Prayer after the Shooting in Greenville Texas

God, we remember with confidence
the promise that your home
is the one with so many rooms,

but this is not the homecoming
that we would wish.

We pray for tender comfort
to surround those who mourn,
for gifts of medical care
to hold in this life
those in critical condition,
for wisdom of law enforcement
seeking with risk
the shooter still at large.

And for all who came to party
to laugh and dance,
wear Halloween costumes,
and meet friends,
may there be newfound peace,
an ease of fears, restful sleep,
a chance to smile again.

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Prayer after the shooting in Chita, Siberia

God, who holds each soldier of every country
tenderly in so many times of risk,
be in the midst of those
who never expected a colleague
to open fire upon them.
Comfort those who have lost a friend,
member of family, comrade in arms.
Be present with those wounded,

and throughout all the earth,
guide well those who work ease the stress
and meet the many needs
of those so uniquely under pressure
because they serve their countries —
military chaplains and counselors,
those with many years in the armed forces,
those who notice and care
for the ones among whom they serve.

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Take Back Day

Tomorrow I’m taking it back —
pain killers for my knee replacement,
the Beta blocker I didn’t want,
that amoxicillin of jurassic lineage,
inhalers from the days
when I wondered
if I would ever breathe deeply.

But I wish we could take it back —
the way a “war on drugs”
tried to make it black
and create a prison population
of young men who were taught
they were unwanted,

until it became “an epidemic”
and the addicted came
from different neighborhoods —
from every neighborhood,
and every age.

I wish we could take it back —
all the over-prescribing,
all the greedy, greedy, greedy
pharmaceutical companies,
all the lost days and years
of those in recovery,
and all the overdosed lives,
and their weeping parents,
their weeping children.

We can take back the old meds,
but can we also give back —
hope to the neighborhoods,
care to the addicted,
tenderness and possibilities
to those with holes in their years
or holes in their hearts,

a new breath of life for us all?

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is tomorrow October 26, 2019. National Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

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Guest Post — Spirit Prayers by Dr. Devoree Clifton Crist

I had the pleasure to read the manuscript in process which became Spirit Prayers — Invitations to Worship for Home or Faith Community by Dr. Devoree Clifton Crist, medical doctor, Christian Educator and Spiritual Director. She wrote them for Webster Groves Christian Church, St. Louis, MO. to open Sunday and holiday worship for several years and discovered that members of this Disciples of Christ congregation were using them in their homes for daily prayers, meditation and devotion. Each prayer is inspired by one of the readings for the day and the scripture index is user friendly for those who wish to use them in community worship. There are several liturgies included as well. This collection of Dev’s work is new this fall. Spirit Prayers is available from BookBaby or, for an autographed gift copy for yourself or someone who would love this book, email with “Spirit Prayers” in the subject line.

Psalm 98

God of music and love and life, you have given us senses, emotion, thought, and all that makes us human so that we might have a full life filled with beauty, relationships, joy, shared sorrow and pain, and comfort. Fill us with your Spirit so that we might see your active presence in our humanity. We shout with joy and burst into jubilant song, for you have done marvelous things. With gratitude and hope we pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 146

O wondrous, giving God, we know who you are.
You are the compassionate and merciful One who cares for the poor, the oppressed, and those on the margins. You made us in your image. Therefore, it follows that we, too, should be caregivers, advocates, and defenders of those in need.
We pray fervently as disciples of Jesus Christ that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we may be able and willing to do so. It is in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Luke 17: 11-19

Source of All, we humbly stand before you and praise your holy name. There is much in the world that scares us, worries us, and makes us weep. Yet, with your Spirit flowing through and around us we are able to see your beautiful presence in the midst of it all. We can experience joy or sorrow and know that you are with us. Sometimes we forgt to thank you. We take all you provide for granted. Today as we worship please accept our heartfelt thanks for your steadfast love and constant presence. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Isaiah 55: 10-13

God of rain and snow, you water the earth and cause seed to grow and bring forth plants which yield food and more seed. Please send your Spirit to us and let your word also be water for our souls. Let us learn and grow. Help us to spread your good news to others for you are good and generous.
Your limitless and inexhaustible love multiplies in the ones who receive it.. We pray through Jesus, Amen.

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Sparrows and Peacocks

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my Monarch, my God. Psalm 84: 3

The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” Luke 18: 11-12

I’m trying to plan next week’s sermon
but my mother fills my mind.

Today she would have turned
if she had not died
eight years ago, last Friday.

She was definitely more sparrow
than peacock.
She loved Brother Lawrence
who experienced God’s presence
washing dishes.

She didn’t like dishes that much,
but neither did he
and that was always the point.

She could be found walking
under any weather’s sky,
or reading a book.

Child and adult
she knew a lot about suffering.

Somehow in her many moves
she always found the twigs of love
and strings of laughter,

just enough,
whatever she needed for a nest.

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We are all Baltimore, again today (Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019)

All of us who do not live in Baltimore
the 7th congressional district
maligned and mis-tweeted
that Elijah Cummings loved,

all of us who are not
congresswomen of color
whom Elijah Cummings defended,
all of us who did not grow up
targeted by the racism
that Elijah Cummings experienced —

we are still the mourners,

of the truth-teller,
no matter what the truth opened,

of the mediator between sides,
between parties, between
those who fought,

of the hope-giver,
and the man we’ll always remember
walking through the streets
after the funeral of Freddie Gray,
after the national tragedy
that was the death of Freddie Gray
singing, “This Little Light of Mine.”

All of us
who do not live in Baltimore
can still pick up his light,
hold it high and honor his memory
by promising him
that it will continue to shine.

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Creation Litany — Guest Post by Martha Peck

Season of Creation Litany based on Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.

God, we face so many choices, and we feel pulled in every direction. Be with us in our confusion and our fear, our celebration and our hope.

A time to be born and a time to die…

Help us to do all we can in the time we have, and to accept our mortal limits.

A time to plant and time to pluck up what is planted…

Move us– to plant community gardens and urban green spaces, and then to share our harvest and our delight with open hands and glad hearts.

A time to kill and a time to heal….

Kill in us, the restlessness that leads to overconsumption. Ground us in your love,and then extend your healing through us to the earth and all beings.

A time to break down and a time to build up…

God of justice, help us to break down border walls, and the evils of racism, along with business practices that value profits over people. Help us to build up solar and wind farms, along with the public virtues of empathy, compassion and generosity.

A time to weep and a time to laugh…

Holy one, we weep for the marvelous species going or gone extinct. We weep for bleached coral and scarce honeybees, for birds no longer singing, for islands soon to be underwater. Still, we laugh– at babies babbling, at lambs leaping on all four legs, at dandelions growing through a crack in the pavement, at jokes that reveal human foibles. We laugh at life’s absurdity and surprises.

A time to mourn and a time to dance….

We mourn the loss of civility in public and private discourse. We mourn the plight of refugees and stateless persons adrift in a cruel world, with no place to call home. And we dance… because we have bodies and despite it all, music stirs our souls.

A time to seek and a time to lose… A time to keep and a time to throw away

Holy One, move us to seek the common good, and to throw away our personal privilege and our horde of excess possessions. May we keep what gives life to us, and lose what distracts us from joy. May we keep faith with creation, and lose our idea that your world is ours to waste and deplete.

A time to tear and a time to sew.

Knitter of the universe, help us to unravel systems that trap people in poverty and despair. Work with us to sew a new fabric, beautiful and strong, woven of every living thing, and able to cover the whole earth with your love.

A time to keep silence and a time to speak…

God of midnight wonder, move in us while we sleep, and when we listen for you in silence. God of shout and challenge, speak through us when we join a climate march, or write a letter, or explain our choices to consume less and share more.

A time for love and time for hate, and time for war and a time for peace….

Spirit, breath beneath all that is, may we love all your creation, from the tiniest ant to the most distant star. May we hate anything that breaks the sacred thread holding it all together. May we find allies in the war against poverty, greed, and torture. May we fight to end the poisoning of air, water and land.

And at the same time, with equal passion, may we lift up and celebrate everything that integrates human need and God’s good earth. May we practice shalom, wholeness, peace, in our hearts, our families, our church, our city, our world.

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

In seasons of growth and busyness, let us channel green energy and right purpose. Bless us with the ability to be your partners in creating something new.

In seasons of fallow quiet, let us trust that you work among us. Bless us in those times when you are unseen but never absent.

In seasons of darkness and cold, let us sit by the fire. Bless us, as we remember the light always returns, and meanwhile, we can plan and pray.

In seasons of abundance, let us eat tomatoes and rejoice. Bless us as we gather fruits of abundance and redistribute them for our shared hunger.

To everything there is a season.

Blessed be all the seasons of the earth, and all the seasons of our lives. Amen

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