How long, O Lord?

The news from Nigeria breaks my heart.

For the murder of innocents…
Lord, have mercy.

My heart hurts…

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How long, O Lord?
How long will we stare at the pictures,
the horror,
the unspeakable actions that humans do to each other.

How long will we wait?
How long will we long
for your justice to come,
for your love to overwhelm and change us,
for the angry rhetoric and unspeakable horrors to cease?

Lord, in your mercy…
hear our prayers
bring your comfort and your presence
to those how need it so desparately.

I have no eloquent words,
no glib phrases
no policial speeches or policies that would “fix” this.
I have only a broken hallelujah,
as I am crumbled in my heart of hearts
for the lost ones…

Maranatha, Lord.
Hear our prayers.
Amen.

 

New Journeys

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New Journeys

Here’s to new journeys
and new challenges,
new paths to travel
and new delights.
Here’s to new knowledge
and new conversations,
new friendships
and new memories.

For all who are starting off on new adventures,
my prayers go with you.

God knows;
you do not travel alone.

Prayer for a Sunday

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Oh Lord,
It is far too easy to find things to do
that do not feed our souls.
We can shop and dine out, run errands and do laundry,
and these are tasks that do not revive us.

Yet there is work for a Sunday
that has been neglected far too long;
work that would be a unifying task
with family or church or friends.
Work that requires time to consider
“Do I need to keep this?”
or
“Is it time to let this go?”

So today,
I will engage in a task of holy reflection,
one where I think of my many blessings,
spiritual and material,
my wants and my needs,
and Your abundant Providence.
And I humbly repent
of all my excesses.

For today, after church,
we are cleaning out the garage.

May it be a holy work.
May it be a reflective work.
And may it be done quickly!

Amen.

Blessings: A different perspective

Offering a priestly blessing
Offering a priestly blessing

I was touched by a pastoral act I performed yesterday… giving and anointing those who came forward for a priestly blessing. The blessings I used were based on Numbers 6, one loosely based on Jeremiah 7, and others which were in liturgies or prayers that I have used before.

It was an honor to be asked to offer these personal blessings to members of the congregation. Many are dear friends. Many had their own burdens and heartbreaks that were unknown to me, but I could see in their eyes or on their faces that they wanted to hear and know the blessing of God in their lives.

Don’t we all want to know God will bless us? Don’t we all sense we need a touch of the Divine in our lives, each an every day? The problem is that our contemporary Christian culture equates blessings from God with material things. This is so far from the truth!

What greater blessing can I offer someone? The blessing that I offered affirmed God’s promises are true… now and always. I wanted them each to know how deeply they are loved by God, and how God cares for them providentially and personally.

In the act of offering this blessing, I was blessed. As I spoke words over others, I heard them for myself. And when tears rose in their eyes, they were in mine as well.

There are days that I wonder at God’s Call on my life. But today — today I have it strengthened deep in my heart.

Thanks be to God.

 

~–oOo–~

 

These are the blessings I used:

May your ears hear the uplifting and the encouraging.
May your hands help those in need.
May your heart be humble and receptive to the things of God.
May your mind be strong, disciplined, and balanced.
May the grace of the Lord, the spirit of God and the peace of Christ be with you always. Amen.

The Lord bless you and keep you
May the Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord’s countenance lift you up and give you peace
In the name of our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
Amen.

In the Name of Christ,
I bless you with the promises of God.
In the power of Holy Spirit,
may you be healthy and strong in body, mind and spirit.
May God’s angels be with you to protect and keep you always.
Amen.

May God be your strength and your source of power
May you know God’s salvation
May God lead you, protect you and defend you
All of your days.
In the Name of our God, Amen.

Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved By Walking

Our backyard labyrinth!
Our backyard labyrinth!

Today I hauled over 175 bricks from a place by the garden fence to the middle of the back yard. They were pavers that we saved from when we fixed the front walk. I had them stacked out of the way but still easy to access (when I finally DID want to use them). They were covered with vines, had ant nests in between them, as well as slugs (ew!) I tossed the slugs towards the bird feeders and the blue jays and wrens had a delicious snack. As I uncovered the ants, I left the nests exposed and waited for them to move their eggs and pupae cases to safe places. 

It took about three hours to unearth, clean and move those bricks. (Yes, I could have used the garden cart, but we had some attack wasps who effectively kept me from getting into the shed.) Fortunately, it was a lovely day, low humidity and a nice breeze.

Trip after trip, I carried a stack of 5 or 6 pavers, which is about all I can manage. I started in the center and using a stick from the yard as my gauge, began to spiral outwards, spacing them on the grass. (Reedy Girl had helped me paint lines in the grass about a month ago so I used those lines as a rough guide.)

windchimeOnce the layout was finished, we rehung one of the wind chimes in a tree near the labyrinth. Eventually there will be some kind of seat in the center. We’re using an old picnic bench for now.

It’s walkable but not complete. I have to set in every single brick so that when the lawn is mowed, it doesn’t knick a blade. That’s gonna take a while!

So why all this work so that I can walk in a circle? I find labyrinths to be a quieting, focusing activity. It requires slowing down as I place my foot gently in the grass, and gently shift my weight and place the next foot. The speed doesn’t matter. The journey is to a quiet place in my soul, a journey inward.

Aristotle said, “the soul thinks in images.” For me, visualizing the process of hearing, understanding and responding to God is a spiraling process. It isn’t immediate. It isn’t always clear. But it is often solvitur ambulando.