Do You Not Care?

Iesus_dormiens_in_media_tempestateWho would believe it? The man can sleep:
Sleep through the howls of wind,
the hiss of waves, the groan of wood,
the crack of timber, the despairing human voice!

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Who would believe it? That God can sleep:
Sleep through the howls of parents,
the hiss of falsehoods, the groan of defenders,
the crack of cages, the despairing voices of children!

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Do you not care?

And the Teacher stands and replies:

“Do you not care?
Rebuke this howling wind
that hisses falsehoods, makes the righteous groan,
confines weeping children in crashing cages.
Rebuke this wind, I say. Rebuke it.

“And then, let there be peace.”

A prayer based on Mark 4:35-41, the Gospel Lesson for Year B, Proper 7.

The image is an illustration from the Hitda Codex, commissioned about 1020 for Abbess Hitda of Meschede, Germany.

Yearning

IMG_4274All right. Let me hear it. Go ahead.
Because I’m one of Your Top Disciples, right?

I don’t need some mysterious story about
seeds growing, I-know-not-how,
beneath the soil. I’ve got it.
Faith takes time. Life happens while
you’re doing other things. Well,
while I’m doing other things.
You’re still doing, I’m sure.

But go on. Let me hear it. Go ahead.
Because I’m one of Your Top Disciples, right?

I don’t need some mysterious story about
how my devotion starts as just a seed,
a tiny seed by any estimation,
seed growing, I know-not-how,
beneath the soil. I’ve got it.
Faith can grow beyond anticipation.
Beyond mine, at any rate. Beyond
Yours? Well, perhaps even that.

So go on. Let me hear it. Go ahead.
Because I’m one of Your Top Disciples, right?

 

Or perhaps…

I yearn to feel the growth, to sense
the roots down-reaching, shoots
up-stretching, leaves unfolding.
I yearn to feel the growth, and so
I yearn for You to feed and water me.

A prayer based on Mark 4:26-34, the Gospel Lesson for Year B, Proper 6.

Leader or Follower

Claude_Lorrain_SamuelI’ve been a leader and
I’ve been a follower, O God.

On the whole, being a leader
is better

Since as a follower I have
to follow the directions
of these leaders who
don’t understand that, frankly,

I Am Right.

On the whole, being a leader
is better

Except for those times
when those I lead lack vision
to perceive this fundamental
Truth, that, frankly,

I Am Right.

You see the problem, Lord?
The thing in common?

Oh. You do. It’s…

Me.

A prayer based on 1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15, the Hebrew Bible Lesson for the Revised Common Lectionary Year B, Proper 5.

The image is “David Anointed King by the Prophet Samuel” by Claude Lorrain.

I Was Just… No. I Wasn’t Just, Was I?

DSC_0207I was just… occupied, my Savior.
I had no notion of the need.
I saw it, but there were other needs.
I could address it, but I lacked the time.
I had the time, but I lacked the means.
I had the means, but I lacked…

The will? The heart?

O Savior. How you grieve.

You restored the withered arm;
can you restore my withered heart?

I was just… hungry, my Savior.
I did not know how empty I was.
I felt the pangs, but there were other needs.
I knew I was faltering, but I lacked the time.
I had the time, but I lacked the sustenance.
I had the sustenance, but I lacked…

The will? The heart? To feed myself on Your Spirit?

O Savior. How you grieve.

You fed your disciples on the gleanings of the fields
and the stories of the Shepherd King;
can you feed me with the bread of heaven?

A prayer based on Mark 2:23-3:6, the Gospel Lesson for the Revised Common Lectionary Year B, Proper 4.

The photo is of Hilo, Hawai’i, shrouded by vog (volcanic haze) on May 28, 2018.

The Skirt of Your Robe

Curtain-939464Flying creatures, bedecked with wings,
their voices ringing, singing, praising,
Quaking the very doorposts with their adulation.
Smoke billows, yet not smothering
the winged choristers of heaven.
Above it all, a mighty figure looms,
the face so high and smoke-obscured
I cannot see its features. Nor can I see
the shoulders, chest, or torso,
hips, thighs, knees are lost in smoke.
Yes, all that I can see of You
within Your very temple
is the falling drapery of Your robe.

For this moment, let my ears be deaf
to all the ecstasies of angels.
Let my mouth, though wide a-gape,
breathe freely in the smoke.
For this moment, let my lips
be numb to absolution’s burn.
For this moment, let the scent
of incense fade from my awareness.
Let me see the flowing hemline of Your robe.
Let me see the skirt of Your robe.

It billows like the smoke.
It flutters like the wings of seraphs.
It sweeps along the flagstones,
cleansing just as surely as
the burning coal upon my lips,
echoing the zephyrs of the mountaintop
as hem and floor caress.

Sweep me, LORD, into the skirt of Your robe,
for a moment, at least, before you ask Your question,
and I, in arrogance and foolishness,
declare that I will leave its soft embrace
and bear your ne’er-to-be-accepted Word
into the world, and to Your people.
You know your people care far more
for power than kindness, greed than grace,
self-righteousness than righteousness.

For just a moment, LORD, embrace me
in the loving softness of Your robe.

A prayer based on Isaiah 6:1-8.

Photo by tommybuddy – https://pixabay.com/en/curtain-red-stage-theater-939464/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5924658 

In the Light of Day

IMG_4187My first prayers this morning, God,
were made with a light heart;
well, lighter than the prayers that followed.
More screams, more shots, more deaths
I did not need to see to grieve.

Details slowly filtering in. Death count
rising. Victims unsurprised but scared.
“Eventually it was going to happen here.”
Dear God. Dear God. Dear God.

And then the sun shone through my window.

And I remembered:

Brightly colored winter coats glinting in the sunshine
as their wearers fled their school,
leaving classmates, teachers, friends
slain behind them.

And I remembered:

Sun blazing over lines of students
older, tears a-streaming, fleeing,
leaving classmates, teachers, friends
slain behind them.

And I saw:

Sun blazing over lines of students today
filing toward their buses home,
leaving classmates, teachers, friends
slain behind them.

The sun seared my eyes through eyelids closed
to stopper flowing tears.
“All who do evil hate the light,” said Jesus.
But in our times, they work their evil
in the light.

If this is what we do by day, O God,
then let each day be blanketed with clouds.

But no. We can not hide. We must not shade our eyes.
In blazing sun, exposing all
hypocrisy, pretense, and lies, I pray:
Change our hearts, O God.

Let us love our children,
let us love our neighbors,
let us love the stranger
more than we love power:
The power at a moment’s notice
to deprive a soul of life.

Let your clear light reveal our love,
and not, once more or ever,
the tragic consequences
of our fear.

Amen.

Can I Pray For…?

DSC_0189Can I pray for peace, O God,
when the bullets fly
and the blood soaks
the weeping soil?

Can I pray for shelter, O God,
when the houses burn
and the earth yawns wide
to breathe out fumes?

Can I pray for safety, O God,
when leaders condemn
the innocent with the guilty?
“They’re animals.”

Yet what else can I do, O God?
I raise my voice for peace.
I rush to help the volcano-shocked.
I condemn the condemnation.

What more can I do, O God,
but pray that You
will have more agency
than I.

Amen.