Monday, October 26, 2009

Prayer To Let Go So We Can Cling and Confide

Protestant Christians Celebrate Reformation Day, October 31.

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”
Martin Luther. Luther’s Large Catechism, “Commentary on the First Commandment.”

On Halloween Day, 1517, Luther a young Augustinian Monk and scholar nailed 95 “Theses of Contention” to the door of the Cathedral at Wittenberg. This practice was the accepted way of engaging in scholarly debate in the days before books were widely available and the power of Guttenberg’s movable type was only just beginning to be felt. Seeking only to change some minds and a few practices, Luther changed the Western world.

May we come to prayer with faithful hearts in these days asking for the trust and courage to fall away from those old confidences whose seasons have passed but to which we cling. May we come with hearts seeking to know the hope and reassurance for our living which comes only by clinging to and confiding in That which we can only know in faith and trust and courage as we fall. Amen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Plaid Prayer

Scotland the Brave

Hark when the night is falling

Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,

Loudly and proudly calling,

Down thro' the glen.

There where the hills are sleeping,

Now feel the blood a-leaping,

High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Ayrshire District Tartan

Sunday October 25, some Protestant Churches whose members claim some Scottish roots will be Celebrating the Reformation by Kirkin’ the Tartans, (Kirk being the Scots word for Church) when they will hold a service of blessing of family tartans. The Rev. Peter Marshall, originally from Coatbridge, Scotland, was the pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, and served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. Rev. Marshall was the originator of the Kirkin o’ the Tartan service in the US during the Second World War, as an effort to raise funds for British war relief.

The service finds its history in Scotland, in the struggles for Scot freedom from British oppression during the days of the Act of Proscription, 1746. The wearing of the tartan, plaid Kilt, a symbol of national and clan pride and courage in battle, was banned in the Highlands. Legend has it that in those difficult days the Highlanders hid pieces of tartan and brought them to church to be secretly blessed in the service, a very dangerous practice which could have cost them their lives.

Dr. Marshalls service has survived these over 60 years reminding us of the strength we can find for the living of difficult days in our deep connections to our roots, the courage and strength of those who have gone before us in our lives and in our lands, in our hopes and in our faiths.

Let our hearts listen in prayer this week for the strains of that which calls to us from our most ancient roots. Deep places of courage and strength and hope, which somehow seem to call to us from both the center and most distant places of our beings. May those distant strains cause our blood leap and our spirits stir in courage and in hope for that which lays a head. Amen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Praying with the Shadow Self, Reflection I on Macbeth

I love October and Halloween. To celebrate, I reread Macbeth and spend some time throughout the month reflecting on its timeless themes. Murder, blood, conspiracy, corrupt power, guilt, hallucinations, prophecy, witches, cauldrons and spells... what's not to love about Shakespeare's gory tragedy that pulls us nose deep into our struggles with our own humanity.

In the Spirit of the approaching holiday from: Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1, William Shakespeare.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes:(45)
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter Macbeth.

How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags?
What is't you do?

May we come this week and pray that our hearts open their locks to the very human struggles, which we all share, with those parts of ourselves which we keep hidden even from ourselves. For it is only in bringing our secret midnights into the Healing Light of prayer that what it is we do can offer healing true healing for “Whoever knocks!” Amen.

Image credit cantueso.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Prayer and a Dream

Yo Yo Ma with the Silk Road Ensemble above performing in New Delhi.

The Silk Road Ensemble

The Silk Road Ensemble is a collective of approximately 60 internationally renowned musicians, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers from more than 20 countries. Each Ensemble member's career illustrates a unique response to what is one of the artistic challenges of our times: nourishing global connections while maintaining the integrity of art rooted in an authentic tradition.

A not-for-profit artistic, cultural and educational organization founded in 1998 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Silk Road Project takes inspiration from the historic Silk Road trading route as a modern metaphor for multicultural and interdisciplinary exchange.

“It took me way beyond what I knew, into places of which I was totally scared, but as I became less frightened, I welcomed new ways of thinking and approaching something. It made me an infinitely richer person, and I think a better musician.” Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, b. October 7, 1955.

May we follow our hearts leading us in prayer this week to join with the hearts of women and men we never dreamed we’d meet. May we be joined in our common longing for grace and beauty, for creativity and elegance, for individuality and harmony by the Spirit of openness and courage, by the Insight of our Heart of our shared yearning to become richer and better selves than we could ever dream ourselves to be on our own. Amen.