Stop and notice, but don’t wait.
Let some kind of bloom shape us, soften or delight us. Common, ordinary things change us when we let them. Opportunities flash by–
without the least regard.
Make us ready for the fullness steeped in every moment, in each precious bloom. Amen.
Unfolding Truth, who often is hidden in desolate places,
Lead us to further knowledge of your ways in this moment of quiet. Help us to do nothing in order to find everything; not to squander our precious time, but to allow you to reveal the rhythm of our steps for this day. Comfort all who are dealing with unknown futures. Restore our hope in finding the way that imparts life out of death. Remind us of your goodness. Amen.
who vibrancy and healing beauty comes out of the dark earth,
Exhausted, we come, entering into your Presence after wandering in the wilderness. When our failures and limitations are exposed, help rid them of any power to hold us back from you. Feed us once again with “what’s this?“ manna, your precious bread from heaven. Shape us into a trusting community. As we center our whole lives on your Presence, make us able to hear our neighbor’s breath and feel the pulse of life in our sisters and brothers beside us. You are the Other upon whom all relationships build. Amen.
Whispering Wind, whose language unifies us across boundaries and borders,
As this morning begins with the tending of kitchen fires, we pause to listen for the gift of softly cooing hens or the quiet rush or river water, any sound that creates a desire in our hearts to turn toward your Presence. Make it our intent to be open to new learning in our work and play. Use the voices of others to help us to see the poverty of our ways. Transform our experience to encounter your many riches in place we thought poor. Amen.
Guardian of Souls, whose creation is the place of our sanctuary,
As daylight slides over the horizon, we turn homeward from the exploration of this day. Your Presence is the open door through which we enter and are welcomed. Refresh us with each breath, gently slipping your blanket of peace around our shoulders. Satisfy us with the slow cadence of night noises coming from the creatures around us. Use your mercy to transform our weariness into cushions where others can come to rest. Amen.
Breath of Life, who is restoring all of creation,
In the midst of these endless winter days, free us of fear, help us to face our guilt and grant us your mercy so that our bodies and souls are readied to join in the transformation of the earth. Open us with each breath we take, further washing away any cynicism or mistrust. Stretch our bodies in ways that hold our communal life together. Remind us that faith is not simply a spiritual exercise but a physical experience. Prepare us for a future where your Presence is fully revealed in all of creation. Amen.
Divine Light, whose constancy fills our days,
Saturate us with your peace. Help us to linger in your Presence during the course of this day. As we recognize the calamities around us and conflicts within us, steady our souls with reason. Shine the possibility of your benefit as we move through each difficulty. Bring us to experience the bright energy of your love, making way and encouraging our faith. Amen.
I remember when our first son was born. I would get up in the morning with a list of 20 things that needed to be done that day and when 11pm rolled around, I had accomplished one or two. He is 27 years old now with three younger brothers. I look back and treasure those early years. There is nothing better than being interrupted. God’s ways are always so much better than our own.
A new baby is a relatively pleasant distraction for most of us. Parenting, for me, has been a rich source of grace. My children were and still are reflections of truth for me, and I meet Christ in and through them. More mundane distractions that require our attention are annoyances like the broken washer machine, the computer crash or a mean neighbor. When they are resolved we have usually learned a new skill, or made a new friend. More difficult things that take our full time and energy like an illness, a job loss, or a broken relationship, are problematic in finding the treasure or benefit. I believe that our prayers to God are immeasurable in benefit even when healing and reconciliation are not the answers we receive.
But here’s the thing: distractions take us to outside sources looking for answers. Perhaps, we need to look within ourselves. When we look deep within, we find a source of love and grace that cannot be found in any medication, counselor or job. We find that in the midst of our human existence there is a divine Presence. When this happens, we begin to offer ourselves in radical thanksgiving as we navigate medical treatments, job interviews, and broken relationships. Yes, God is over and above us, but God is also far beyond deep within us. Try it today, when interrupted, if some distraction arises; breathe deeply, and pause, listen to your heart, look within your soul, and you will find that what you need is already there. Blessed are the distracted as they find the true source of life.
(Photo: Fingal’s Cave on Staffa off the coast of Scotland where it is said Mendelssohn wrote the Hebrides Overture)