Broken

Mary arrived early at the tomb to clean up the broken body;

wrap it with soft cloth and spice.

Jesus forbad it.

       Hands off.        Don’t touch.

Broken punctured twisted bloodied naked shredded skin

A glorified body

presented to God in all its brokenness

visible to friends: see my hands, my feet, my side

Don’t hold on to me, Mary.

The world must see me just like this.

You cannot clean him up, Mary.

Let’s all stop trying to wash away the blood

and spice up the body broken.

Lest we all start believing the lie that people are basically good…

That the arc of human nature bends toward justice…

It is the disfigured figure of innocence savagedly razed to life

that testifies against the human race: a depraved race.

Holy Love embodied walks on calloused heels searching out the concentration camps of the soul:

unblinded eyes see the self-haters forgiven who embrace the leprosy-free as they dance with the lame-no-more.

Only one punishment to fit this crime against humanity:

Crucify Him.

No, Mary, you cannot clean him up.

      We must see Him as he is

as we made him

         or we will never believe it is true –

                        in denial

that we are the darkness we fear

               disguised as angels of light.

BrokenBody

Creator of the universe,
you made the world in beauty,
and restore all things in glory
through the victory of Jesus Christ.
We pray that, wherever your image is still disfigured
by poverty, sickness, selfishness, war and greed,
the new creation in Jesus Christ may appear in justice, love, and peace,
to the glory of your name. Amen.*

*Revised Common Lectionary, Vanderbilt Divinity Library (online)

Source: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/prayers.php?id=87

The Dare

It is the brave hearts and bold minds who test God with a dare.

If you are real, come to my life in a real way.

So we pray with boldness that the healing presence would be revealed.

We accept that life is a gift; that health is a blessing;

that this new day is filled with awesome potential;

that we all have the capacity to bring something new and unique and good into the world we share.

lifting fog

Let the realness remind me to be kind and to be patient with people: not just the ones who love me but those who work with me too.

Let the realness teach my eyes to see all the beauty I ignore in anger

and teach my ears to hear that silent longing of my own soul.

Let the realness reveal you, God. Let this be a good day.

Reveal your healing presence; reveal goodness; reveal love.

They have been hidden from my sight for too long.

Amen

The Year Goes To Its Rest

As the sun sets each day, so the year also disappears across the horizon of its winter.

And though the setting sun says a lot about closure and things that are final;

though the end of the day cries for things

neglected, undone, and forgotten that can not be recovered;

The disappearing sun also brings permission to rest and to reflect, not on this day,

but the day to come;

a charge to prepare for the new day sun.

So it is with the setting year.

It is here we find the promise of renewed goals and brand new dreams.

It is with the end of the year we get to imagine what the next will be;

what we will make it; what will be finished and what we will begin.

awake-the-dawn07sm

The new year is a great big box of brand new days.

What a wondrous world has been provided. The year past has brought the glory of spring, the warmth of summer, and again the cycle of autumn, and winter.

All nature responds to the rhythm of life.

Teach us to value our days as gifts. Teach us how to receive the day.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

May the favor of our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us;

give us purpose and let us become competent.

May this coming year be a joy to us; let blessings fall like the hard, spring rains on us all.

Teach us to dance in their puddles and not to fear the dark skies.

Amen.

Combustion

bustle

Gracious and giving God,

We are busy and when we get busy we get bold: acting decisively, deciding quickly, quickly moving, to move the day’s business forward.

So guard our activity with wisdom and fill it with compassion.

If You give us only one gift this holiday season, let it be this: grant to us the blessing of stillness; some quiet, soul searching time. Let us have time to move slower, choose with consideration, and question what we do.

Give us rest.

May all the ways You are beyond us bring us comfort: You are able in all the ways we are unable.

May all the ways You are near us bring us hope. You understand us and love us: calling us by name and looking into our eyes even in this moment.

endofwick

In this season where Peace and Hope are anticipated, allow Your virtue which is both beyond us and near us to inspire us: like a candle at the end of its wick let malice, intolerance, hatred, bigotry and exclusion burn itself out to a sputtering, flickering end.

Instead, let us find within us love, acceptance, and peace.

Amen

.burning out

Morning Walk

On this morning we wander off in search of the things all creatures need: kindness; a smile to reassure the one who doubts their worth. And encouragement: a word that rebuilds what has been torn down.berries in snow

If we are lucky, we find forgiveness like the scout stumbles upon berries in the woods. A soft quiet rain would be like the pardon we receive freeing us from guilt.

Let us hear when peace is spoken. It is transparent and moves silently. Give us ears to hear it. Give us hearts to sense it when it brushes by.

After all, what is salvation except two friends driven apart by broken trust: reconciled, bonded, and stronger together than before?

Where love and faithfulness meet; where righteousness and peace embrace

Trust will spring up from the ground like grass through the snow.

grass in snow

We wander off this morning in search of what is good; and the earth, and our neighbors, and our faiths will provide it exponentially; if you search.

Relationships made whole again are always just ahead of us, if we wander in search of them. It is only by our footsteps trails are made. We will make a path so their steps will lead them to us.

 

Amen.

Seasons

It isn’t as if the world had slipped out of God’s hands.

Sometimes what we react to is the sense that our hands have slipped off the wheel.

 

But we believe in history.

The world is not a roll of the dice

On its way toward chaos.

A new world is always emerging

Spring to Summer to Fall to Winter to Spring again.

 

A God who knows sorrow and pain

A God who knows what it is to have enemies and soul bonded friends

Hate failed when

You become the definitive smile for humankind.

 

We accept the struggles and challenges.

 

We march on in the moment mindful that we are exploring the future with every passing minute. And that we do not go on this journey alone.

You are with us. You are eternal.

 

Beyond the crushing of the day’s gravity,

There is the shout of victory when the sun goes down and we are still standing up!

 

So teach us to give voice

To our new life always emerging

Because the tears of stress

And the fear of the unknown will disappear

Like seasons that pass.

 

Like we are in the changing seasons,

You are in our changing lives

 

Ever present.

Amen.mountains in four seasons

Truth Seeds

God of Hope

When you speak, life begins.

As you breathe, things become energized.

So speak to our reflections and breathe on our ideas

But also dialogue with us as we doubt.

We know you like to wrestle for you made so many skeptics

and cunning, free thinkers like Jacob.

Show us, as you showed him, that doubts are merely Truth Seeds hitting a growth spurt.

 

God of Hope be present with our thoughts.

All our thoughts.

They are just seeds soaking up the good from their surroundings.

May all our creative solutions and every concern that crushes us

Find in You nourishment and sunshine and life-giving rain.

Bless us by breathing to life our hopes and our fears.

We become stronger when we are made to hold up our dreams

and hold down our dragons.

 

Amen.

dandelion seeds

Autumn Falls

A prayer poem inspired by a weekly prayer of the Columban Fathers

 

All mighty and enduring God,

We arrive at autumn’s door with spirits and hearts filled like Halloween candy bags with gratitude.

The vibrant colors remind us of eternal rest; our memories turn to happy times where peace and joy sat with us over coffee in warm kitchens with frosted windows.

Giving thanks means we think often of those who are denied comfort and rest.

We commit ourselves to bring their suffering into sacred places.

When our arms cannot reach them, let our thoughts and prayers empower those close by to serve all needs.

Dignify your creation, O God, with good care and true compassion.

Above all, may we see the setting autumn sun not as the doom saying prophet of winter to come,

but as a celebration calling all that is eternal and good and noble to the family table.

In falling leaves we see blessings fall;

beautiful things once far away now gather in piles at our feet.

We will gather them up into big piles just to jump in and disappear under the colors of Thanksgiving.

Amen.
falling leaves

House Guest

a prayer inspired by a prayer of the Columban Fathers

 

Our Father who is above us:

We are magnetized to mercy and love; attracted toward a friendship with the divine.

Distractions and abstractions often get in the way of knowing you more fully.

But you are faithful to sit alone when we have stood you up.

You are loyal to your love for us even while we doubt your motives and question whether or not you’ll be there for us.

 

You reside in the house of my absence; your summer home is the villa of my ignorance.

Why do you keep my place so tidy when I won’t even offer you a drink?

 

Momentary events bring us doubt, but time reveals the quiet work you are ever up to.

You share your life for all and invite us to share our lives with you;

to tell you bluntly of pain and loss, to seek enlightenment when confusion strikes, to sing with you over every little thing that brings us joy.

family gather

Your welcome is like an open door where the family gathers for a holiday

and the long, suffering patience you possess gives room for the skeptic, confidence to the believer

and a passion to spread the good news in fewer words and with greater compassion.

In this way you save us: holding back the closing doors of a narrow mind and broadening the channels of our hearts.

 

Amen.

 

Nine-Eleven

 9_11cover

Easy Sermon

by Mark Jarman

It must be easy to preach a sermon nowadays — A friend

 

Sermons are easy, Turgid or breezy,

When everything goes wrong

Every scripture Leads on to rapture,

When doom has struck its gong.

 

When towers are falling

And muezzins are calling,

It’s simple to kneel and pray.

A message will come

To the deaf and the dumb

In an easygoing way

 

When nothing is certain,

Up goes the curtain

Where the inner sanctum lurks

And everyone sees

The forest and trees,

The treason and the clerks.

 

And so every creature

Turns to the preacher

For the meaning of it all.

And a couple of cents

Can be sheer eloquence

When the highest powers fall.

 
twintowerlights

God of Hope and Peace:

Be near us.

Guard our hearts. Guard our minds. Guide our deeds.

Amen.