Refresh Me, Remind Me, Release Me

autumn-leaves-close-up-600x400
Lord, there are days when my prayer life stagnates. When the old trusty prayers fail to inspire. When new words won’t come. Everything is dry as the desert. On these days, I ask you to come to me in a new way. Help me discover fresh ways to see you, to talk with you… to know you. Refresh my desert days with living water.

Lord, there are days when I forget to pray at all. When signs of you are all around me, but I fail to see them. Instead my mind focuses on the endless “to do” list. The daily distractions of the outer world. On these days I ask you to send me a reminder of your loving presence. Help me to see your authorship in all that surrounds me. Guide me from my wandering with a gentle reminder.

Lord, there are days when I find myself stuck. Clenching my fist tightly around a past hurt or a stubborn mindset. This holding on becomes a holding back. On these days, I ask you to grant me permission to let go. Release me from all that holds me in chains. So that I might move forward in love and action and inspiration.

Amen.

Let it Go!

autumn-smiling

During a few blustery, rainy days here in New England, I watched the autumn leaves fall like snow. (Reminding us of what’s to come!) My imagination conjured the sad image of these trees desperately clinging to their many-colored coats as they struggled to hold on against the unrelenting wind. A few days later, after reading a scientific article, I was surprised to learn what’s really going on.

In autumn, trees “decide” to let go of their leaves.

In the warm and fruitful days of spring and summer, leaves use sunlight and water to make food for the tree. With the coming of winter, these leaves become inefficient and unable to produce food. In order to survive the harsh winter and allow for new growth in the spring, a decidous tree must shed its leaves and seal off the spots where they were growing.

This is done through a process called abscission. When the Northern days grow shorter and colder, trees release a hormone that causes tiny cells to grow at the spot where the leaf stem meets the branch. These are called “abscission” cells. (Think “scissors.”) These cells form a line that weakens the leaf stem and allows the wind to do the rest.

A very different metaphor then what I originally imagined. A story of struggle and loss gives way to one of empowerment and growth. Instead of holding on in vain, the trees are actively participating in a process of letting go. What a powerful example of how we might choose to live!  Think of the autumn leaves as habits, behaviors, or ways of thinking that are not life-giving or sustaining. By letting go of them, we—like the trees—allow for protection, preparation, and new growth.

And so I ask…is there something you need to let go of? Continue reading

A Prayer for this Day

bars sunset

There will come a day…

When words are not used like knives,
to cut down and decrease.

When the meek and lowly are raised up
and valued as God’s treasure.

When all weapons are cleared from the land,
melted down in a mighty fire of peace.

When the poor dine
on milk and honey and dignity.

When freedom is not reserved
for a privileged few, but ALL.

There will come a day…
But it is not yet this day.

This day
We can only turn to our God for guidance
To shine Holy light on human weakness and injustice;

To raise up prophets and soldiers
of peace and love

To forge us with the fire of equality and grandeur,
until we are strong like steel.

Raise up
Shine down
Speak truth
Dig deep
All in all

Loving God,
Show us the way
On this day.

AMEN.

Finding God in the Storm

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

We hear this well-known scripture verse at the cross, when the Earth was covered in darkness, and Jesus uttered these words moments before he surrendered his spirit and died. But that’s not the first time we hear it… the line first appears in Psalm 22. Although the specific reason is not known, the author of the Psalm is clearly suffering. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” The passage goes on to say:

Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.

church-and-storm-1

Have there been times, when you’ve felt like the author of this Psalm… that God was very far away? Perhaps during a time when you were experiencing personal suffering. Or maybe from the nagging worry that suffering may be just around the corner. We live in a world FULL of uncertainty and fear. Worries about our personal health and well-being and the well-being of our family members. Worries about the economic climate… will we keep our jobs? Can we “stay afloat” financially? Worries about global threats, war, and violence – terrorism, shootings, natural disasters, contagious disease.

How easy it would be to collapse under the weight of all these worries. How often do we feel like that’s exactly what we might do? How does this fear manifest itself? Sleepless nights, stress, anxiety. Living in this state of perpetual worry… how do we pray?  Continue reading

What Name Do You Call God?

hello my nameMoses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
Exodus 3:13-15

In the book of Exodus we read about God’s encounter with Moses. God wants Moses to bring His laws down from Mount Sinai to the Israelites. Moses’ response is similar to what a lot of us might have said.

They’re not going to believe me!
How will I convince them you’re really God?
Who should I tell them sent me?

God responds: “I am who I am.” (Other translations are: “I am He who Is” —or—“I am who am.”)

hello my nameGod gives Moses an answer but also doesn’t really give him an answer.  Doesn’t that express the very essence of God? Continue reading

Images of God

God is Light
Loving God, be my LIGHT
Source of my innermost being
Illuminating my path
Dispelling the darkness
Shining in the faces of the least of my brothers and sisters

Loving God, be my SHEPHERD
Bringing me to safety
Guiding me and leading me home
Whether one or one hundred
I am found

Loving God, be my ROCK
Safety and permanence
Ancient presence
Providing stability to cling to when the world tilts and swirls
You cannot be moved

Loving God, be my LIVING WATER
Refreshing streams flowing over dry, cracked earth
Quenching my thirst when I wander through the desert
Washing me clean with gentle mercy
The source of life in You

AMEN.