful witnesses of your saving grace, and loving hands to do your work in the world. Grant your blessing over those who are in danger, need, or trouble, especially those we now name.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Prayer 544

Window at Trinity, Tulsa.

O Loving One, may we make our home in You today, and love You with our whole heart. May we open our arms in embrace to the amazing gifts of your creation. May we be guided by the light of compassion, walk the path of wisdom, and dance to the song of justice. May we rest upon your breast like a child when we are in need of comfort or ease of mind. May we listen more than we speak, learn more than we profess to know, and give more than we take. May we make ourselves a family of those we meet, and always celebrate the chance to love and be loved. We ask your blessing upon these beloveds, whose needs we lift up to You, especially those we now name.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Prayer 543

Let us raise a loud shout to the Lord, who was and is and ever shall be, Creator and Protector of All. Unite us to You in love and faithfulness, Lord Christ, that we may lift high your banner to the world. We ask your pardon for our manifold faults, O Merciful One, and thank You for your abundant gift of grace. 

Extend your traveling mercies to those who journey in the air, on land, or at sea. Protect us from calamity and guide us safely home, wherever we may go today. Set our hearts and minds upon hearing the call of God in our lives, and guide us in right pathways. Press upon us behind and before, O Loving One, and extend your mercy upon those we now name.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prayer 542

The lacy pistil inside a Rose of Sharon.

God of Abundance, we raise up our voices to praise You, in thanksgiving for this new day. We give you thanks for your mercy and loving-kindness when we have wandered from your side. Let us always seek to serve You and our brothers and sisters as true children of God. Teach us to open our hands and our hearts to those in danger or need. Remembering all our blessings, may we be a blessing to others. Give us the wisdom to align our lives with your precepts, and the courage to live out your call to radical love. Grant your peace and comfort to those whose call upon You.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Jesus on the Border: A meditation on Matthew 25:31- 46, compassion, and those caught in the margins (Speaking to the Soul)

Matthew 25: 31-46

Today’s gospel starts with a discussion of separation. In the vision of judgment Jesus describes, one people will be separated from another, and he compares them to the sheep and the goats. Using symbolism that appears repeatedly throughout scripture, the sheep are those who are blessed and obedient to God’s will—in this case, God’s will of radical generosity and care for others: feeding the hungry and providing drink for the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and those in prison. Jesus’s vision makes it clear that he himself had been welcomed when the poor, the sick, and the outcast had been cared for....

To read more, click this link:

And tell me what you think!

Links for more information:
A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis
UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Africa crisis
South Sudan Refugee Crisis Worsens
An Inside Look at the Central African Republic Refugee Crisis
Anti-Immigration Parties rise in EU Elections
Israeli-Hamas Conflict Squeezes Palestinian Leadership

Prayer 541

The universe in a drop of rain.

Almighty One, You are the root and ground of our being: hear our prayer. 

Forgive us our offenses, and help us rededicate ourselves to living in peace and justice with all. Open our minds and hearts to learn and act upon your call to radical compassion. Make us brave enough to love and serve you without fear or hesitation. Root us in your abundant grace that we may always remember our blessings. 

Draw us into a new life of unity, knowing that You are God and Creator of All. Extend the healing shade of your love over those we now name.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Prayer 540

O God, Your glory gilds the morning skies, and we give thanks for your goodness and mercy. 
Guide us along the paths of righteousness, that we glorify your Name in the world. 
Ground us in your word and truth, O Master, for we know that you call us to work for justice, generosity, and peace. 
Give us the grace to offer shelter to the stranger among us and to love our neighbors as ourselves. 
Guard us from all evil from without or within, O Loving One, for we are prone to wander. 
Govern us in gentleness, for all like sheep we go astray, yet our cry is always to You. 
Gentle us to do your will, and soften our stubborn and wayward hearts. 
Grant your peace and benediction to all who call upon You.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Prayer 539

Flowering sage

You are near, O God. Remind us to draw close as well. Thru the night watches we have called You between dreams: Your love never sleeps. We thank You, Loving One, for your word in which we trust. We meditate upon your promises, for You are always at our right hand when we need You. With our whole heart we call to You, for you redeem us and give us strength. Give aid, we pray for these whom we now name, that they may be comforted and praise your Name.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Prayer 538

Spirit of Truth, lead us joyfully into your sanctuary this day. Lead us into the path of knowledge that will inspire us in our mission to serve God and all God's creation. Help us raise our voices with the heavenly choir to praise Our Lord in all we say and do. Help us to raise the light of God's Holy Word, that it may be a lamp unto our feet as we journey through our day. Bring home in safety those on pilgrimage, and inspire and empower them in their leadership. Open the hearts of those who call upon You to be alive to your constant love and presence.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Prayer 537

Diocese of Missouri youth and their Youth Missioner at Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia during the urban pilgrimage on Friday during the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event. Photo courtesy of Elle Dowd.

(inspired by Psalm 20)
We lift our praises to our Lord and King, whose mercy and steadfastness endures forever. May the angels of the Holy One guard us night and day, that we may walk in the way of faithfulness. May God enfold us in a mother's love, and sanctify us before her altar as we bear our message of joy to the world. May we be borne on a Spirit of Holiness to bear witness to your saving grace. Loving One, help us to walk the pilgrim path each day of our lives. Help us to build Your kingdom in justice and in truth, united by the face of Christ we see in all creation. Place your hand of blessing over all who seek You or a deeper knowledge of You. Rejoicing in your ever-present help, we ask that You shine the light of your countenance on those we now name.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Prayer 536- A prayer of praise

The youth from the Diocese of Missouri process their banner into the Opening Eucharist at the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event. Photo courtesy of Elle Dowd, Diocesan Youth Missioner.

O Lord, we come before you in awe and wonder, rejoicing in our blessings. All that is testifies to your power and glory, Your Love that was, and is, and ever shall be. Your continuing creation is an ode of joy as You call us to You and care for us. We lift our hearts before You, upheld by grace and buoyed by the embrace of your Spirit: hear our prayers. Open our hearts to the peace and truth of Christ, that we may walk in wisdom and holiness before You. Extend the awning of your blessing especially over those we now name.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Prayer 535- For those at the Episcopal Youth Event

The Presiding Bishop addresses the congregation at the opening Eucharist of the Episcopal Youth Event in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Katie Scoopmire, who was privileged to attend as one of the representatives from the Diocese of Missouri.

O Merciful One, we long to know You more deeply, united in praise and faithfulness as your disciples. Bring us together into a fellowship of love and service, extolling the abundant mercies of our God. O Redeemer, open our hearts to receive your Word, and open our lips to sing your praises. Guide and guard our future leaders of your Church as they join together in joyful brotherhood and sisterhood. 

Protect and strengthen all those who work to create a world of justice and compassion in the name of God. May we seek to do all things in the Spirit of Christ, who embraces us with steadfast love. Extend the shade of your right hand, O Creator, over all who seek You.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Prayer 534- for those who are traveling to the Episcopal Youth Event in Philadelphia

The Diocese of Missouri Contingent at Lambert airport on their way to the 2014 Episcopal Youth Event!

(for those who are traveling to the Episcopal Youth Event in Philadelphia)
Loving God, we thank you for leading us to the beauty of this new day. 

Guide us, O Shepherd of Our Souls, to walk in the way of wisdom and love. Remind us that the path to peace requires us to embody gentleness and justice. Remind us that the path to justice calls us to embody mercy and compassion. Remind us that the path to compassion requires us to embody reconciliation and generosity. 

Set us aflame with a passion to serve You and build your Kingdom on Earth. Bring us together as a holy people, consecrated by our love for You and each other. 

Trusting in your steadfast faithfulness, we ask you send your Spirit of Love and healing over those we now name.


And they're off to Philadelphia!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Prayer 533

Window, Trinity, Tulsa.

O Gracious One, we turn to You in gratitude, to praise your marvelous works! Your constant Love gives us peace; we lie down in safety and rise rejoicing. The storms of the night have passed, and You, O Lord, have remained by us as our shield. Guide us into righteousness and holiness for your Name's sake. Send out your angels to guide and guard all those who seek a path through this day. Extend your healing hand of blessing to those who are anxious or uncertain. Dry the tears of those who suffer or mourn, and protect the hearts of those who rejoice.


Monday, July 7, 2014

We're All in This Together- a meditation on Romans 7, sinfulness, and will (Speaking to the Soul)

This was published on the Speaking to the Soul page on today.

Romans 7: 15-25a

The other day I got into a discussion on twitter with a person who claimed that liberals are attempting to redefine sin, especially when it comes to the evolving response in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere with matters of personal and sexual ethics. I believe that our response is evolving because revelation continues and that God continues to speak to us through the Holy Spirit. Too often our discussion of sin in these matters is predicated upon finger-pointing outside ourselves at other people whom we believe are “sinful,” but whom we believe are different from us. So it has been a blessing that this last Sunday we were offered this reading from St. Paul, expressing frustration at the inner conflict that sin creates, and reminding us, that when it comes to sin, we are all in this together....

To read more, please click on this link. And let me know what you think!

Prayer 532

Hostas in our backyard.

Loving One, send your love through our hearts, that we may praise You as the soft breezes blow. Let us give thanks for this long green season, for life in its many forms, and for Your love, which gives all things life. O Creator, let love and gratitude take root in our hearts, fed by the waters of life that flow through our spirits at your Word. Give us the will to joyfully open our lives to You, our spirits drawn into your light and wisdom. Centering our hearts upon the love that binds us together, we lift up these beloveds and ask your blessing upon them.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Prayer 531

O Creator God, Source and Ground of Our Being, we rejoice as we come before You to worship and hear your Holy Word. May we be animated only by our love for You and for each other, honoring all as children of God. May we approach all we have wronged and seek peace before we come to your altar. May we make a worthy offering of ourselves before You this day. May we clasp hands and hearts in unity, forbearance, and charity. May our lives testify to your wondrous Love as we depart from your sanctuary, and bear your Truth as a feast to a hungry world. May we listen to your Spirit as she moves in our lives, and lift up our prayers in humility and thankfulness. O Holy One, we lift before you the cares and concerns we share with these beloved of God, and ask your blessing.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Prayer 530

Window at Trinity, Tulsa

Heavenly Father, we praise You for your mercy and loving kindness made manifest every morning. Help us to ascend to a higher ground in our willingness to serve You. Unify our hearts and minds in doing what is right. May we embody your ways as a testimony to the power of your love. Open our hearts to those we have wronged, and give us penitent, humble hearts to seek reconciliation. Receive our prayers and supplications before You, O Loving One, and bless and uplift those we now name.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Prayer 529- for Independence Day

Window at Trinity, Tulsa, depicting Hitler, Mussolini, and other threats to freedom and justice in Hell.

(Prayer for Independence Day)
O Creator, you gave us freedom to participate with You in establishing your kingdom: we thank You and bless You. 

Grant that we use our independence to create a just and holy society, dedicated to each other as the image of God. 
Grant that we use our freedom to protect others' freedom from want, from fear, to speak, and to worship. 

Make our nation a beacon of justice and peace through shared sacrifice and duty to You. 
Help us to bear each others' burdens, ease each others' suffering, and heal each others' wounds. 
Help us to be truly grateful for the blessings we receive, and strive to create a more perfect union, as You are One. 

Holy One, we lift up the cares of our brothers and sisters, asking your abundant grace and benediction.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Prayer 528

"Comfort the Afflicted"- Window at Trinity Tulsa

Loving One, bring us into your embrace. Teach us how to love, for in loving we truly live. Teach us not just to be obedient but to be responsible for what we do in the name of obedience. Teach us to listen for your Living Word, your continuing revelation of your will. Teach us to walk behind You as we turn from foolishness, beside You as eager disciples, and before You as joyful witnesses. Strengthen us in faith and understanding. Bend near to hear us, O Beloved, and give your blessing to those we now name.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prayer 527

Almighty God, we bow before You, singing our thanksgivings and resting upon your mercy. Make us faithful tenants of your creation, and exuberant workers in your vineyards. Turn our hearts from the wrongs that ensnare and entice, and bring us instead into right pathways and actions. Set us upon the paths of righteousness, and strengthen us in obedience to your will. Make us not just obedient but responsible, not just diligent but also joyful in proclaiming your kingdom. Accept our fervent petitions and thanksgivings as we bow before You, O Lover of Souls.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Prayer 526- inspired by Psalm 121

O God, You are my shade and shield: You walk beside me in all my journeys.
Before You my troubles yield: turn your face to me, O Holy One. 

You lift me above the turbulent waves, and bear me upon the wings of hope. 
When I waken in the night, your angels are at my bedside. 
I have only to look up, and know your help is always near; my fears all flee away. 

Make my heart a sanctuary, holy, pure, and true, for your hand rests upon me in blessing, and I am glad indeed. 
Let my words and actions sing out your praise, O Lord, my soul ascending on the morning breeze. 

May my prayers ascend as incense before You, O Love Divine, and look with favor upon these who wait upon You.