Monday, August 31, 2015

A Labor Day Prayer

Labor Day Litany -- from Interfaith Worker Justice

Leader: O Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, on this Labor Day we thank You for Your care and loving concern for workers throughout the world. We remember all workers: men and women; young and old; all races, ethnic and language groups in Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, North Africa, North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America and the Middle East. Help all working personal realize a deeper understanding of Your presence, and call them to do justice and build human community where they are employed.

Leader: For workers who face dangerous conditions or hazards in their work without sufficient warning or protection,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For all who face the conflicts of working and caring for children without adequate support,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For all workers who cannot find work and for whom unemployment assistance is not available,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For workers who are displaced by technical change or global pressures to relocate jobs,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For children whose childhood has been cut short because they are forced to work,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For all who face difficulties or are discriminated against in getting work or at the workplace because of race, gender, ethnicity, physical disabilities, political or religious beliefs or sexual orientation,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For all workers who have been affected by labor disputes or who have been discriminate against as a result of their union activity or because they sought justice in their place of employment,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer.

Leader: For all workers whose work is taken for granted, is unappreciated or lacks meaning,
All: Jesus, worker and carpenter from Nazareth, hear our prayer. Amen.

Welcome Fall ~ Part Two

A Song of Praise to our Autumn God
O God of Autumn loveliness, we thank you for the many colors of our lives.We thank you for the rich hues of red, the promising hope of greens, the depth of the golds, and the well-worn browns.

We praise you for all of the life you have given us, the life we celebrate at this harvest time each year. Like the leaves of the trees, we ourselves have been blown around, toasted in the sun, and whipped by rain and storms. Yet, we stand as a testament to life well lived. Your trees, O God, remind us of our letting go, our need to trust transformation so that new life can come. Yet, like them, we resist the tearing, wrenching, pulling, and tugging. We cling earnestly to our color and our home! Release us, God of the Autumn, and free us so that the wind of your Spirit can fling us to the places we most need to go. Bury us deep in places where we will find warmth.  Help us to find ourselves grounded in You.

As we look around in this harvest time, we celebrate the bounty all around us and deep within us. May we be forever grateful for the plentitude!  May we be forever generous with all that is ours.  May we be forever willing to give of ourselves!

And as we journey towards this winter time, help us to always carry the spirit of springtime deep within us as a sign of hope!  We believe, O God of Transformation, that all of life is your belief and hope in us!  Ready our hearts, steady our hearts that we can respond fully in faith and love!
(Author Unknown)

Welcome Fall!

The Season of Creation: September 1 - October 4

Blue Planet - Music by Igor Krutoi

A prayer for our earth 

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Visitation

The Thin Place

All we need to do is turn on the television or radio and we are bombarded with commercials encouraging us to find a “thinner” us. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and a plethora of newly designed fitness equipment promise to magically transform us and lead us to our inner, thinner self. But this is not the thin place to which I refer.

On one occasion I reflected on John Shea’s writings in the guide for the Sunday Gospels, entitled, “Finding the Thin Place.”  His teaching included the following short story:
A woman returned from a trip to the isle of Iona. When her gardener heard where she was, he quietly said, “Iona is a thin place.” “A thin place?” she asked. “There is very little between it and God,” the gardener explained.

Shea concluded with this question: “Are there thin places where the usual thickness between the sacred and the profane is only a fine membrane?” I stepped back into my inner self to reflect on this story, holding gently but profoundly this essential question. I then “leaned into” all those moments in my life where I experienced that fine membrane and contemplated some of those “thin places:” waiting for results after a medical exam; reading an  email notifying me of the death of a friend; receiving a phone call about the illness of a dear companion. Through my thoughts journeyed all the people who have struggled with the loss of a job, marriage difficulties, and financial problems, all while trying to remain faith-filled amidst such chaos in our church, our culture, and our government.

What if, in that painful “thin place,” God was present all the time? What if, when we are most vulnerable and feel not in control, God moves in with powerful grace and we find ourselves in a “thin place,” finally able to acknowledge that God is here with us and that we are not alone?
Recently, I had the privilege to visit with some of our older sisters who have “retired” from active ministry and are now dealing with a number of physical limitations.  As I listened, they spoke in “essences” . . . that which is really needed, important, valued, and essential.  They live very close to the “thin place,” unencumbered by the distractions and obstacles that often cloud our vision. Their words and insights are wise and comforting; their voices, soft and gentle.  Yes, they live very close to the “thin place,”  and when I left their presence, I knew that I too, like the woman in the story, had truly visited a “thin place.”

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Blessing . . .

Blessing This Day

I only want to see the day ahead,
My attention will not go     
 backward into my history,
And my attention will not go forward
 into my future.

I am committed to staying only in
 the present time,
To remaining grounded in my world,
To feeling a bond with each person
 I meet,
To respecting my own integrity
 and my own honor,
To living within the energy of love
 and compassion this day,
And returning to that energy when
 I don’t feel it,
To making wise and blessed choices
 with my will, 
To maintaining perceptions of                  
wisdom and non-judgment,
To release the need to know why things happen the way they do,
And to not project expectations over how
I want this day to be ___
And how I want others to be.

And finally, my last prayer to trust the Divine.
With that I bless my day with gratitude and love.
    Caroline Myss

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Being Awake . . .

It’s not what you do, but how you do it;
It’s not what you see, but how you see;
It’s not what you say, what you know or achieve,
But it’s the presence, the presence you are.

    Awakening Consciousness, CD, Jan Novotka


Friday, August 14, 2015

A God Thing!

No More Leaving
Some point
Your relationship
With God
Become like this:
Next time you meet God in the forest
Or on a crowded city street
There won't be anymore
That is,
God will climb into
Your pocket.
You will simply just take
From: 'The Gift'
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beauty . . .

“I did not have to ask
my heart what it wanted because
of all the desires I have ever known,
just one did I cling to
for it was the essence of all desire:
to know beauty.”
John of the Cross

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Assumption ponderings. . .

Feast of the Assumption of Mary
August 15
GOSPEL LK 1:39-56
Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.

The Song
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her.

Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life. (Internet)

Today, our Gospel of Luke so fittingly presents to us the Women of the Song.  Their meeting is a prototype of a liturgy of Word and Bread. There is meeting, greeting, blessing, and sharing of the nourishment of their wisdom, wonder, and awe of what God has done for them.

Mary goes with haste and enters the house of Zachariah and greets Elizabeth. Elizabeth, no longer barren, is filled with a child who dances with joy at the recognition of the Word enfleshed within Mary. Elizabeth is bursting with a sense of the holy and sings a song of blessing upon Mary.

In response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary proclaims a song of liberation for all people.  Her song is revolutionary and is the first proclamation of justice in the New Testament. 

These women, who stand pregnant in an embrace of joy, laughter, and praise for God’s marvels, will give birth to children of the Song . . . Mary’s Magnificat!

These children in turn will one day stand together and sing their new song that would be revolutionary as well.  John will sing his song of justice and repentance, daring the people to prepare the way for the Messiah.  His voice will ring out like “thunder in the desert.”

Jesus, son of Mary, will hear his song in the desert as well. He will claim his purpose to be Mission, Messiah, and Beloved. He will be Bread for the hungry, the marginalized, and the oppressed. His song of the Beatitudes will break through to the hearts of the “least, the last, and the lost."

Certainly, the faith, trust, courage, and strength of Mary’s witness is most especially captured in her song of praise, the Magnificat –

Truly, the NT does not present a meek, fragile woman, lacking creativity and initiative.  It reveals a strong, upright woman who put her free will at the disposal of God’s dream for her. This is what the feast of the Assumption celebrates; that because God will never be outdone in fidelity and generosity, God remained utterly faithful to Mary through death, as she was unreservedly faithful to God in life.

So today, as we gather around this table to continue to sing Mary’s song for all generations . . .  we ask, how can this feast speak to us?
I have chosen to respond to this question with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley, who reflects upon this Gospel . . .

“Blessed Mary! Blessed are you!
Bearer of hope for the world.
Co-creator . . .....graced by divine mystery . . .
Ah, Mary! How your soul sang with fullness and gratitude. . .

Affirmed, loved and comforted,
You stayed with Elizabeth,
Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
of the older woman,
deepening in your own resolve
to nurture, hold
and mother God.
Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.

Your Yes dares us
to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
and to expect the breaking through of mystery
onto our bleak and level horizons.

The words you heard, Mary,
we will forever remember.
We will not be afraid,
for the life that you birthed
will not be extinguished
in our souls.”

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ponderings of Presence. . .


Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Remembering 70 years ago . . .


Transparency and transfiguration!

Transfiguration is not unique to Jesus. Neither is witnessing powerful change a prerogative of the disciples who knew the historical Jesus. All of us are called to go up the mountain, to climb the steep ground of truth where prejudices are identified, where the unexplored places of our souls are traversed, and where dormant possibilities of love are awakened. Transfiguration involves a lifetime journey. We go up the mountain of transformation accompanied by those closest to us, those who love us enough to challenge us. As we tell our deepest truth to someone, we become more transparent. The very process of interpersonal sharing, in context of trust, makes us more radiant - revealing a brilliance that is numinous.
(Enter the Story by Fran Ferder)