Easter Blessing

Bless this day
When light returns,
Love astounds,
Life prevails.

Bless the grieving,
The lonely,
The hungry.
Hope is reborn.

Bless the young ones
And the old.
Bless the enemies
And those despised.

Bless this world,
Gripped by violence.
Peace returns.

God makes a way
Where there was no way.
Christ has risen.
Alleluia.

From my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings. Copyright © 2016 by Beth A. Richardson.

Prophets and Saints

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Yesterday in church (Edgehill United Methodist Church) I led A Litany for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But in my mind I was also hearing and seeing and remembering the saints and prophets of our little congregation.

The group of people who started the church in 1966, planted at the edge of an “urban renewal” failed experiment (the projects), black and white together in a time when that wasn’t done, intending to welcome everyone no matter their color, class, or status. Led by a small, diverse group, pastored by Bill Barnes.

This church taught and nurtured me when I came, fresh out of college, to Nashville, TN. Worshiping in the garage of a little house, I sang every other Sunday in Marjorie Campbell’s choir, learning the chords and cadences of the music of the black church. (On the alternate Sundays, I played my guitar in the folk band that led the singing on those weeks.)

I sat at the feet of Laura Buck McCray, raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, daughter to an assistant of Booker T. Washington. Laura, trained in non-violent resistance at the Highlander Center along with a quiet woman named Rosa Parks.

I learned to sing, with gusto, “Lift ev’ry voice and sing, ’till Earth and heaven ring/Ring with the harmony of liberty.”

I learned the stories of those brave prophets and saints who put their bodies on the line for justice in Nashville and other places around the country. Those brave prophets and saints whose stories continue to unfold today during a time when people hesitate to say that #blacklivesmatter.

I am still a part of this church, who, this year, celebrates 50 years of ministry. May it continue to be a participant in God’s justice; teaching, preaching, loving, welcoming, growing, nurturing all God’s people.

May it be so.

A New Year’s Message from a Tree

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This year
May I be strong
May I be flexible
May I bend in the winds
And never break.

This year
May I be wise
May I be humble
May I provide refuge in my arms
For those who are weak.

This year
May I see farther
May I take the long view
May I remember I am
One a part of the whole creation.

This year
May I lift my arms in praise
May I lift my arms in awe
May I remember I am
Beautiful, loved and cherished just as I am.

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