Lent 7

“Seek the LORD; seek God’s presence continually” (Psalm 105:4, adapted). Today, pay attention to the presence of God in the “ordinary” moments of life. Write a prayer at the end of the day, with thanksgiving for the joy of seeking (and finding!) God in all things.

Ah, there you are!
Mixed in with the eggs and flour and milk,
hot on the griddle and soggy under syrup:
God in pancakes!
God in the work of cooking,
in the act of serving,
in the delight of waking sleepyheads with warm food.
There you are for me every morning:
in the simplest purpose and function,
in the one necessary task that trumps
all other tasks for that moment.
Nothing else do I need,
nothing else must I do,
than attend to God
in pancakes.

Writing to God: Kids’ Edition

I’m thrilled that the cover image of my upcoming book — Writing to God: Kids’ Edition — is now posted on sites like Amazon! We’re one step closer to the book’s Spring 2012 release from Paraclete Press!

Of course I’m biased 🙂 but Writing to God: Kids’ Edition will be unique among children’s prayer books, because it doesn’t merely provide prayers for children to read or memorize; it engages and empowers children to find their own words for prayer using everyday experiences!

Check out the cover….

For My Daughter (A Prayer of St. Anne)

My dear,

I birth you into a world of imperfections:

there are takers

Yet still it is a world of God’s grace,

filled with givers

In all things, be a child of God, in the footsteps of God.

Womb of my womb,

I pray for you strength and grace,
inner beauty and outer presence.

Daughter of daughters,

May you strive for knowledge and friendship,
peace and justice.

Newest of women,

How can I explain to you womanhood,
so beautiful and so powerful?

Young Mary of mine,

In every playfulness and each pain,
in every growth and each rest…

…believe that God is woman.

I wrote a prayer for each of my children when they were born. This prayer — written in the voice of St. Anne, mother of Mary the mother of Jesus — was written for my daughter, who has a birthday today.

Vanilla (or: A Parent’s Prayer When A Pet Dies)

From one parent to another,
O Holy Mother-Father,
I reach out for the strength
to bear a brokenhearted child’s tears
without solutions
without heart splints
without easy fixes
just tissues.
If ever I needed you to be near, it is now,
but not for me.
Bear near to one who is feeling death afresh.
God, I would skim past the passing
of a rodent that died in its sleep
— but oh! how I fear that this death
has stirred the aching waters of other deaths!
Here is a child who knows death’s sting
(no, “sting” is too poetic: death’s stench)
and the very real suckishness of loss.
Be close,
please be close!
I cannot bear her up on my own
though I try.
Flow with fresh and healing waters
to flood this child’s tears
with your blessing
and gentle comfort.
She has not lost hope —
I see it, even through her sadness —
while I am struggling simply for the faith
to tell her a resurrection story
about a hamster
named Vanilla.

KKK in Eden

An open letter to the resident on Euclid Drive with cone-shaped ghost figurines in the front lawn:

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please reconsider the ghost decorations on your lawn. With their cone frames draped in white cloth, I could’ve sworn as I drove by your home that the KKK was standing proudly in your yard, and my heart dropped into my stomach. Although I realized within split seconds that these white-hooded cones were figurines, not real humans, nevertheless I had to pull an abrupt U-turn to view the figurines more closely and try to convince myself that they were intended to look like ghosts.

The wrong kind of ghosts, in my opinion.

My seven- and ten-year-old children had a necessary but difficult history lesson because of your Halloween decor. I don’t have the grace within me to thank you for prompting that conversation. With racialized slurs, white fear, and overt racism featuring so prominently into our public discourse these days, your lawn ornaments–whether intentionally or not–hint strongly of a gruesome violence that we must always be resisting; a violence that we Whites must never forget and for which we must always be accountable.

Your “ghosts” certainly struck fear into my heart, just in time for Halloween.

Please take them down.

A concerned passerby