Yesterday Today Tomorrow

In prayer,
we say the name
that gives us hope:
JESUS.

In song,
we raise the name
that brings us peace:
JESUS.

With shouts,
we cry the name
that brings us healing:
JESUS.

You who are the same
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
stay with us and love us
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
through seasons of change
of heartache of struggle of love
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
through tears and praise
and lament and delight
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
be who you are forever and always.

We long to be made new,
we are desperate to leave the past behind us,
but you have brought us this far and
you have promised to continue.
Stories and experiences
shape us like ancient stars shape the night sky,
so do not teach us to turn our backs
on what has been but to listen
for stories of what may be.
Teach us not to start over in fear
but to wade in every water and to walk
through every wilderness with the patience
of hearts that trust you.
Teach us not cynicism but curiosity
so that our souls might sing gratitude
and our tongues speak prophecies
of your love and glory
for as long as we have breath to give.

To you, the One who is worthy,
to you in whom the angels delight,
to you alone at the beginning and the end,
to you we bring our prayers and our whole lives this day. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Advent: Currents

No amount of straining or swimming,
of longing or praying can free me
from the currents of life that I think myself
so adept in navigating. For the stream
runs on without a care and the storms come
(inevitably, invariably) to show off their
lack of care and deference. Tell me, O God,
Thou Convener of Storms and Soothsayer of Life,
tell me truly that you have not created me (us)
to drift like a faded leaf along this creek;
tell me now that our paths are not happenstance
or divine amusement, but purposeful (even
worthwhile) for the short meandering time
that we have them, drifting along these currents.

leaf-metroparks

on James 4:14

Be Still

I wondered if you would come.
I wondered if you would just sidle up
quietly
unexpectedly
and sit by my side to watch the river.
Of course if you decided to take time with me
I would wonder immediately how long
you might
stay
because
no one stays.
We go, we leave, we wander,
we are sent — often in your name, often
at your urging. But I was thinking
it’d be nice instead to stay
to remain by the river
to set down roots that draw from and give life back to
the river, but to be secretly pleased all the while
that the river — and not me —
had somewhere to go.
Someday I hope
to be still long enough to be
found
but not today.
Today you don’t come
to sit with me. Today I take off running to find you
and somehow our paths never cross.
May those you found instead
be blessed by that
sweet holy presence
that tirelessly flowing river
I was missing.

Sunday Prayer: Faithful

Is it true, God, that you are faithful
even when life is a gauntlet of troubles
and each day seems longer than the next?

Is it true that your inheritance is plentiful
even though we squander and fight and steal
in jealous fear that we must secure ours?

Is it true, O God Eternal, that the sun
knows your name and the mountains too,
that you are more beautiful than the night sky?

Is it true that you find us where we are in the dust,
lift us up and kiss us and love us like royalty?
I wonder because I’m feeling particularly dusty.

Is it true that all our gods are for naught?
The money, security, prestige, and certainty that shape
our daily pursuits: will they fade before they exhaust us?

Is it true then that there is only one God, O God,
and — lest the question go unanswered —
are you still and finally faithful?

Because the world ends catastrophically every day
right before our eyes and we wonder when
it will stop starting over. We wonder

when we should bail on love and hope and fairness
and balms that seem never to heal the unjust
while innocent blood flows in the streets.

We wonder if you have been the dishonest manager,
charging us far less than we owe, and to what end?
What lesson learned, what grace extended in response?

Have you been faithful or have you been irresponsible
with our debts? For love of love, you risk fairness for grace.
For love of love, you weep over us from your holy heap of ashes.

We rage at you in trust that the world matters to you.
We yell in trust that our prayers will echo
through the mountains to your throne.

Bless our prayers along their wandering way
and bless our lives to faithful response.
We praise your name forever. Amen.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts;
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals