Tag Archives: prayers

theology of the pines

Thomas Merton, one of my favorite theologians and writers, was a contemplative after my own heart.

Almost 40 years ago, while on an Holy Week retreat at the Holy Cross Abby near Berryville, Virginia, I wrote

DANCE OF THE CEDARS

Outside my guesthouse window
the four small cedars
stand in a row,
guarding the wall
that guards the propane tank.

This morning, just for me,
they shared their freedom
and their joy
as I watched them dance
to the song in the wind.

In that dance
was a celebration of life
just as it was promised,
full and free and without a care,
just the way it was meant to be.

a prayer to recognize our opportunities

Again we come to your throne of grace, gracious Lord, recognizing that your presence is everywhere. This morning we bow before you in humble recognition of your power, your glory, and your everlasting love. 

Be with us throughout this day. Make it truly a day of rest and worship. Help us to fully be engaged with pleasing you with our praise, our prayers and our service in your name.

Help us to intentionally seek out your presence in all we meet today, but especially in the face of the stranger, the homeless, the sick, and those trapped in destructive lifestyles. Help us to reflect your grace to those in need of a friend, a kind word, or even just a reassuring smile.

And with each person we meet today, help us remember to give you thanks for another opportunity to demonstrate the love, mercy and grace you have first shown us. Amen

taking the bone away from a dog

People who love soft words and hate iniquity forget this, that reform consists in taking the bone away from a dog. Philosophy will not do this. — John Jay Chapman

There are times when I have to remind myself that I need to take a deep breath and move more slowly. But, then there are other times when my frustration at the lack of of caring and compassion I see around me almost drives me into despair.

Nowhere is this more true than in the church. Platitudes and prayers for the poor and oppressed flow from our lips in unending streams as long as we are well hidden behind our stained-glass fences. But once we go through the gate into the street all we can say is “good doggie.”

All of us daily pass by the big dogs cracking the bones of the poor. It’s not as if we don’t see the iniquity that crushes the oppressed in our midst. But, soft, smooth words whispered in a sanctuary are both safe and respectable. Attempting to take that bone away might mean stitches.

The hungry will never get fed, the poor will never get justice, until we care enough, until we love enough, to start taking the bones away from the dogs. When will we be faithful enough that we hunger more for justice than respectability? When will our love for each other trump our love for safety and ease? When will the headlines finally read “Man Takes Bone Away From Dog”?