Lent 23: Forgotten

I sit in your presence, but you do not greet me.
Friends to the right and the left, but I am alone.
How shall I respond to this chasmic isolation?
Shall I sit and wait in the pain of your silence;
shall I get up and make my way without you?
For want of connection, I choose to move on.
Friends watch me leave but they do not follow.
Strangers meet my eye but do not ask my name.
I travel the crowded byways without company.
Worst of all, you — you — do not walk with me.
Tell me, I beg, that there is another way to live.
Let “I will be with you” not be a vacant promise
even amidst solitude, even through loneliness,
even in your house where the silence deafens.

Fourth Sunday in Lent

O God our guide and daily delight,

We are like the dawn,
created to welcome the sun
but inclined to yearn for the night.

In your brilliance,
command our attention
with imagination and new revelation.

We are like the dawn,
indistinct and unclear on the truth,
waiting for something – someone – to shed light.

Show us the last and the hidden,
the wisdom of seeking out quiet pastures,
the humility of learning from those dismissed as blind.

We are like the dawn,
stretched out from east to west,
changing too quickly for the eye to keep track.

By your goodness and grace,
guide our steps and our wanderings.
Do not let us fail to discern you or pass you by.

We are like the dawn,
O beautiful Sun and Savior,
impatient for your coming presence.

Do not fail to crest the horizon,
we pray, in our lives and in this world,
and bring all to peace in the realm of your glory.

Amen.

Lent 22: Confessing Good Intentions

The Pharisees plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what do you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” (Matthew 22:15-17)

Sometimes the Pharisees are right. We need to hear their voices, challenging us: “We know that you have good intentions. We know that you are partial to no one. But tell us, how do you actually behave?”

Our actions, we confess, do not mirror our intentions. Our words to others, about others, do not exemplify our best images of ourselves. In fact, we work especially hard not to see what our words and our actions reveal about us.

We who are white — I, one who is white — work especially hard not to see what our words and our actions and our life circumstances reveal about us. We — I — deafen ears and dim eyes so as not to recognize ourselves in the word ‘racism.’

It does not matter that we have good intentions; we confess that we still don’t get this. The harm we cause (intentionally or not), the relationships we build (always intentionally), these are what matter for reconciliation.

Forgive us, over and over, O Raging God of Justice. Compel our confession, not through words and prayers, but through open eyes and listening ears. Break our intentions and make us whole people, in healing communities.

To your glory. For the sake of your name. For the sake of one another.

Lent 21: Amos 3:3-8

MT tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sapling yearns for the sun;
it cannot help but bloom in spring.

The sun winks at the moon;
its lunar blush swells the tide.

But when she hides her bright smile,
does not the wolf howl in loneliness?

At the cry of the wolf to its pack,
the bison stamp their feet in fear.

If the bison herd stampedes,
who can escape earth’s tremble?

And does not earth quake too
when the LORD himself speaks?

But listen! The LORD clamors even now
with the bloom of a single bud on the tree.

Who can keep silent when the LORD rouses?
Who can keep still when the LORD beckons?

Lent 20: French Fries

From my book Writing to God: Kids’ Edition, prayer idea #2: Write to God about your feelings. Tell God when you’re happy. God likes to hear your joy! You can write sentences about feeling  happy, or write a list of thanks that make you happy. For example, Logan (age 5) writes, “Dear God, thank you for making me happy. I’m happy you let me play soccer on a team. I’m happy you let me have sisters and brothers. I’m happy you made chips because I really like chips.” (Paraclete Press 2012, pg 24-25)

For salt-and-vinegar French fries,
cut fresh, still with the potato skins.

For smooth dark bits of goodness
from my favorite chocolate store.

For my friend whose injury will heal
with the help of doctors and time.

For conversations that continue
across hours, days, even years.

For soft clean bedsheets in which
I wiggle and stretch out my toes.

For all the delights of this world,
I give thanks, O Holy Diversion!