Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

I wrote three paragraphs. Finally. Three!

In Abraham, Allison, Bathsheba, Breath, Christianity, Communion, Connected, David, Genesis, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, Job, John, Joseph, Making a Mistake, Mary, Moses, Mud, Myth, Passover, Prayer, Prostrate, Spirit, Stations of the Cross, Stillness, Story, The Way, Uncategorized on 24 March 2013 at 8:57 PM

At my church for the past few weeks, we’ve been observing Lent and meditating on the (new) Stations of the Cross. I’ve helped organize and facilitate some of that. Below are the meditations I wrote for this week, the final week of Lent—

 

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and Disciple (John 19:25-27)

Abel, dead and cold in a field, had been Adam & Eve’s innocent son. And Abraham bound Isaac to the altar. And Jacob for years lost Joseph to the wilderness. And ten thousand mothers of ten thousand murdered boys cried out to God in Egypt. And Bathsheba’s baby died very soon. And David wept for Absalom. And Job and his wife, what but the whirlwind was left for them after the quake? — And you, Mary. You lose your child, too. You kept him safe from Herod once but now you watch his body suffer, bleed out, die. What hopeful secrets does He keep from you, Mary, and what horror does He allow you to abide in? You belong to the Story; your sacrifice is your people’s Story—and now you bear its weight. The Kingdom comes but you don’t know it yet. So let yourself be held. Move into the arms of this beloved disciple. It is no consolation, I know, but the LORD gives you this body to writhe against, to weep into, to suffer alongside you. Love upholds you still. So can it be, Mary? Blessed be the Name, even now? Will you say it with me, Mary?—will you bless His Name with me, even so?

 

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross (Luke 23:44-46)

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” Jesus said. What can I commend to God? Not even my time on Facebook. Not my morning coffee. Not my impatience. Not my wife’s emotions, nor my own. Not my anxiety. Not my desire to control. I cannot commend into His hands my desire to be best, to be noticed, to be liked, to impress. But these are what He requires in the Kingdom. I’m to be a vessel of His Kingdom, not of my small loud will. So I close my eyes. And I practice. Father, into your hands I commend this breath. And this one. And this one again. I breathe You in, my Father, and I breathe me out. I take your Spirit within me like these filled-up lungs, like this blood that stirs throughout my body. I breathe in your Likeness, your Spirit. I join my breath to yours. One breath at a time. Into your hands, my Father, my Creator, I commend this breath. And this one. And this one again.

 

Fourteenth Station: Jesus Is Placed in the Tomb (Matthew 27: 57-60)

As you lie prostrate on the cold hard ground your body feels the earth against itself, this God-made earth, so big, so full of love and death, now against your chest, now beneath your belly, now pressed even to your cheeks. This is not an insight; it is a practice. Your body, your only true possession, rests upon the earth. You can smell its wildness. You can hear its generations of passing life, this great muted groan singing to you as through layers of mud. When you are dead you are like the mud. You are a once-a-song returned to the mud. You are a once-a-song that became silenced by the mud. It is the Way of the world. Even God becomes like the mud. He joins you—for you. His body becomes like the layers of mud and contains for a moment all these muted songs. Alive, He was so beautiful a vessel; dead, He becomes like the mud. Listen. Stay here on the ground until creation sings to you through the mud. Stay quiet. The world is singing. Press your ear to the earth. Listen to the silent groaning music. Join your God in the mud. Join your voice to His beautiful—to His terrible song.

 

Chase us. Bug us. Haunt us. Woo us. —A communion prayer (4).

In Christianity, Communion, Connected, Jesus, Making a Mistake, Moses, Myth, Passover, Prayer, Uncategorized on 8 October 2012 at 6:21 PM

Our Father,

We are tired. And we hurt. And we twist inwardly. In the evening, before bed; while we sleep and dream or stay awake alone; while we wake in the morning, eat, shower, arrive; and even now as we gather in your Name: there is this Something and this Something Else. And if I pay attention I can feel them moving. I worry and I fear and I plot and I fight and I grow bored and I complain and I doubt and I gossip and I eat too much and I desire and I grow proud and I hide and I agree with my disappointments and I hope and I trust: apart from the Name. I understand that I want you and I do not know how to want you. I fear you and I go on being afraid. I return to you and I continue in my exile. I am foolish. I am your beloved.

So I am tired—but I wear myself out; and I am hurt—but I am hurtful; and I twist inwardly—but it’s my own shame I’m trying to escape.

And I find, after years and years—I regret myself.

Still, you have come—you, voice of creation; you, Passover lamb; you, Bread in the desert; you, Messiah. You wash my feet. You break yourself open. You pour yourself out.

Because of you—even while we do not know ourselves, even while we do not know what we are doing, even while we fumble around like badly told jokes—even so, we gather in your Name. You say, This is my body. You say, This is my blood. You say, Remember me. So we try. We do what we can. —But give us your Spirit; help us do what we cannot do. Chase us. Bug us. Haunt us. Woo us. Help us love, and trust, and pray—according to the Name.

More tragic or more beautiful. —A communion prayer (3).

In Communion, Prayer on 28 April 2012 at 10:27 AM

We surround your table: we perverts, we thieves, we prostitutes, we cheaters, we racists, we who are lazy, we who use food to console ourselves, we who drink too much, who manipulate, who lie, who control, who rage, who hate, who refuse others forgiveness, we full of self-pity, we who give up hope, we prideful, we selfish, we lonely, we broken, we afraid, we hurt, we your church, we your bride, we your greatest love—we surround your table; because you invite us to eat with you, of you; because you invite us to remember your life, death, resurrection whenever we gather; because nothing more tragic or more beautiful has ever happened: this momentary grief, this hope for all time. We broken, we hurt, we hurtful, we grateful—we thank you: your body broken for us, your blood shed on our behalf: by your death we have life of the ages. Amen.