The Legacy of Hatred

Each day I see the legacy of hatred
Written across my screen,
Displayed in videos.
It enters my car in voices on the radio.

Fists raised in anger.
Dueling pundits on cable TV.
The latest shooting.
Marching crowds and candlelit vigils.
Mothers weeping over children, slain.

I confess …
This legacy of hatred lives in me.
It flares out in traffic jams
And simmers inside my clenched jaws.
It plays out in my heart and mind
In unspoken judgments and harsh criticisms.

Wise ones,
How did you learn to love?
How did you learn to let go of
Wrongs done,
Raging resentments?

Holy One, you said that I should love my enemies
And pray for those who persecute me.

Have mercy on me, Gentle One,
For I don’t know how to love.

The Long View

When I feel despair about
The way things are
Or hopeless about
What is to come.

When I feel lost,
No longer sure of the paths
I am to follow.

When I have worn myself out
In anger or in worry.

I catch a glimpse
Of the blip of time
In which I live.

A fungus on a stump.
A stream of water carving a path through a boulder.
Prophets preaching in the wilderness
Or bearing witness on the street corner.

Let me not give up.
But, instead, hold on to
The long view.

Believing that the arc of history
Moves towards love,
Towards justice,
Towards life.

Show me my part
In this long journey.

A Prayer for a New Year

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For a new year,
A new day,
A new moment
We give thanks.

We yearn for
Happiness and prosperity,
Joy and love,
All the while knowing
That each day brings
What it brings.
Knowing that on some days
We will face
Sadness and injustice,
Grief and despair.

In all, let us be open
To grace and courage,
To trust and longing,
To hope and determination,
As we walk beside you,
Your hands and feet and heart
Of justice, love, and peace
In the world.

May we recognize
Your presence in
Each moment,
Each day,
This year.

Sunrise

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I watch the sky this morning
Wondering what the sunrise will bring.
A hint of pink
And then, gone.
Oh, so you will tease me
This day.

From the kitchen window
I see a splash of color.
Rosy clouds floating beyond the trees.
Your beauty is such a mystery to me.

In the car, on the way to work,
I have nearly forgotten you.
And then I see in my rearview mirror
A glow, a brilliant gold ball
Shining through clouds above the horizon.
Ahead of me, in the west, the pink returns
And then clouds fill with dazzling white light.

Sunrise, you remind me
That each new day is a mystery, a gift.
May I never forget to see you.
May I never forget to watch for you
With wondering, awestruck eyes.

God’s Welcome

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Last week we gathered
As United Methodists,
As Episcopalians,
As clergy and lay,
As people with different opinions
On the politics of the day,
And we considered “God’s welcome.”

We listened and laughed,
Prayed and praised,
Wondered and worshiped,
Sat in silence together.

We welcomed guests
From Bolivia.
Our words translated
From English to Spanish,
From Spanish to English.
We communicated with smiles,
With gestures,
With love.

We broke bread together
Around tables in the dining hall
And in the beauty of St. Francis Chapel.
One loaf, one cup, one body of Christ.

We talked and listened and wrestled
About difficult things.
About topics
That often leave us divided, broken.
Yet we remained one people
Even in diversity.

Willing to admit
“I might be wrong.”
“You might be wrong.”
“It’s ok to think or believe differently.”
We are still one body,
Welcomed with love
Into the heart of God.

Reflections on a rich week at a 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation. The topic, “God’s Welcome.” The location, Camp McDowell, the camp of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. The Faculty: Amy Oden and Kee Sloan. We gathered and were richly blessed.