Stand Witness

There are forces that flow
Through this universe.
Forces of life, of death,
of good, of evil.

Today a person dies.
Tomorrow a child is born.
We witness these events and
Stand in awe
At the holy immensity of it all.

Sometime we are swept up,
Blown around,
Knocked to the ground
By these powers
That we cannot see or hear,
Understand or control.

We stand as witnesses,
To the forces of evil,
To the oceans of love.

We stand as witnesses
To hearts broken open
With sorrow,
To voices speaking quietly
With courage.

We stand as witnesses,
Holding these sacred spaces,
Remembering and trusting
That our presence
Is enough.

Stand witness.
Be present.
Trust.

All Shall Be Well

When you wake up in a fog,
The clouds hiding the sun,
Hiding the hope and the confidence
You used to have.

When the place you are standing
Feels like it tilts at random moments
And you risk sliding into the abyss.

When you are floating
In a pool of wet darkness,
Your foot tethered to a boulder
That pulls you under.

May the bright sun of the universe
Cut through the clouds
And cover you in warmth and light.

May the healer of the heavens and the earth
Wrap you in safety and confidence,
Stand firm beneath your feet,
Hold you up when you feel you are sinking.

May the creator of hope
Tap you on the shoulder
And whisper,
“I’m right here.
And all shall be well.

“You are not alone.
And all shall be well.

“You are mine.
And all shall be well.”

Resilient

I sit down to write
And no words come.

I am tired,
Discouraged,
Overwhelmed by the never-ending
Reports of disasters and tragedies.
Weighed down
By too-much bad news.

Make me resilient
Like the grass whose seeds
Sprout and put down roots
In ancient stones.

Take heart.
Take root.
Love.
Live.
Trust.


I took this photo in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. This grass grew in the ruins of St. Mary’s Church. Built in the 10th century, this was the place of worship for the nuns of the monastic settlement which grew up around Kevin of Glendalough.

Day of Prayer for the Healing of the World

On Wednesday we will welcome Morgan Stafford as our preacher in The Upper Room Chapel. Morgan is working with the Tennessee Annual Conference as a Cross-Cultural Strategist. He will be preaching on “Will We Welcome”?

The service, at 10:45 a.m., is one part of a Day of Prayer for the Healing of the World. We will be gathering as a staff for a day of pray for the world, for our nations and leaders, for our churches, for our communities, families, and friends. We invite your participation from wherever you are. We hope you will send us your prayers for the world so that they may be a part of this day. Share your prayers with us.

Join us in body or spirit on Wednesday, October 18, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (CDT). 1908 Grand Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212.

Too Hard

Some days it seems too hard to
Turn on the news,
Read the texts,
Answer the phone.

What news,
What pain,
What disaster
Awaits us today?

How much more
For the Holy One.
The one who stands,
Sits,
Weeps
With the world.

May I,
In my little life,
Also, sometimes,
Stand,
Sit,
Weep,
Pray
With those who suffer.

Just
For a little while.

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.