Love Supreme

O Love Supreme,
our foundation and our irritation,
our comfort and our chastisement:

The earth quakes with the marching of racism
(in every generation, new boots carry the same hatred)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be shaken.

The air blisters and scorches with words of hatred
(old words, dusty words, dead words to spark torches)
but we who know Love Supreme will not give up life’s zeal.

The demons burn with the consuming madness of fear
(delusions of supremacy, rationalized and normalized)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be afraid.

The waters rage and teem with threats of war
(vanity & selfishness multiplied by megaphone & weaponry)
but we who know Love Supreme will not surrender peace.

O Love Supreme,
our strength and our humility,
our direction and our deliverance:

Let the peace of your lips
be the confession of our hearts
and the fierce joy of our lives so that no one
is threatened or isolated by the accomplices of evil.

Let the glory of your name
be the rebuke of every prejudice
and the mercy of every hand so that no one
is degraded or violated by the mechanisms of sin.

Let the promise of your word
be the measure of your faithfulness
and the tattletale against death so that no one
suffers in this world without your attention and relief.

O Love Supreme,
our defiance and our determination,
our broken and tortured and resurrected one:

We seek your healing love for Charlottesville.
We seek your unfailing love for those afflicted by bigotry.
We seek your abiding love for the mourning.
We seek your convicting love for the rich and powerful.
We seek your redeeming love for the Church.
We seek your impatient love for white folks.
We seek your supreme love and your transformative presence
always always always.

O Love Supreme,
our hope and our dance,
our sass and our satisfaction. Amen.

“Love Supreme” as an honorific for God
is borrowed 
directly from John Coltrane’s
album A Love Supreme, which I commend
for your spirit’s comfort & groundedness.

Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

30,000 Feet (Lent 31)

From 30,000 feet in the air, you do not look like an image of God. You barely look like the landscape, and the landscape is just a background to the video game of drone warfare. 

From 30,000 feet in the air, your tears are only a poster image to convict my prayers. Tomorrow it will be another’s suffering that reminds me to ask God what can be done before I spend the day doing nothing.

From 30,000 feet in the air, your laughter cannot teach me God’s joy and your hands cannot reach out to me with God’s peace. I have stained glass rituals, long walks in the park, and book groups for that.

From 30,000 feet in the air, your song cannot be heard for its praise or its protest. I can only interpret a war cry across the distortions of power and bias and segregated experience, but I don’t have time to invest in my own translation.

From 30,000 feet in the air, you do not look like an image of God, and my faith is self-righteously safe from the questions you might ask of it.

on Matthew 17:12

A Pastoral Prayer for God

We light a candle for you, O God, and pray for your eternal soul
as you sit helplessly in mourning to see the deaths of your people.

May there be mercy at the final judgment
when they question your unresponsiveness
to the cries of those battered by storms.

We light a candle for you, O God, and offer forgiveness
for your contributions to narcissism and rape culture.

We pray that you find a way to redress the harm
caused by your holy complicity in the power-driven,
hyper-masculine, self-centered, white savior complex.

We light a candle for you, O God, and join you in litany
to name the countless children dead from war’s turmoil.

It will be hard for you to hear their names
— your own flesh and blood and heart —
but we will sit with you in ash & sackcloth.

We light a candle for you, O God, and pray that you’ll find
good news in the streets and camps of protest movements.

May you see new expressions of the gospel in word and deed;
may you have the humility to learn from those who no longer
wait for you to create a new day but march for it themselves.

We light a candle for you, O God, and extend our prayers
for your wrestling and renewal, your hope and salvation.

img_9984

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Sunday Prayer

Ah, LORD God.

From the east and the west, from the north and the south,
from the streets to the fields to the cities to the mountains
we gather:

to praise you
to wonder over you
to rail against you
to plead with you
to find you
to love you
to be loved by you.

What should be found easily
at the core of our hearts & on the tips of our tongues
feels as far away as the heights of heaven:
neighborly compassion
abundant love
gracious understanding
showing up for one another.

What should be found easily
at the core of your heart & on the tip of your tongue
feels as far away as the scattered stars of heaven:
justice for the disenfranchised
comfort for the mourning
healing for the injured
conversion of the contented.

Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been for generations your reputation. Be a present help to the families & friends of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Sandra Bland (arrested one year ago today). Be a balm to the hurting & outcrying cities of Dallas and St. Paul and Baghdad. Be a deliverance from the willfully ignorant, from the hateful, and from the passersby — and an exorcist when they are us. Pity us, O Christ, for we cannot get our act together in order to love one another as you taught.

May you delight in prospering love
where despair threatens to take root.

May the knowledge of your grace
set our feet on paths toward justice.

May the hope laid up for us in heaven
be manifest in protest on earth.

Rise up, O God!
Awake and be who you are,
for the sake of us all. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

We Never Meant to Love You

Though we pressed our bibles to your hands
and promised you life in the deep chilly river
we never meant to love you
and prayed Christ would forgive you for not
being like us, not even at the threat of death.

Though we survived by your blood and thrived
on your charism and consumed your resources
we never meant to love you
and resented that your resilience outlived us,
defied us, but never saved us from this death.

Though we pledged to embrace your spirit
distinct from its desires & needs & dreams
we never meant to love you
and made of your affections a golden calf
for which we killed faith & preached death.

Though we traveled the world in great hopes
of far becoming near and the strange familiar
we never meant to love you
and now you are too near so let us not risk
familiarity, else we care about your death.

Though we etch in our hearts “God so loved”
and pontificate amply of “brothers & sisters”
we never meant to love you
and build walls of ignorance around our hearts
for fear God might put our worldviews to death.

Though we cling to Your name as our own and
make Your body ours with every crumb & cup
we never meant to love You
and crave only a free ride on Your coattails for
our own self rightness against doubt & death.