Yesterday hate showed itself
in Emancipation Park,
and all the world was weeping.
Today we will find so many places
to light our candles
and remind ourselves
of how much love and change
each one of us must bring

to all the tomorrows
in all the everywheres.

I tried to keep this poem simple
not fuel the anger,
but we have seen the image
of lynching by car.

My father was named for a slave,
a friend of his mother,
his baby brother was named Robert.

All white people,
all white people in this country
are mixed up,
and some are twisted.

We need to light our hearts –
candles are too easily blown out
before we go back to sleep.

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War Games, a poem by Carol Hallman

Shall we play a game?

How about
Anyone for global thermonuclear war?
I have nukes
Can arm missiles

Mine are bigger
Badder stronger
Face my fire and fury
If you dare

Wouldn’t you prefer a nice game of chess?

How ‘bout we start
With Guam
Who needs Guam anyway

Wipe you from
The face of the map
Who cares the cost

Anyone for a nice game of chess?

Bragging leaders
Emboldened by weapons of
War and destruction
Bullies on a global scale
See the world
As their playground
People as just
Pieces to be put
In place to be told
What to do
What buttons to push
To enact the theatre
That war brings

The fallout will land
Not on them
But the poorest
Among us
The ones without
The ones in need

For them it is but a game
But for us
It is a matter of life and death

Shall we play a game?

But maybe a nice game of chess
Would be better

So many thanks to Carol for sending this in and for the hope of the last line, for the hope that we not be pawns. I would love to receive your gifts of poetry and liturgy. Please send them to

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For Guam, a reflection on Psalm 132

Originally posted to Flickr as Sunset on Guam
Yuki Yaginuma

God chooses Guam,
southernmost of the Marianas,
largest land in Micronesia.
between coral reef and Mount Lamlam,
the lightning mountain.
This is God’s resting place
where the tectonic plates clash,
the typhoons blow, the fish dance
and there is beauty
in the morning and the evening.

Here holiness resides,
where the Chamorro people dwell,
with respect for the past,
for traditional healing,
the stringed music of belembaotuyan,
the carving of canoes
that have cut the waves
for generations ¬ galaide.’

Guam with its lamp for the world
inafa’maolek — mutuality,
community, cooperation,
the sharing of all things,
for the land belongs to people
and that is a crown, a shout of joy.

We pray for God’s home, Guam
scarred by long years
of conquest, colonization,
fire and fury not of its choosing.
May there be a psalm of peace,
a passing by of the strutters of war,
a chenchule’ of hope.

The President of the United States Donald Trump has escalated tensions between the US and North Korea with threats. Most likely to fall into danger is the island Guam about which mainland Americans know little. I have spent today reading — tourist articles, Wikipedia, some history, just to know a tiny amount as an outsider of this place for which I am praying.Psalm 132 informed my words.

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For my Indonesian friends facing deportation, Matthew 14: 22-33

(from the one small church I love, Maranatha Indonesian, UCC, 18 people will be taken by October. More than 50 will be deported from Seacoast New Hampshire alone and these are certainly not the first. Some have been placed in detention. None of these are criminals. Many are children. They work, speak English, contribute to our community, care for the poor of all ethnicities, dance in our home town festivals, are celebrated scholars in our schools. Please pray, write, witness.)

I made a hard rowing in America this year,
and I thought I saw many ghosts
on the water in the storm.

Surely these spirits were long dead —
Jim Crow and the KKK,
the haunt of Japanese internment camps,
of hatred against workers,
women in modest dress,
and people learning English,
the spirit that claimed
God gave the land
to white people, and created
the Trail of Tears, residential schools,
and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I made a hard rowing
in petitions and marches and vigils
toward a shoreline
of welcome for all refugees,
care for the earth and the climate,
protection for those who vote,
safety for women
against laughing predators,
and for black children
from those who protect and serve.

It has bent my back
but never touched my skin.

I have not been smallboated
in the tsunami tearing families apart,
and I have not heard
the knocking of ICE at the door
in the middle of the night.

It is to you, my friends, Christ walks —
across the tumult of deportation.

When your doubts are deep,
when home and friends and church
and family and work are lost,
you will not sink,
you will not drown –
for Christ comes walking
against the winds of unkindness
and will lift you up.

And we can only send
a flotilla of our broken planks of love,
and pray for you a holding on.

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Prayer for a “drug infested den”

God bless this Granite state,
White Mountain state,
state of lakes and seacoast,
this lollapalooza
of the first presidential primary,
this state our current president
calls a drug-infested den.

Some of us know little
or don’t even want to know
about the opioid epidemic,
while others of us are just trying
to stay clean and sober
one day at a time.

Some weep for friends and family,
while others are first responders,
police, therapists, pastors, educators,
or corrections and hospital staff
making a difference,
haunted by times we were too late.

Some work in recovery programs,
while others break our hearts
every time we read or watch the news
(pretty much like every other state).

Most of us have a negative stereotype
or misinformation about addiction,
though we may not share
our prejudice and ignorance
with leaders of other nations.

God, who never turns away from
demons of any kind,
bless us all and bless this leader
with healing of mind and heart
so that together we focus on helping,
not bad-mouthing,
those who need our love and care,
and work tirelessly for hope
that looks less like a wall
and more like an open door. Amen.

(For those of you who do not know, I live in New Hampshire, called by Donald Trump in the transcript of a phone call to the President of Mexico a “drug-infested den.” I speak thus from my neighborhood.)

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Summer garden, my response to “Winter Frost”

The purple spikes of blazing star liatris
have drawn monarch butterflies

into the corner garden
of yellow and orange daylilies —
horns as wildly various in shape
as a jazz band —
and mums of burgundy and rust
tricked to early color by cool weather.

A dowager blue hydrangea,
we feared last year had died,
is heavy this summer with blooms,
and around her skirt waits,
immature, still green,
the riot of sedum
we will call autumn joy.

I pause, but like the monarchs
fighting for their lives
on the journey from life to death,
my stopping with beauty,
is not so much a stillness
as the tiny wing beats of hope,

and my prayers are for earth,
the vulnerable,
and all who are suspended now
in the midst of immigration.

Yesterday I published New Zealand poet Heather Kelly’s poem “Winter Frost” and invited readers to take the kind of intentional, God-infused look at beauty around them. This was my afternoon “pause.”

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WINTER FROST, poem for July from New Zealand

Very heavy frost this July morning.
The stretch of mown lawn was white, crispy white.

Now it is the noontide hour;
the blades of grass are glittering like a sea of diamonds
in the bright sunlight.

I pause and take time to rejoyce
in the beauty of the earth and
the gifts of the Creator.

Heather Kelly, Invercargill, New Zealand, July 2017. I (Maren) admit I went hunting for a photograph of winter, Aotearoa and public domain! This is not perfectly the scene that Heather offers us, but it is another beauty. Look out, wherever you are, however and whatever season is unrolling for you and celebrate the beauty that is there. It will lead you to the word she creates — rejoyce!


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