OPEN

My pastor, Megan Ramer (seattlemennonite.org) offered this prayer yesterday, and in turn I offer it to you on this day dominated by horrific memories of the 9/11 attack on the United States. Pictures of powerful wildfires and suffocating lowland smoke are a constant reminder of the violent unrest sweeping through many cities; violence fueled by the hot wind of divisive rhetoric spewing from the mouths of those entrusted with the mandate to protect and care for their citizens.

Still. And yet. The image of this lilly, exquisite in it’s vulnerability and exposed to the sun and elements, calls me to remain open to hope. Vulner-able. Accepting the wound and exposing ourselves to the possibility of healing. May the healing you long for be yours today.

Sharing a prayer by Anna McKenzie, from Good Friday People by Sheila Cassidy, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991

And so we must begin to live again,
We of the damaged bodies
And assaulted minds.
Starting from scratch with the rubble of our lives
And picking up the dust
Of dreams once dreamt.
And we stand there, naked in our vulnerability,
Proud of starting over, fighting back
But full of humility
At the awareness of the task.
We, without a future,
Safe, defined, delivered
Now salute you God.
Knowing that nothing is safe,
Secure, inviolable here.
Except you.
And even that eludes our minds at times.
And we hate you
As we love you,
And our anger is as strong as our pain.
Our grief is deep as oceans,
And our need as great as mountains.
So, as we take our first few steps forward
Into the abyss of the future,
We would pray for
Courage to become what we have
Not been before
And accept it,
And bravery to look deep
Within our souls to find
New ways.
We did not want it easy God,
But we did not contemplate
That it would be quite this hard,
This long, this lonely.
So, if we are to be turned inside out,
And upside down,
With even our pockets shaken,
Just to check what’s rattling
And left behind,
We pray that you will keep faith with us,
And we with you.
Hold our hands as we weep,
Giving us strength to continue,
And showing us beacons
Along the way to becoming new.
We are not fighting you God,
Even if it feels like it,
But we need your help and company,
As we struggle on.
Fighting back
And starting over.

Photo Credit: Susan Wehrman

Off The Hook

We try so hard, don’t we? When spiritual development becomes a passion we sometimes work at it to the point of exhaustion, excluding all spontaneity of spirit. That’s why I’m letting myself off the hook today, and invite you to join me if so moved.

In her book, In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection, Jan Richardson suggests with Thomas Moore that we let ourselves “get sleepy” once in a while, because it is in the latent spaces in-between when we let go, that spirit can then plant seeds that can germinate. Moore suggests that “…awareness, wisdom, and soulfulness do not arrive solely through perpetually vigilant consciousness.”

So today, let yourself off the hook and let spirit do her work.

Blessing

May you grow sleepy
enough
to find the gap where God lives.
May your soul find its waking
there.

Jan Richardson In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection

Photo Credit Fish Hook: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/yikdE9EiE.htm

Photo Credit Person Floating: Esther Lui for NPR