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

Summer Music: Soulrocker

MFS.Soulrocker.R04.submittedThe album of my summer is most definitely SOULROCKER, the new release from Michael Franti & Spearhead, the globally-conscious, awareness-provoking, justice-crying, love-believing artist & band that have been the creative soundtrack of the Gospel for me since I was first introduced to their music during seminary.

“Soulrocker,” as the album jacket defines it, is “one who lives from the heart, with compassion for all, and possesses a tenacious enthusiasm for music, live and the planet.” The album has all of the great Franti/Spearhead hallmarks of “soulrocker” spirit: a woke examination of injustice in its many forms & places, a determined love for all life & creation, a knack for singing right to the heart of things, and an infectious spirit that cannot be kept from dancing.

Longtime fans of Michael Franti will find delightful hints of previous albums and tracks hidden throughout SOULROCKER: references to rude boys, a new take on “I Got Love For Ya” (All Rebel Rockers 2008), and — at least to my ear — echoes from the rhythmic track of “I Wish That I Could Be You” (Love Kamikaze 2005) undergirding “Do You Feel The Way That I Do?”

SOULROCKER is a pick-me-up album:

“Shine your light until the break of dawn,
and shine your light if you’re all alone.”

It’s a fall-in-love album:

“There’s not a worry in the world
when I’m rollin’ with you girl.”

It’s a standing-in-the-need-of-prayer album:

“There’s a part of me that always
needs to pray; there’s a part of me
that wants to run away.”

It’s a lament-the-world album:

“I’m hearing all the time about another Brother
leaving life far before his time.”

It’s a change-the-world album:

“Could you ever give more today?
Or could you give a little
to help love find a way?”

It’s also, with the surprising but artfully-infused addition of techno, a dance album, quite likely to inspire hip-swaying and hand-raising whether in the kitchen or the car or the club.

From start to finish, SOULROCKER is an album that grounds and uplifts my spirit as Franti is always able to do, for which I’m especially grateful this summer. I commend it highly for your summer too — or winter or spring, or vacation or workday. Check it out!

Sunday Prayer

We come in peace, O God Most Holy,
Most Sovereign, Most Glorious:
peace to you and peace to us.
Peace because these days are hard and
these hearts are restless, as we long
for joys past, for hopes unrealized,
for dreams of healing as simple
as Naaman standing in the river.
Peace because we lack
the faith of the river
to carry on, to flow, to
dance without knowing
what lies ahead.
But peace is surely ours because
we know we are not alone:
in twos and in sevens, from the Pit
to the Mountain, we are girded
by grace and empowered by love.
For every light of hope that glimmers,
we love all the more.
For every wisp of shadow that looms,
we love all the more.
We share the load, we comfort the mourning
and the disenfranchised, and while
we wait together for your fulfillment,
in Christ’s name we hold fast to your peace.
Peace to you, Most Holy,
Most Sovereign, Most Glorious,
and peace to us all. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

In The Jordan

Seven times seven times seven
I learn from the lily: rejoice.
tigerlilySeven times seven times seven
I learn from the river: continue.
waterSeven times seven times seven
I learn from the maple: stand.
mapleSeven times seven times seven
I learn from the sky: breathe.

on 2 Kings 5:10 and Isaiah 66:14