Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pastoral Prayer, Daring

image from

Spirit of Life,
Connecting All Beings,
We pray with you today. 
Dare us to see the abundance
you put before us. 
Dare us to see the signs of spring all around: 
purple hyacinths, orange poppies, and red nasturtiums
blooming along highways and sidewalks. 
Dare us to look out of our bus window, 
or up from the road for just long enough
to see the wide expanse of the Mountains, 
etched clearly against the bright blue February sky, 
reaching out as if to embrace us. 
Dare us to walk out of our home
as the sun sets, 
so we can see the moon 
glowing from its evening perch. 
Dare us to engage in an act of boldness: 
to really look another human being in the eyes. 
To look, and to wonder, who IS this person? 
Dare us to be happy 
with our bodies, 
no matter what shape they are in. 
Dare us to sit in the silence, 
listening deeply for your still, small voice. 

everyday courage

I've been thinking about what it means for a regular person to have courage. 

In August, my church explored the concept of courage. 
Not the wild, brave courage of movies or adventure books. 

But the courage each of us calls into being
just so we can live our lives as fully as possible. 

I've been wondering if, as I get older, 
I am less likely to take risks (not physical risks)
but ricks of the heart. 
Trying out new things, new places, new ideas. 

Two weeks ago I took my son, Adrian, to college. 
He's going to the same school his dad and I both graduated from, 
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (go Hogs!). 

As we walked around campus, 
I was struck with all the new experiences he will have, 
some good, some bad, 
but so many will be new things to him, 
and will shape his life. 

I couldn't help but think about how I felt when I got to U of A. 
How every new turn seemed like an adventure. 
The world a big possibility, 
even when I made bad decisions and had heartaches. 

At 40, I love my career in ministry, 
 my family, 
my house, 
my garden, 
my neighborhood, 
my friends. 

I'm a homebody who has to travel for work, 
and who loves nothing more than curling up at home
with a cup of hot tea, a good book, 
my sweet honey man, 
and our kitty. 

But I wonder, 
if my love for what is familiar
keeps me from trying new things. 
Does it damper in some way my everyday courage? 

Pastoral Prayer, We Gather Together

image from

God of Our Hearts, 
the Breathing of the World, 
Be with us. 
We gather in this community, 
carrying our hurts from last week, 
and may we find a space to lay down our burdens, 
if only for a moment. 
We gather together, 
seeking a moment of reprieve
from the busyness of everyday life. 
May we find space this morning to breathe deeply, 
and be nurtured by the quiet, 
if only for a moment. 
We gather as people of faith, 
longing for a chance 
at deep connection with another human being. 
Let us be brave enough 
to look into someone else’s eyes
and hear their story, 
and let us be courageous enough to tell our own, 
if only for a moment. 
We gather together, 
bearing witness to the joys and sorrows 
of each other’s lives.

We gather together, 
building strength for the week to come, 
girding us to meet a world so 
desperately in need of peace and healing.
Let our moments of compassion 
build on each other, 
bending the arc of the universe
ever more closely to justice.