Thursday, December 24, 2009


Psalm 90

1Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.

2Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3You turn us back to dust,
and say, "Turn back, you mortals."

4 For a thousand years in your sight
are like yesterday when it is past,
or like a watch in the night.

12 So teach us to count our days
that we may gain a wise heart.

Come in stillness and in solitude, in these hectic days;
come to the dwelling place of God.

Return your heart of prayer
to its most ancient home.

Seek there the hope of all creation;
the strength of eternity;
and peace which endures.

Know in your heart’s returning home;
safe shelter in the frailty of its truth
held within antiquity’s gentle arms.

Pray there that your heart of prayer becomes,
the dwelling place of the Lord.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pray: Be the Light in the Darkness

Hanukkah begins

Friday, December 11
at Sundown.

“As long as Hanukkah is studied and remembered, Jews will not surrender to the night. The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle.”
Irving Greenberg, Modern Orthodox Rabbi, Jewish-American

In this second week of December, as the light of our days grows ever shorter and nights stretch longer before us, may we bring our hearts in prayer to the Source of all light. May we seek with them the miracle of the Light in our own darkness. May we find in that Light the strength and courage to live as a candle in the deep darknesses of the world. Amen.

Learn more about the Maccabean Revolt and the story of Hanukkah here.

To learn the Hanukkah Candlelighting Blessing try this link.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creator of all Life:
One-by-one every family we know breathes whispers in clandestine tones….

It happened to us…
     to our parents,
     aunts and uncles,
     to a sister and her husband,
     brother and sister-in-law,
     to our best friends….

Four times in a row
     before the baby came
          once, before

     We even knew…

Three times
     over six years
          and then children
     healthy and perfect.

To our relief,
     the dare-not-breathed
          at all 
                         between the words
                                                                of but a scant few.

We just keep breathing
      in and out
     in the darkness

          of the deep void
     that has consumed us.

Breath is the life you give.
     You’ve been there all along…

Breathing for us…
     when we could not remember to do it for ourselves,

          holding us from the beginning,
          as we are holding each other, now, in invisible bonds.

We won’t feel this way

Everything that is,

     you created
          out of the deep darkness
               of the void.

You do no less for we who you created good:

Call us out of our shapeless places of endless darkness…

Help us find new form and shape for our living
     in this void

     that has stolen the shape
     from our lives.

Bring light to our darkness, O Creator of all.

Call us out of the water of our tears, bring us to dry land.

Carry us from this shapeless time, into new fruitfulness for our living.

Assure in our darkest nights…
     that dawn and its daylight will always follow.

When the water of our tears

     do overcome,
          that they team
     with the potential for new life.

Bring forth from us new life for the living of our days.

Lift us gently,

     compassionate Creator.
 Take us softly
     in your arms
     into each of us
          breath of life.

The prayer above was written to conclude the 2009 Annual Candlelight Memorial Service in memory of children dead to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, being born still or who died within a few days of their birth. I was privileged this year to be the organizer and to once again light candles and speak publicly the names of my own Dear Little Ones, Alice, Claire and Elizabeth. They continue, by God’s good grace, to bless me in so many amazing ways.

Some may recognize the inspiration I found in Rachel Barenblat's poem "Community" published in, THROUGH (miscarriage poems), the creation story in the first chapter of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, and Pierre Wolff's, May I Hate God. (Links are provided, just run your cursor over.)

Giving Beauty

“Originality depends only on the character of the drawing and the vision peculiar to each artist.”  
George Seurat (b. December 2, 1859)

Let us seek, this week in prayer, that which is most unique within us; may we find there the character and creativity which are ours alone so that our vision of our lives may lead us to living the deep and particular work of beauty which is ours alone to give the world. Amen.

The image above is, of course, of Seurat's famous "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grand Jette," which resides at the incredible Art Institute of Chicago. I remember studying this painting as a child in school and then taking a trip to the museum to see it. It’s size, the colors which seem alive, the layers of experience and meaning, the feelings of awe…. I still get chills.

Joyeux anniversaire ! George. Merci!