Psalm 139:6

I wonder if you ever struggle for us, Holy Mystery, the way we struggle for you. Are we ever beyond comprehension to you, in our anxious counting of dollars or our oblique denial of interdependence? Do you wonder over us, with our frantic scurrying for daily life? I wonder if you long for us to find peace and faith as much as we do. Despite the hemming in behind and before, despite the intimate knowledge as deep as Sheol, there is an elusive distance between holy and human, between thee and we. Do you feel it too? We cannot escape you, yet we can turn from you. You cannot stop loving us, yet you can leave us to the whims of our distracted hearts. There are days when the distance of the mystery is a heart-breaking impasse. Somewhere in the struggling, I pray that we find each other.

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Visualizing Psalm 65

Praise is due to you, O God of all life,
and to you we commit ourselves
because you have been faithful in loving

You are there when injustice overwhelms us, and
you forgive us when we are part of the injustice.

Happy are those who stay close to you,
who walk in your ways throughout life.

Happy are those who are satisfied by you,
those who know peace without accumulating endlessly.

O Holy God — Source of all healing and reconciliation —
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.

You are the hope of the mountain stream.
You are the hope of the Gulf of Mexico,
and the hope of the soaring hawk.

By your strength,
you drew the mountains skyward from the depths of the earth.
By our strength,
we whittle away at their stones and their beauty.

By your breath,
you calm and comfort the seas
into which our industries & our farms & our carelessness have bled.

By your wisdom,
you sooth the tumult of the peoples,
which we aggravate in our pursuit of prestige,
in our unrepentant and uncritical love of nation.

We are in awe of you,
O Eternal Trumpet who wakes the dawn,
O Holy Silence who calls the evening to sleep;
so in awe of you…

…except when we are more in awe of ourselves.

How infrequently are we satisfied!
How often are we restless with our insecurities!

Yet you make the soil rich
so that the fields of grain and the pastures of grass
are abundant for all, abundant for all, abundant for all…

…if we would not manipulate their abundance.

You water the earth
so that all can drink and wash and eat and irrigate
equally, equally, equally…

…if we would let all be equal.

The meadows and the valleys sing together for joy
and weep with longing for your intervention,
for you are the hope of all the ends of the earth.

You are the earth’s richness and its reconciliation.
You know the way to the earth’s healing;
you construct the gateways that open to paths of peace.

We repent of our lack of belief in peace.
We pray for hope to stir our souls.

With all the ends of the earth and with all the farthest seas,
we pray for hope. Amen.

Very Much Like Naaman (2 Kings 5:11)

I would still like to see cloud-writing spelled out by a holy hand,
crop circles designed by the unconventional Christ,
or pillars of fire inspired by a signaling Spirit
to show me the way.
That would be nice, God.

I would certainly accept divine intervention and resolution
through a winning lottery ticket (I promise I’d tithe!),
the magical song & dance of house-cleaning mice,
even a Hollywood happy ending.
Can’t you be my “Kwik Fixit” god, God? **

But instead of “Abracadabra,”
you say “Go take a bath;
let the waters clear your head.”
Not in a sparkling pool or clear lake,
but in the Jordan, where the river’s current
flows slowly with the grime of farms & towns,
with the sweat of barely-getting-by fishermen
and the loud joy of screeching, swimming children.

“Go take a bath in the muddy waters of life,
and then tell me if you still really want
a Kwik Fixit god or a pristine ending,
if you still want to stare at a blinding pillar of fire
rather than joining the river’s meandering path.
Let the waters change you, heal you,
to gratitude and wonder
and a willing spirit.”

** It’s a pet peeve of mine when stores and businesses intentionally misspell their names (think Rite Aid, Kwik Shop, Krispy Kreme, Tastee Freez, etc.) as though it is somehow catchy or we are too stupid to know better. The ridiculousness of all those misspellings is surprisingly apropos here!

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Catching Up

Hello, Spirit. I’ve missed you!
It’s been too long since we sat down together,
just to be and to share and to renew one another.
We’ve played phone tag over the weeks, but
it’s not a substitute for face-to-face time like this.
Do you have a moment to hear my strains?
Perhaps as conversation unfolds,
you can prod me into a laugh and encourage me
with gentle reminders that you have blessed me
with many gifts, much love, and a full life.
Then when our coffee cups are empty
and we leave this moment,
will you call me again soon?
I’ve been missing our connection
and our daily conversations.
No blame there — routines change —
but if we could stay in touch more intentionally,
I’d be grateful and greatly blessed.