blessing for the bathroom

I wrote this for a little booklet I put together on the occasion of a friend’s first new house.  The prayer is specific to her own circumstances, but there is always some universality hidden in particularity. 

When you stand in the morning

toothbrush in one hand

mascara brush in the other

staring into the mirror

May you see the image of God staring back.

May you rest confidently

in God’s miraculous creation

of you.

May you fight the pull to be made over

into an incarnation of the world’s expectations.

Instead

May you recognize yourself as a holy incarnation

an embodiment

a gestation

of love.

May you reject narratives of barrenness

for the narrative of the empty and waiting tomb.

May the grief of an empty tomb

and the joy of a risen body

dance in you here

as you embrace the practice of being human.

Thursdays in the Lectionary – Stones

I do know it’s not Thursday … I’m a day late with this post because yesterday I was busy finishing up my FIRST YEAR OF SEMINARY!  It was a pretty grand day.  The world got so excited about it that it forgot what season it is and snowed today. 

Rachel Held Evans, a writer and thinker I have long admired, began a new series in which she will be dedicating her Thursday blog post to the coming Sunday’s lectionary texts.  She invited her readers and fellow-bloggers to join her in this task of delving into the Bible as a community – whether through a traditional sermon, a poem, a reflection, art – and I am taking up that invitation.

This week’s texts are: Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16, 1 Peter 2:2-10, John 14:1-14

 

One Stone

I jumped on the shovel

shlmph

It sliced into the hard-packed earth

Roots and sticks and last year’s leaves turned over and under

klink

I shove aside the dirt and look down to the heart of the world.

Will I hurry away

and sell everything

for the the Stone I see there,

One large enough to host the the longing of universe

and build it into reality?

It was so terrifying,

they buried it in the loam of the garden,

hoping it might grow there into something more

manageable.

Two stones

They fit like they had always been together

one stone next to the other

breathing with one sturdy lung

binding the whole wall together

into a sanctuary of holy possibility.

Three stones 

When I ran into town

and told them all about the wall I had built,

with the Heart-stone pulsing powerfully at the center,

I asked them to come and see

and imagine with me

just what kind of

roads and bridges and homes

such a living wall could offer.

Lord, do not hold this against them:

three stones hurled in fear.

We will pick them up together

and add them to the wall.

The cornerstone is large enough

to hold every stone they throw.

For the times we are walking in the wilderness

A second litany for a second pop-up worship at my seminary.  The litany is based on themes from Isaiah 40:3-5 and the songs “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and “Guide My Feet, Lord.”  We closed with “We are Marching in the Light of God.”  See the first pop-up worship’s litany here.

You, uncontainable God, are always coming, always making way, always breaking in where we least expect you.  Wake us up to your arrival!

Guide our feet, Lord.

You, life-giving God, come into our dried-up places and breathe out the miracle of your rejuvenating Spirit.  Walk with us in our wilderness!

Guide our feet, Lord.

You, inviting God, pull us out of our pits of fear and set us on the road to freedom.  You call us as your way-makers–show us the roads that lead to you!

Guide our feet, Lord.

You, persistent God, never leave us to travel alone.  We are held by your love and propelled by your justice with healing in our hands and fire in our hearts.  Fill us with your strength!

Guide our feet, Lord.

When we get stuck in worn-out daily liturgies, renew our practice of your presence.

Guide our feet, Lord.

When we are filled with dried-out words, ideas, and stories, bubble up in us your refreshing water of life.

Guide our feet, Lord.

When we are lost in rough relationships, redeem our interactions and re-orient our priorities.

Guide our feet, Lord. 

When we are confronted by uneven and unequal structures and systems, build us into your all-embracing family of shalom.

Guide our feet, Lord.

God, you are our road, our guide, and our final destination.  Bring us all into your glorious kingdom.

Guide our feet, Lord.

And all God’s people said,

Amen. 

A litany for difficult times in the semester …

I wrote this litany for a “pop-up worship” service in March.  A group of us entered the main atrium of our school and began an unexpected short service of lament, prayer, and hope.  These words also speak to the final push at the end of the school year … or at any other time and place of stress and difficulty.  The congregational response is intended to be simple enough for people to join in without written instructions.  

The word litany, by the way, comes from the Greek words for entreaty and supplicant.  Fitting for this particular piece.      

God of all the universe, we come to you heavy-hearted and light-headed, confused, distracted, and frustrated.

Lord, we cry to you.

God of our planet-home, we come carrying equal parts anxiety and hope, and we pray that they mix into some sort of faithful future.

Lord, we cry to you.

God of every creature, great and small, we want to live in your peace and justice, but sometimes the gap between our love and your love is just so great.

Lord, we cry to you.

God who dwells in the deep places of our hearts, we want to obey your call to “be not afraid,” and so we cry out, “Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!”

Lord, we cry to you. 

God of every moment, we feel your insistent presence in the beauty of a birdsong, the smile of a friend, and the warmth of a blanket, and we praise you for the small things.

Lord, we cry to you.

God of the pilgrim way, we thank you that you have brought us this far and rejoice in the call you have given us.

Lord, we cry to you.

God who holds our time in your hands, we know that you promise never to abandon us, and we pray for an enlivened sense of your presence with us.

Lord, we cry to you.

God, our beginning and our end, keep pulling us into your story of salvation, keep reminding us of our own belovedness, and keep sustaining our steps as we walk into your kingdom.  And all God’s people said:

Amen.