Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prayer for the First Day of Fall

"Harvest Scene” Paul Gauguin

Psalm 65:9-13
You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.

10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.

11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.

12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,

13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation,
we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart, OP, (c. 1260 – c. 1327). 14th century Dominican philosopher
whose interests included metaphysics and the psychology of spirituality.


Let us bring our hearts in study and in quiet prayer this week before God, who gives them life; let them come to this gentle spring seeking sustenance for our living. Let our tender hearts pray to be nurtured there by the gentle shaping of the blessing of God’s presence and its bountifully renewed. Let us ask to live our days in gratitude sharing abundantly from this harvest; living joyfully at home and at work and at play. Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Prayer on International Peace Day

Bhea Vacio, age 11, the Philippines,
via the International Child Art Foundation, dedicated to nurturing children’s creativity and promoting peace through art.

Psalm 85: 8-9
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people,
to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

"HELPED are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.

HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity.

HELPED are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long.

HELPED are those who love others unsplit off from their faults; to them will be given clarity of vision…

HELPED are those who love the Earth, their mother, and who willingly suffer that she may not die; in their grief over her pain they will weep rivers of blood, and in their joy in her lively response to love, they will converse with the trees.

HELPED are those whose ever act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child.

HELPED are those who risk themselves for others' sakes; to them will be given increasing opportunities for ever greater risks. Theirs will be a vision of the word in which no one's gift is despised or lost.

HELPED are those who strive to give up their anger; their reward will be that in any confrontation their first thoughts will never be of violence or of war.

HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world.

HELPED are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgiveness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth….

HELPED are those who laugh with a pure heart; theirs will be the company of the jolly righteous.

HELPED are those who love all the colors of all the human beings, as they love all the colors of the animals and plants; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them….

HELPED are those who love the broken and the whole; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them.

HELPED are those who do not join mobs; theirs shall be the understanding that to attack in anger is to murder in confusion.

HELPED are those who find the courage to do at least one small thing each day to help the existence of another--plant, animal, river, or human being. They shall be joined by a multitude of the timid….

HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differences."

— Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar

Let us celebrate peace in our prayer; let us come with hearts seeking peace. Let us turn our hearts to the Lord praying peace in our souls and in our lives, in our families and in our church family, in our workplaces and communities and in our in our world. Let us bring hearts listening for the help that they need, the Word they long to hear, the salvation that is at hand. Let us bring hearts praying for that peace which surpasses our most lofty thoughts, our most cherished goals, and our most fundamental understandings. Let us celbrate peace in our living. Amen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gratitude's Gifts

(Psalm 103: 1-5)

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and do not forget all his benefits—

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the Pit,

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good as long as you live

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

According to the research “Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness” at the University of California at Davis people who make use of daily practices of gratitude:

  Report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.

 Have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.

 Are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others.

 Place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of wealthy persons; and are more likely to share their possessions with others.

Let us bring our heats in prayer this week. Let us come with all that we are and all that we have, in gratitude and thanksgiving before the Lord. Let us come in full memory of all that we have received and known and done in the living of our days. Recalling, before the Source of all grace and blessing, times of forgiveness and mercies granted, both great and small; of healings, in body and mind and spirit; of rescue from the pit of deepest darkness. Let our hearts recount all the compassion, undeserved, and liberation, unexpected. Let our hearts come in prayer this week, seeking all the fresh goodnesses of the Lord. Let them come in memory and expectation all of these so that by our living daily lives we might proclaim, in gratitude, all the blessings of the Lord. Amen.