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.

The Endless Chatter

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I am powerless to ignore
The endless chatter of The News.
The pre- and post-disasters,
The Shocking Revelations,
The dire forecasts
And somber analysis.

I seem unable to remember
That what I need, really,
Is just a bit of silence.
A walk outside,
A time of meditation,
A few deep breaths.

What I need, really,
Is the sound of the birds,
The kiss of the sunrise,
The feeling of the cool breeze on my skin.

Help me, God of Peace,
To find moments of you
That break through
The endless chatter.

Color

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The scientists say
We are more alike
Than we are different

Our genetic code
Shows that we all
Have the same mother
From whom we have descended

But
It is
The color of our skin
That has created
This world where
Those with black and brown skin
Struggle to exist

This world where
Those with black and brown skin
Are suspect

This world where
Those with black and brown skin
Fear for their lives
When they go about
Their daily business

God, you created us
More alike
Than we are different

Save us from ourselves
From our prejudice
Our injustice
Our fear

Save us
Transform us
Comfort us
And show us the way
To be your people
One people
Once again

 
Find more of my blessings in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings. Subscribe to my video channel at YouTube.

Hold on to Hope

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I saw the moon setting
As I drove to work
Early this morning.

It hung over the horizon,
Round and orange,
Its beauty suspended
Over the blackness of trees
The shadows of houses.

The full moon
Reminds me that life goes on
Even in the midst
Of chaos, of grief,
Of confusion or hopelessness.

Hold on to hope, to beauty,
To love, to the assurance
That no matter what we face,
God is there beside us, saying,
“You are my beloved.”

 
Find more of my blessings in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings. Subscribe to my video channel at YouTube.

Lord, Have Mercy

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I wrote this prayer a few weeks ago in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting. Since then, there was the attack in the Istanbul airport and, this morning, news of a bombing in a Bangladesh restaurant. I offer it here as I continue to struggle with the violence that continues around the world.

The news is bad.
We are outraged and horrified.
We are shocked and afraid.
We are overwhelmed and numb.
How many more times will we awake to such news?

Some of us sit in front of the television,
Search the internet for stories,
Watch, listen for something
That will help make sense,
That will soothe or comfort,
That will bring order back again.

Some of us can’t bear the words, the images.
The press conferences and scrolling news feeds
Freeze our brains, our hearts, our guts.

Some of us pray.
Some of us escape.
Some of us rage.
Some of us cry.

God, have mercy on our world.
Have mercy on the powerless and the powerful.
Have mercy on the first responders and those in ministry to the brokenhearted.
Have mercy on the victims, their families, their friends.

Sit with us in our terror, our sadness, our hopelessness.
And let us hold the space for others as we
Sit or cry, light candles or pray,
In solidarity, in hope, in love.
Amen.

This Tree

  
This tree,
My companion
In the front yard.

You are the filter
Through which I watch
The winter sky.

Sunrises, stars,
The sliver of a moon
In the pre-dawn light.

Some may call you bare.
I see the beauty of
Your shape,
Your branches, strong,
The witness that winter
Is not dead.
It brings a time of reflection,
Of seeing through other filters.

And now, with Spring,
You sprout new life.
You tell an Easter story,
That death has no power.
Resurrection changes all.

 
 
Find more of my prayers in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings.