Remembering the Beginning: A Prayer for This Day and Age

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God of Universe-Work,

help us remember who we are.

Remind us again

how it was in the beginning,

how dirt and blood and water

formed us.

We are undignified,

humbly shackled

to this kind earth.

Remind us again who

we are.

Remind us that none of us

holds enough royal blood

to cast out a brother or

deny a sister.

Remind us that our charge is

every widow

and

every orphan.

And when those great days of politicking

and presidential racing

fully commence

in our corner of the universe,

keep the still, small voice louder in us.

Keep us tethered to a kinder sanity,

to a fuller love,

to a humbler breathing.

Draw our attention to the

iced-over ponds

and sparkling branches,

to the few birds still singing

and the moon who shows her face, even at mid-day.

Draw our attention back to the

dust,

blood

and

water

that once made us,

that makes us still,

human and tethered to this good earth,

tethered to the good in each other,

tethered to everything

that is in You.

Amen.

 

 

“…if only we let love do its slow, meandering work.” –Rachel Held Evans

 

Fighting Our Shame with Silence: a lesson in finding the truth through gratitude

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As human beings, I think if we are really honest, the painfully quiet moments are the hardest for us.

In those moments, we hear ourselves.

In those moments, we dream.

We grieve.

We speak.

We believe.

Or, we absolutely doubt.

And there, most of us are looking more at what should be than what is.

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Years ago, monks flogged themselves as they roamed the halls of their holy places, a punishment and form of killing off their broken human parts and their sins.

Even though the practice is not as common today, I suppose you and I still flog ourselves, too.

When it’s really quiet and we aren’t making excuses to anyone or defending our causes, we are hurting.

We are lonely.

We beat and bruise ourselves.

We’ve missed it again.

We punish.

We are afraid.

So when we’re tired of the quiet and we can’t stand the voice any longer, we run to the chaos, to the loud, to the TV, to the music, to the drink.

There are stories of Native Americans stopping after they’ve hunted an animal to thank them for their life before they kill them.

There, a moment of silence.

There, honoring a life and giving thanks for it.

We are afraid of the quiet because we don’t know how to be thankful for who we really are.

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Forget what your neighbor said about you two years ago, or what your best friend thinks you should spend your time doing.

Forget the hurt your brother caused or the unforgiveness that’s still lingering there.

Instead, stop and give thanks for your life.

Instead, stop and look at yourself.

Stop and receive the spirit of your living, breathing, gifted self.

We are not just skin and bones rattling through the days as best we can.

We are life and breath, voice and vision, flesh and blood.

“Healing may come through medicine, through prayer, through presence and scent and calming touch, or through the consecrating of the journey as holy, dignified, and not without purpose or grace.” -Rachel Held Evans

There is something about the journey of stepping through our shades of pain or hurt and walking through to the light, that brings us healing.

And our gratitude, speaking the truth over who we are and what we’re called to be– that’s what brings us out to the light, away from the shame that constantly grips us.

The lie is that God only finds us when we are good, when we are full of light and hope and there are no lies in us.

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But the reality is, those beings don’t exist, and in our quiet longings, He is our friend.

In our quiet longings, in the battling of lies and the resting of our souls, He is the hunter who calls us good, who thanks us for our living, for our gifts, for the love we bring.

And then He kills off the hurt, destroys the unrest, calls us to the light, and walks with us into glorious living.

Hallelujah and amen.

Remembering Our Single Mothers

When Travis has to go out of town, I quickly jump into single-mother-mode. He’s gone for ten days this time, and we’ve got two days down, but who’s counting?

Maybe it’s that instant flashback to my mother as a single mom. We were 9, 17, and 19, the three kids, watching her do this crazy dance to supply our needs and keep her soul intact.

So when he’s gone and it’s just me and the boys, I think a lot about women like her, but with little tiny toddlers running around, painting on the walls and eating snack after snack, wrestling on the living room rug.

Do you know anyone like her?

Who is the church in this space?

Barbara Brown Taylor says,

“God has no hands but ours, no bread but the bread we bake, no prayers but the ones we make, whether we know what we are doing or not.”

In my few days alone, hands have reached out. I’ve felt a little sick, a little energy-depleted, and friends have reached forward with offers of macaroni and cheese and baby-sitting.

Do you know what it means to someone when you reach out of yourself and take care of them?

2015-07-22 20.43.48 2015-07-22 10.10.13The boys brought a little red bucket to the Emory gardens, and Hannah filled it with okra and rosemary, with cucumbers and tomatoes.

We spent a full day with David and Jeanie, napped on two little white beds. I sat and looked out at the water, watched the birds that flit from branch to branch and talk to each other about how God provides.

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And tonight, Eliot will spend time with his best friend.

And we are so taken care of.

Hands reach out, and we are gathered in, and we remember all that is good.

I am a single mother for eight more days, and then my partner and best friend comes home.

But I remember that struggle when I was nine, when my mama’s whole being carried too heavy a load.

So, can you remember the single moms in your circle?

In your neighborhood?

In your church?

In line at the grocery store?

In your city?

And use the hands you’ve been given to make bread. Use them to buy a cup of coffee or tea.

Use them to make macaroni and cheese, use them to hold a child so she can breathe a few breaths in quiet, so she can re-energize and re-start.

Then maybe we can all see it, the way Love moves and transforms and brings all fresh life, even if it’s only for a few hours at a time, before the heavy lifting begins again.

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“…if only we let love do its slow, meandering work.” -Rachel Held Evans