If at First…

Marlenheim_SteRicharde06Well.
That didn’t work.
I thought it might.
I thought it should.
And, well…
(OK, I thought it might not, too)
It didn’t.

So.

It’s comforting to know, my friend,
That you had bad days, too.
Remember Nazareth? Oh, my!
All the things you couldn’t do.
Yes, the things you couldn’t do.
Amazing (yes, your word), it was
Simply amazing.

So.

What if I take a page from out your book
(that’s from The Book, you know),
And gather up a team next time?
“Hey, followers! The class is done:
Now do the work your Teacher does.”

So.

Not One
(Even your amazing One).
Not just that inner group
Of Peter, James, and John
(and Mary and Mary and Salome).
Not just the Twelve,
But all I can (we can) inspire
And teach to be your body,
Do your work, love your love,
Shower your grace.

So.

If at first I don’t succeed, then…

We
Try
Again.

A prayer based on Mark 6:1-13, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year B, Proper 9.

The sculpture of “Christ with the apostles Peter and Paul” is found in Alsace, Bas-Rhin, France, on the Église Sainte-Richarde de Marlenheim. Photo by © Ralph Hammann – Wikimedia Commons – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18639532

Is This the Time?

For some who wonder
now, “Where is life’s
boundary?” The one who
wakes, confused, with speech
no one can understand,
and moans in
sleep; the spouse who
watches (he once
watched) to guess the tide of
life; the son who’s near,
the son who’s far; the
grandson and
granddaughter who
have lost two grandparents they
knew, and one they
never knew; the sister,
nieces, nephews, cousins.

Beyond the Jordan, do they
know? Do they know, is this their
time for love’s reunion?
Mother, father, wife, and
sister: they await.

Here, in tears, we ask:
“Is this the time?”

#prayer

Written on June 25, 2018, as we wondered whether my father was approaching his last days.

If I Could Only Touch

Byzantine_Mozaic_Italy6c-1

If I could only touch… Not grasp.
If I could only touch…

Would my loved ones be healed?

If I could only touch… Not hold.
If I could only touch…

Would my nation release the children it imprisons?

If I could only touch… Not seize.
If I could only touch…

Would my nation welcome refugees?

If I could only touch… Not clutch.
If I could only touch…

Would my heart swell with courage?
And power?
And grace?

If I could only touch?

A prayer based on Mark 5:21-43, the Gospel Lesson for Year B, Proper 8.

The image is of the woman touching Jesus’ hem, a sixth century mosaic found in the Church of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

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.