Category Archives: prayer

Sinking Sand or Solid Ground?

I don’t know about you but as for me, closing my eyes to pray or meditate isn’t an option. I feel trapped in a dark place and start scrounging around for light of my own creation or imagining. And that is sure to distract me from my intentions.

I need a visual focus, something for my eyes to “see” while I let my mind settle. Settle on whatever is to come. So that I may welcome and receive it.

Recently, I’ve begun using the minute timer, extracted from a long ago game — possibly Pictionary — where turn-taking was measured in minutes. And before I begin my days’ adventures, I let the sand run. For one solid minute I’m motionless and focused on the grains of sand, seeping through the narrows, slowly, deliberately, orderly and completely.

“My blood shed for thee.” Do I actually hear the voice that speaks that?

“Poured out for your sins.” Where did that thought come from?

Sifted, sliding, shimmering in the ambient light. A sparkle, immediately quenched with its progress. Downward. Toward its finish. Emptying. Emptying. A hollow forms as its pace quickens, hurrying to its completion.

I am neither sad nor distressed as I watch these events unfold. The work of this sand is not remarkable, simply reasonable, inevitable. The consequence of gravity pulling it toward its destination, gathering it together into its lower realm. Poured out. Completely.

“I have emptied myself completely that you might be filled fully.”

“Whatever you do, do it in my name and for my name’s sake.”

Into my day I go, full of the grace and truth that this one minute holds. One day’s worth, bolstered by the assurance of these grains of sand, slipping one by one, of which I am one. Assured by these drops of blood, one by one, by which I’m saved.

Tomorrow I will turn it over and begin again.

Their Cup is not empty

Dear World, forgive me.

In my desire to share what is so important to me, so necessary, so powerful, so helpful, so true, I have neglected to notice this about you: your cup is not empty.*

Willing students, perhaps, come with polished, expectant cups. Some with them behind their backs, waiting to see if the offering is worth the sloshing that would come with the filling.

But all others who come, even the parched and those drunk on new wine, come with cups that are not empty. They are filled with what the world has already had to offer. People and places, ideas and conversations, mothers and fathers, families, traditions and cultures. So much.

If I want to pour my ideas into your cup, I need to understand what’s already there. Perhaps sit and sip a while. Have some tea and a teacake. Listen and look. Waft and taste. Touch and let myself be touched.

Only newborn children come with empty cups.

We fill them. The world fills them. With good things and love. With encouragement and praise. Or not. Oh holy Lord, sometimes … With abuse and neglect. With harsh words or impossible expectations. With hunger, loneliness, violence, despair. Lord, let us be bearers of hope for these.

Friend, your cup is not empty and neither is mine.

World, forgive me. Lord, forgive us. For our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. May we taste and see, seeking first to understand.

Cheers.

*Melinda Gates in her book, The Moment of Lift.

Fit for the Kingdom

What makes us fit? A good fit?
Our shape? Size? Color? Language? Nationality?
Our behavior? Net worth? Service record?
Our church membership? Community service? Volunteer hours?
Our education? Employment? Contribution?

Is it
How many lives we’ve touched?
How many stories we’ve listened to?
How many hands we’ve held?
How many sacrifices we’ve made?
How many gifts we’ve given?
What we’ve done? What we’ve left undone?

Is it
How much we pray?
How often we meditate?
How acquainted we are with God? a Higher Power? a Supreme Being?
How many Bible verses we can quote?
How obedient we are?
How dutiful, faithful, diligent?

What makes us fit for the Kingdom? a good fit in the Kingdom?

Our Creator does.
The One who knows the shape of the Kingdom space we were created to fill.
What does Creative shaping feel like?

A spin-whirl-hum, twirling,
A pinch-push-pull, settling,
A chisel-whittle-hone, admiring,
A plant-water-fertilize, tending, 
A spark-breath-glow, emerging

Going, grasping, gauging,
growing, glowing,
round and round, in and out,
down and up and toward.
All for the want of light.

Light. 
The light of love pulls us 
Extends us
Stretches us
Prods us

When darkness comes,
Love reaches for us.

Our hand fits perfectly in This hand.
Our body nestles perfectly into This bosom.
Our soul rests perfectly in This soul.
In our Creator’s image, we fit.
We always fit.

“I declare my courage to participate in the building of the reign of God that is in the world and in me.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball

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