Going Places

(A short poem because the rope on my life has become tight and I want you readers to know that I am going away for the next ten days to Scotland for vacation, and I will not be around a computer at all so I will miss you. That will be followed by another seven days here actually moving furniture across state lines and getting new ID, registering to vote, getting a library card, a park permit, and a dump sticker (in that order). Hmmm, there will probably be a poem in that!)

I want to see
the other side of my ocean,
walk until my brain stops spinning,
listen to stories overheard
at a sidewalk café,
probably in the rain.

I want to pause long enough
(after three days or so),
to settle in the rhythm of away-being,
find a museum or open church
and sit in a vaulted space
where I will not be anxious.

I want to miss people here
(also the dogs)
enough, to value them well
when I return.

All of these plans are contingent
on what God has in mind for me.

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A prayer for those responding to Monkeypox

God, we know that “emergency”
is no longer a category,
saying something is more important
than something else,
but a way to affirm human need,
and provide assistance in hard times.

Every prayer is an emergency,
a call for hope and help.

And all our prayers for Monkeypox –
for those who are suffering,
those who release medication
from deep storage,
those who treat sufferers,
and establish new safety protocols,
all those who worry
about their contact with others,

and, also, those ashamed
because they don’t want to think about
one more illness,
if it has not yet come close to them,

are prayers that emerge
from love, hope, willingness to care,

our emergency flashing lights
in your holy firmament.    amen

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The Other Side – Guest Post by Mark Saline

“By chance a certain priest was going down that way.
When he saw him, he passed by on the other side.”  – Luke 10

The Other Side

Homeless man in 20s
sleeping in McDonald’s
head on table
very dirty
no food
only a drink

Outside, 2 puppies
his puppies
in a small cart
leashed to cart
sunny, 90 degrees
no water

Home was 2 puppies
he cared for them
they for him
how did he feed them?

I watched 30 minutes
pondered helping
ate 2 McMuffins, juice
2 puppies
1 homeless man
hungry, thirsty

His choice?
I walked away
I walked away
I walked away
didn’t look back
My choice

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:
therefore choose life…” – Deuteronomy 30:19

                                                                           Mark Saline

Thank you so very much, Mark, for the grace of noticing what is around us, what are choices are.

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Trunks, planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3)

Early in the year I saw the tree,
when I was walking with friends
at Bedrock Farm
talking about churches,

and suddenly all the diagrams
of the denominations
(same for seminarians
as for church school children)
showing a tree with branches
branch dividing from branch,
leaves on the smallest ones,
came to my mind.

I knew that far more true
to how we reach for God –
across our faiths, across the world
is this tree of so many trunks,
some filled with leaves,
some leafless for a season,

reaching together for sunlight,
and woven together
all near the very root of things.

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Prayer in the midst of the Kentucky flooding

God, for those who have more tears
than the rains that came from the sky
and may come today,
for those they loved who have died
and those missing in Kentucky, we pray.

For those whose homes have washed away
or are ruined by mud,
those whose cars are gone,
those isolated by broken bridges, we pray.

For those fearing water in Kentucky
and West Virginia and Virginia today,

and for Yosemite trees burning
in Oak Fire and Washburn Fire, we pray,

For so many humans suffering drought,
for cattle prematurely sold,
and wild creatures dying
for a killer heat of many weeks
taking lives and livelihoods,

for the desperately suffering earth,
the land, the oceans, the air,
changing forever as climate changes,
we pray, knowing that it is our turn,
our human turn,
to put your rainbow in the sky.

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Holy Communion Liturgy for August 7, 2022


Celebration of Holy Communion

Invitation (from Luke12: 32-40)
Christ’s invitation is simple —
Do not be afraid, little flock, even when there is much to fear.
Find your treasure among God’s children
that where your treasure is, your heart also will be.
Light all the lamps of love,
open the door to those who knock,
and God will feed you,
in the middle of the night, at dawn of day,
and in this Sunday morning place, now.

Embrace what is unexpected in this hour
at our own table.

Words of Remembering
Leader: We remember the Creator\
fed the aurora borealis and ocean depths,
pterodactyls and diatoms, 
all we see now that grows and breathes,
all that swims, swarms, slithers,
all that runs, flies, leaps, and loves.

We remember Jesus Christ
played vintner at a wedding feast,
told parables that finding hope
comes from eating the pig’s food,
and finding community
from taking the lowest place at table.

We remember a Passover in Jerusalem
when Jesus chose bread and wine,
common food, food that did not come
from the death of an animal,
to prepare for a day of facing
the abuse of a tree,
and explained that there is
a God-shaped hole in everyone’s belly
and it would be filled with love.

Prayer of Consecration

“Taste and See that God is Good,” Psalm 34:8

God of feast and fast,
birthday party and IV nutrition,
who relishes falafel, jambalaya, pad thai,
and celebrates with precious food
chosen by those with allergies and sensitivities,
help us eat with compassion for the earth,
delight in many flavors and
generosity in sharing.

Praise to you –
Locavore, Foodie, Eucharist,
present in this meal as new life! Amen.

Sharing of the Elements
Leader: The bread on your table is blessed and broken like the picnic of grace.
Unison:  Sharing love, we will never be hungry.
Leader: The cup in your hand is blessed to share with overflowing tears and joy             
Unison: Drinking deeply, we will never thirst.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Leader: In thanksgiving for a meal that heals yesterday and empowers tomorrow, we pray …

O Holy One, as we receive this sacrament, we think we eat a gourmet menu, only to discover we are to become your “food trucks” of love and justice, compassion and courage, in every corner of every city for all of your children who need a meal of hope and healing. Thank you for the sustenance and the call. amen.

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Prayer for Myanmar

We name before all Holiness
these who were executed in Myanmar,
first such hangings in thirty years –

pro-democracy advocates
U Kyaw Min Yu, called Ko Jimmy,
U Phyo Zeya Thaw, former hip-hop artist
who was elected to Parliament,
U Hla Myo Aung and U Aung Thura Zaw.

All they did, all they risked,
and the everything given
by their final sacrifice,
we remember and we pray.

For those still in Insein Prison, we pray.
For unarmed protestors who have been shot
or had their homes burned
in government violence, we pray.
For so many who have lost
someone dear, so many who are fearful,
and for the courageous ones
of the resistance, we pray.


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I grieve for Larry Trent

I grieve with folks from Nogales and Tucson.
I grieve with Westwood Hills Church
and with Outdoor Ministries and Faith Formation
in the United Church of Christ.

I grieve with people you loved
who live under LA underpasses,
those who waited for your sermons,
and those who waited for your posts
sharing hot coffee and hotties.

I celebrate your new deep breaths
of the resurrection,
after all that oxygen tank baggage.
I celebrate your re-uniting with George.
I celebrate the passion for justice,
the care for the most vulnerable
that you inspired in all who knew you.

Larry, I love you. I was blessed knowing you.
Not to mention our shared dog love.
Or my drooling over pictures of food
I could never make with
my two left forks.  

You brought laughter to my days
stories that broke and opened my heart
and hope to everyone.

Photo by Kyle Lovett. Inadequate words mine.

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The memory of water

My friend posts a photograph
of long water,
calm but with easy waves,
with a fringe of shore in the distance.
Not remembering whether it was
ocean or lake,
she invites us to our stories.

What a gift for the morning,
for each one of us
to think about some time,
after a storm
or beginning a journey,
dressing a child in water wings
or scattering ashes of a friend,
perhaps a lover of fishing

gathering driftwood for a small fire
romantic conversation,
maybe kissing,
or finding a shell
to remember this vacation.

The memory of water, your depths,
the beach of an hour ago or long ago,
exciting navigation
or accepting the tides coming,
even the king tide,

always praying for those desperate
today in the UK and Europe,
tomorrow somewhere else,
until we care
a hopewave for the earth.

for Christine K Chenoweth who posted this photograph

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“The Hug” – Guest post by Todd Jenkins

The Hug

Photo by Kally Thompson Elliott
(In memory of Andrew Sexton)

Within its reach, 
  there is so much space; 
  room for what we need, 
  when we need it;

the shoulders and back 
  of someone who 
  loves us enough 
  to let our tears become 
  a waterfall that opens a creek 
  toward the gulf of hope;

palpitations that shift 
  our arrhythmic soul 
  into mild predictability, 
  if not a smidge of comfort;

and even a target 
  for our rage, 
  when what’s been done to us 
  is so far past heartache 
  that anger is but 
  a lame misnomer, 
  as we choke the pain 
  into breathlessness, 
  squeezing the very ribs
  whose actions initiated
  the whole sortie. 

So, when you need 
  to feel the power of love, 
  in the midst of your deep ache,
  find someone to hug, 
  or hug yourself, 
  or better yet,
  close your eyes 
  and let yourself be hugged
  by those whose arms 
  have been laid to rest 
  with the rest of their bodies;

hold on and be held,
  come hell or high water,
  until you feel the light of the sun
  creeping across the eastern edge
  of your heart.

© 2022 Todd Jenkins 

I am so very grateful to Todd for letting me re-post from his amazing blog “Tuesday’s Muse.” I often direct people there, but this post today I felt that I needed to share to all my readers. Todd writes this as his introduction to the post.

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