Advent: Paying Attention

the heartache
and
the weariness
and
the “to do” list
and
the brokenness
and
the starling with its beautiful iridescence tapping at our window, seeking a shelter from the winter wind

the frustration
and
the guilt
and
the fear
and
the news
and
the faraway line of white seagulls over the lake, dodging cold winter waves and then diving for their catch

the questions
and
the struggle
and
the fight
and
the disbelief
and
the hand-carved ship ready to set sail from my Christmas tree branch where it hangs, eager for adventure

the limitations
and
the grief
and
the longing
and
the disappointment
and
the short fat snowman rolled together on a bitterly cold day, because who can (or should) quell the determination of youth?

find us, most merciful God,
through the joys and the strains alike
with beauty so simple and good news so plain
that our heads are lifted and our tongues are loosened to sing.

on Psalm 27:5-6

Sunday Prayer: Beginning Again

For the hope that You can bring about a new thing,
for the knowledge that You have already done it:
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For the ways that we have walked and wandered,
for the journeys that You set before us now:
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For the many tears that have marked these days and years,
for the friends and the grace that have dried them:
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For the return of the Word in flesh, in love, in glory,
for the Echo that calls us ever onward,
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For the dance that calls us to rest from work,
for the shout of lament that returns us to the work again,
we give thanks and we take a deep breath.

For snow and fog and rain that seem to slow our worlds,
for flood, storm and quake that tremble the earth,
we give thanks and we take a deep breath.

For light that reveals truth and comforts fear,
for shadows that allow questions and welcome seekers,
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For all that we have learned by head and heart,
for all that we do not know and for surprises still to come,
we give thanks with a deep & humble breath.

For every beginning, each new dawn and each new calendar,
for every end, beyond which You always remain,
we give thanks with a deep breath.

For faith and proclamation,
for doubt and despair,
we give thanks
and with a deep breath
we trust that You are in all & through all,
full of grace and healing and love and power. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Prospect

to sit still
to do one thing
and one thing only
to begin and to end a breath
without distraction

outside my window
a man stands on a ladder
to paint the ceiling of a parking garage
with a brush — a brush for
six levels of concrete

to do one thing
to begin and to end
with constant attention
to be present to what’s needed
to be present to what’s
good, what’s
here,
what’s holy

too often this is
beyond me

it requires much more
diligence in rehearsal than
I would like to admit

so let me practice:

thankful for the manna
of leftovers; thankful for the
wilderness of work and of words;
thankful for the blessing of flesh and space

thankful for this what instead of
regretful for what is not; thankful for this
where rather than restless for where I am not;
thankful for being instead of critical
for not being otherwise

one full breath
and then one more
let this be the extent of my prayer
out of gratitude rather than
weary resignation

just one breath
enfleshed and holy

just one brush
for what is needed

on Numbers 11:4-6

Lent 26 (Call the Names)

In thanksgiving for ancestors and kin, for mothers and sisters across generations, for those who help to birth and those who accompany the walk and those who tell the tales, I call the names:

Grace
Susan
Mildred
Lydia
Lucy
Jacqueline
Eleanor
Tamar
Diane
Cheni
Ruth
Rahab
Marilyn
Sondra
Sarah
Lisa
Rubi
Nancy
Naomi
Bathsheba
Imani
Elsie
Mary
Lois

on Matthew 1:1-16