Wednesday morning, 3/24/20
May this be our morning prayer this day (when it is snowing on the mountain and I am fortunate enough to be sitting by a fire)– may your read this post and then choose to sit in silence, some time this day, for a minute or more — engage in real and intentional silence, not just the absence of noise or conversation, and hear what God is saying to you. Much love, Barbara
Tuesday morning, 3/23/20
Many of you have heard the story of my “God-moment” in Spain this fall, when I was ascending this beautiful mountain and suddenly I knew, not only that God was there, but that God has a message for me in that particular spot and time. The message was all about openness, expansiveness, being boundary-less. I’ve seen how this God-message has played out in some of my ministry since that trip, but obviously, it is now a challenge (and invitation) to think about how openness fits into this situation, now that we are closed up in our homes. So let’s pray together into how God can open our spiritual lives in the midst of this physical enclosure —
Glorious God of all creation, whose love knows no bounds, whose grace binds together all that appears to be separated, let loose your Holy Spirit to find within us the expansiveness of heart which you yearn for us to have, stretch open our minds so we can feel free to create with you, to imagine and dream, draw us deep within our souls so that we can find you, whose love has no end. Invite us to to know that your Son, Jesus came to free the oppressed, release the prisoners, and bind up the broken-hearted, and let your love set us free. Amen.
Monday morning, 3/22/20
Lately, I’m pondering how we are called in these times of social distancing to “lean into prayer”. We all know the power of prayer and we all know that God is at work in all situations in all times, and we know that we are connected through the living presence of Christ in ways seen only in heart– and yet, I find it hard at times to lean into this truth. I am so used to visiting with people, showing God’s love in tangible ways, like hugs or smiles or a loving touch or by drawing us together in community– and now my primary expression of the love of Christ to others is in an intangible way — prayer. Maybe you are experiencing this struggle and invitation also. So let us lean into prayer together this morning —
God of connection and community, God of strength and hope, illumine for us the power of prayer, invite us to give you more of our heart, knowing in our offering to you, we are offering our love to others. Help us to settle more deeply into your love, so that we may feel the connection with those whom we love, knowing you are holding them tenderly and tightly in your loving embrace. For those who feel lonely, gather them into your heart. For those who feel forgotten, assure them that you are always with them. For those who need healing, open their eyes to your loving presence, which is always the force of healing in our world. Draw us ever nearer to you, that we may be ever nearer to your people. We ask all this in the name of Christ, the one who binds us together now and through all eternity. Amen.
“Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
We are called as a Christian community to pray without ceasing and it is our gift, joy, and responsibility to live that out in our daily lives. If you would like our parish community to pray for you or for someone dear to you, or if you would like to be a “prayer partner” to someone in our parish, please call Mother Barbara at 717-333-5590 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday morning – 3/20/20
O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: by the might of your Spirit lift us we pray to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday morning – 3/19/20
“Now is the time for which our faith has prepared us. Now is the moment when all that we believe can be put to work. Now we can turn to the inner resources we have been developing over these many years to face the challenge of a world in desperate need. We are not afraid of this crisis for we have been made ready for it. We have devoted our lives to the belief that something greater than fear or disease guides human history. We have studied, prayed and grown in the Spirit. Now we come to the call to use what we believe. Our people need hope, confidence, courage and compassion: the very things for which we have been trained. We are the calm in the midst of a storm. Stand your ground and let your light so shine that others may see it and find their faith as well.”
– Bishop Stephen Charleston
Wednesday morning – 3/18/20
There is no movement in the woods this morning. Not even a gentle breeze to cause the fallen leaves to dance upon the ground. There is a quiet and oddly full feeling to the morning sky, for silence does not equal emptiness, merely the absence of sound or movement, and there is an invitation to notice the occasional bird that flies into view to receive morning nourishment at my feeders.
So it is when we intentionally silence our hearts. They are not empty, rather actually very full, for we are more aware of the movement of God, flitting around into the corners of our souls, providing us nourishment and wholeness.
Let us pray into that silence we can draw our hearts toward –our prayer is based upon the Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” To be invited into the prayer, please click this link:
Saturday morning – 3/7/20
I do not believe Lent is a season of darkness, despite its quieter and more reflective nature. We have sought the Light in the winter darkness of our Advent longings, sung carols at its birth among our vulnerable humanity, rejoiced at its revealing as God’s Beloved and been transfigured by our own overspreading awareness of God’s presence. Now, our Lenten journeys invite us to trace Light’s glimmerings in things taken on and things let go, both deliberately and unconsciously, as we open ourselves to soul-deep growth on our walk with Jesus towards both light and darkness, death and life, all made fully one in Love.
Gracious and holy God, to seek you is to invite Light to shine in our lives and the lives of those we love. We long for our transfigured selves to always know the awestruck and overwhelming certainty of your presence, to live fully out of that moment as our journeys continue down from the mountaintop and around bends in the road to destinations we cannot yet see. We reach with both hands out to the Light we know is your presence already within us, filled with longing for it to illuminate landscapes of our lives where we are afraid to go, truths we wonder about hearing, unhealed places of shadow and darkness. Break through the clouds, we pray, shine upon us in glittering radiance and transform us and your whole creation, beckoning us ever onwards as the Light of your way draws us ever nearer to you and your perfectly healing love, a shining reality in Brian’s life and in all our lives. AMEN.
Friday morning – 3/6/20
We come to you not giving up, but giving our hearts up to you afresh with the intention to be newly formed by your presence. We invite you to peel away that which is in the way so that we may become the way of love. We invite you to transform us, turning from what keeps us from you, so to learn of your presence, pray for what keeps us present to you, worship you in joy, bless one and other as we discover you in each other, go into the world confident and standing upon the foundation you build within us and rest in peace. Amen.
Thursday morning – 3/5/20
What brings me much comfort and sets me firmly in God‘s Grace in knowing that people have lit a candle prior to me lighting a candle and will come after me lighting a candle in prayer. The lighting of a candle is a physical action that unites my prayers with those whose candles are burning and whose prayers are rising in praise and supplication to Christ Christ, the great healer and sustainer. The candle I light unites my prayers with yours. We maybe a continent away, or just a few miles. Our intention is the same. To come close to God and to be present to God in prayer. And our desire to be the light of Christ to one another. Our perpetual light is Christ. Our candles burning brightly indicate the way of perpetual prayer, the universal way of truth and light.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his humble servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed,
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear Him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Wednesday morning – 3/4/20
Lord, you are the God of love. You only Lord, are the God of healing and the God of power. Work in our minds, in our bodies, and in our spirits. Teach us we ask, to seek you always. Grant us courage, to do the holy work that is your will for us. Awaken our perception, so that we may respond with full, open hearts to all that you carry out in our lives. Help us to seek and to find, strength to endure through you, in those times when illness and injury discourage us. In our weakness, grant us the faith to trust fully, in your mercy. Let your benediction be upon all who feel lost, harmed, deserted and abandoned. Allow us we pray, to bring to those whom we encounter, a true sense of community and inclusion. Heal our brokenness Lord. Our fervent supplication is that you grant vigor and hope to Brian, and to all who need our prayers. Let our hearts be lifted and, filled with your overflowing grace. Let us inspire each other, to live in gratitude for your many blessings. In the name of your beloved Son Jesus Christ, hear our prayer. Amen
Tuesday morning – 3/3/20
May we walk into this day seeking to share your love with all whose paths cross ours. Lead us into the full life that you want us to live. Direct us to spaces that are holy. Bring us over the obstacles our feet, wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters encounter on the way. We pray healing for your servant Brian and for all those in need of your sustaining Spirit. Help us to know what your call to rise up and walk means for our lives this day. Amen
Monday morning – 3/2/20
Up on South Mountain where we live, if you look out our kitchen window in the morning, you get a brief glimpse of the sunrise through all the trees.. It doesn’t last long, and in winter a lot of days are gray, so if there is a particularly clear day and a good sunrise, it is really worth noticing. One morning, before I got out of bed, I was thinking of all the things I had to do that day, appointments I had to keep, errands to run, laundry, house chores…the more I thought, the more stressed I got. Emma, our golden retriever, makes this cute sort of snorting noise when she wants attention, and she was sitting at the bedroom door making that noise, which meant, feed me now. And I really wanted a cup of coffee but that meant I had to make it first. So I got up and tried to get down the hall without tripping over the dog to get to the kitchen, thinking of how busy I was, and as I went by that window, I happened to glimpse that perfectly beautiful spectacular sunrise. I am convinced God uses everyday events to remind us of His presence, and right then, I realized that all my hurrying and worrying had almost caused me to miss God’s perfect gift. It was as if God was saying “Slow down child! There is time enough for all your stuff, but look what I have given you!” And my heart was truly lightened. May I remember to thank God for the day before I do anything else!:
Oh Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for life! We take so many things for granted in our rush to accomplish all our obligations. Forgive us when we forget that it is you who accomplishes every good work through us, and that we are not separate from you. Slow us down Lord, and help us to share a smile, speak an encouraging word, and listen for your direction. Dear Lord, we ask your blessing today on Brian and all who need healing and reassurance of your presence in their lives. Empower them and comfort them with the truth that your timing is always perfect and your love never fails. We ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Sunday morning – 3/1/20
Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. We are grateful that your mercy and salvation encompass us every minute of every day.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness, and let your people sing with joy. May we do nothing today that causes another to turn from you, but instead do only your work that brings joy to others and ourselves.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world; for only in you can we live in safety. We recognize this is an ambitious request, but it is our heart’s desire which you have planted in us. And somehow, whatever dangers and fears we face today, we know that we are always safe in you, no matter how things turn out.
Lord, keep this nation under your care, and guide us in the way of justice and truth. Heal this country of its divisions. Show us the light of your countenance that we may be saved and know what is true and just.
Let your way be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations. Again, another ambitious request. May we help this happen by standing as outposts of your kingdom which is already here among us.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten nor the hope of the poor be taken away. Help us to remember that it is not our job to judge why someone is poor and needy, but only our job to see and serve you in them.
Create in us clean hearts, O God, and sustain us with your Holy Spirit. May it be so. Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Based on Suffrages A, p. 97-98, BCP)
Saturday morning – 2/29/20
God of Abundant Mercy,
We hold in prayer this day your servant Brian and all who hunger for your transforming love. May we follow Jesus, who upon receiving bad news had compassion on those who shared his sorrow. Let us do as he commanded his disciples, to feed the thousands. Help us to listen to children with barley seeds of the future in their pocket. Strengthen us to work with those offering a spare fish or loaf of bread. Guide us in overcoming our fear of those with empty hands. May we set aside everything that prevents us from sitting on the grass and eating with others. Make our hearts sturdy baskets to hold the joy of the miracles you perform this day. Amen.
Friday morning – 2/28/20
Beginning tomorrow, we will be sharing voices of prayer from many different people from the parish here on our Facebook page, because we believe in the value of consistent and daily prayer, and somewhat because I will be away where there may not be internet connection, but mostly because that’s the best way to share the thoughts and love of the Body of Christ, by raising up the diversity of voices, joined together in love of God and offered for the healing of the world.
Today, let us pray together to the God who embraces us all, who loves us all into being, who heals our souls, who challenges our minds, who expands our minds, and journeys with us through the wilderness (wild-ness) of Lent and who offers us Easter in each of our days.
Gracious God, you are the source of all love and light; you are the encouragement our weary hearts need; you are the desire within us to be whole; you are the inspiration for us to be compassionate; you are the small, still voice, calling us to return to the goodness you are. Carry us along the great river of life, bind us together in your love, embrace us with your forgiveness, raise us up in our diversity and celebrate that we each have been made in your image. Bless us and keep us this day, and always, Amen.
This image is from the Nature Inn at Bald Eagle where I am on retreat today. It’s a beautiful place.
Thursday morning – 2/27/20
As I prepare for this day, in prayer and stillness, the sun is bursting through the trees, instilling hopefulness and anticipation into my heart — that seems so much like the movement of the Holy Spirit: even in this season of Lent, when we are focusing on the deconstruction that must happen within us for us to be remade in the image of Christ, offered to us in our baptism, the new life is already emerging, or at least we are shown a glimpse of what is yet to come. This speaks to me of the mercy and goodness of God, that in the midst of things falling apart, new life emerges. Let us pray today into the anticipation of what is to come —
O holy One, the source of creativity, inspiration, and discovery, keep your light shining before us, as a beacon of hope, restoration, and new life. Help us to always be mindful of your movement in our heart, offer us the courage to let go of what we no longer need, or that which is holding us back to old ways of life which do not best serve your dream for us, help us to know that always there is something new waiting to emerge within us, so that we can hold joy in our hearts, openness in our minds, and everlasting life in our souls. Amen
Wednesday morning – 2/26/20- Ash Wednesday
On this day when we as the church accept the invitation into a Holy Lent, this season during which we will intentionally open ourselves to the forgiveness and mercy of God, let us pray into the gift of that invitation.
O gracious and holy God, you are always more willing to listen to our prayers, than we are to offer them to you; you are always more gracious in your desire to heal us, than we often ask of you; you are always pure and whole in your offering of forgiveness, and yet we often fail to ask for your forgiveness or forgive others, and yet you continue to love, cherish, forgive and embrace us, and hold us ever close in your heart. On this day of holy invitation, give us the strength to turn our brokenness over to you, that our weakness made be mingled with your grace, that the scarred places in our hearts may be made whole through your gentle embrace, that our grief may subside as it is washed over with your comforting love, and that our desire to be wholly yours may be strengthened, so that we may be utterly dedicated to you and the way toward everlasting life. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Monday morning – 2/24/20
This morning we turn our hearts in praise of God, as is appropriate all mornings (!), however, after my visit with Brian yesterday when the presence of God moving in his life and recovery was dazzling and bright (appropriate for the Feast of the Transfiguration), let us pray the Te Deum, either in words or in music:
You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting
May God bless and keep you, so you may see God’s glory all around you this day, Barbara.
Sunday evening – 2/23/20
Here’s a link to my e-newsletter this evening reporting on my hopeful experience with Brian this evening.
Sunday morning – 2/23/20
As you know, Brian certainly shaped my soul, and I imagine many of your souls, as he would play the Offertory, when he would close his eyes, be one with the piano, and then co-create with God. It was as though the music came from God’s heart, through Brian’s and into ours. Here’s a closing blessing from Christine Valters Paintner (the spiritual guide I am connected to in Ireland), as she writes about our work being an extension of God’s creativity and our opportunity to co-create with God.
Let us pray it into our hearts this early morning–
God who labors through us, we bring our full presence to work and enter into an act of co-creation with you.Support me in the endeavor to do everything with love, remembering that each small act of compassion is woven together into a great tapestry of kindness.Bless my hands as I offer my gifts in service to your unfolding grace.
With great and growing love, and with blessings, Barbara
Saturday morning – 2/22/20
As we hold Brian in prayer as he continues his recovery, let us pray together this prayer of surrender, so that we all may be brought into God’s eternal love: Into your loving hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit; into your healing grace, I offer my soul; into your abiding presence, I settle my heart; into your peace, I offer my love; into your heart, I offer my whole self, ready for your transformation, eager for your gentle touch, yearning for your clarity, open for your grace. May this day, and all my days, be filled with an openness to receive your abundant blessing, for your mercy is great and your love everlasting. Amen.
Friday morning – 2/21/20
I began my day in the utter darkness of the morning and believe I will take on this practice of awaking before the sun each day during the upcoming season of Lent, for it is incredibly powerful to watch the physical existence of the world move from darkness into light. That daily rhythm seems to inform, reflect, exemplify, and instruct us on our rhythm of faith and life. So let us pray into that resurrection movement, open to us each morning — and for Brian, that this day he may experience an opening to endless possibilities in his life.
O God of all creation, in each day, moment, and breath, let our hearts choose life, let our eyes see the light of dawn in all situations, let our ears be attentive to the early morning birdsong of life, that faint and beautiful melody that draws us to the beauty of your world within our lives, let our hands touch one another as we fold them in prayer, drawing your presence within our very soul, and may the warmth of the sun instill hope within our weary beings, drawing us into a day full of endless possibilities. Let us be present to you as you are present to us in the morning sunrise, full of expectation and promise, now and always. Amen.
Thursday morning – 2/20/20
In my conversations with Brian, it is abundantly clear of the bond he continues to share with his parents, although both deceased, still very much in his heart and on his mind. He, like many of us pull strength and comfort from those who have shaped our lives with love and honesty.
So let us pray together this morning to God, who holds all of us, through all eternity, in love and peace –
For the life that was in the beginning and is now, thanks be to you, O God. For the life that is now and will always be, thanks be to you. For those who have gone before us and the men and women of every nation, for the vitality of children and earth’s life forms still to be born, thanks be to you. In this great river of life that flows behind us and before us, let us know that we are carried by you. In this great river of life that flows around us and through us let us know that we carry you and can reverence you in all that has life.
–From Sounds of the Eternal, John Philip Newell.
Wednesday morning – 2/19/20
Let us pray together in gratitude: Gracious and holy Lord, our hearts turn toward you in deep thanksgiving, for your grace which is instilled with each breath that we we take; for your presence which makes all moments of our life extraordinary; for your love which transforms our lives; for your forgiveness of the falseness we have become which yields to new life; for your healing of all those on our hearts which makes their and our souls anew; for your trust in us, which enables us to do the work that you have given us to do; and for your blessing that roots our life in your abundance; in all our life, we give thanks to you, O holy and mighty God. Amen.
Tuesday morning – 2/18/20
I wonder often about the interplay between constancy and change, strength and fluidity, solidness and flexibility — mainly when I am looking out on the trees in my woods in the early morning breeze or in the midst of a summer thunderstorm. And I think about God and God’s strength made real through the fluidity of the Holy Spirit within our lives and I marvel at how our responsiveness to the Spirit is what makes us strong, solid, and constant in our love of God and others, while in our inner being, life with God is in constant motion. I am praying today for Brian and all of us who need courage to live into the change that God is offering in our hearts, to choose life and goodness, to embrace the unknown, to be willing to stake our lives on something that we can only catch a glimpse of.
Let us pray together —
Grant us dear Lord, the clarity to see endless possibilities with you; allow us to dance with your Holy Spirit, so that we may embrace the “aliveness” of each moment, setting our hearts solidly in our trust of you; let us place the change we experience in our lives into your changlessness made known to us by your ever-present love; and give us the gift of knowing that you are are not done with us, that your love always invites us into new growth, deeper understanding, and broader expressions of compassion, so that we may truly breathe your goodness into our world. Amen.
Monday morning – 2/17/20
Yesterday as I sat with Brian, I was acutely aware of his reach toward connection and community, to belong to something beyond himself, to “live, and move and have his being” with others who will shape the goodness within him, support his growth in faith, and to enjoy his life with people, both in those deep tender moments and in the spontaneous hilarity of sharing good jokes. We all share this desire to be connected to people at depth, for in these moments of connection, we find the holy.
Let us pray into this holy desire —
O God of grace and glory, O God of acceptance and truth, O God made real in human life, we thank you for placing within us the desire to belong to your truth, and for instilling within our very being the capacity to be drawn near to your holiness through our life-giving connections with one another. Pour your Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we may always and only choose life, that we will know you through our knowledge and love of others, and that you will be known to us, in heart, body, and soul, through the breaking of the bread, which is your love broken open in the world, so you, through us, can gather the fragments of our life and become whole in your blessed community. Amen.
Sunday evening – 2/16/20
Here’s my e-newsletter on my experience with Brian this afternoon. https://conta.cc/320P1fj
Sunday morning – 2/16/20
In the hours before dawn, when the earth appears silent and asleep, let us know, dear Lord, that your voice beckons us awake into life, love, joy and hope. As the morning arises, so may our souls arise to your life-giving force. As the morning sun breaks through the horizon, may our hearts break open with your love, sharing it with all whom we meet this day. As the birds begin to appear, delighting our world with their beauty, may we look for your glory around us. We ask, dear Lord, that this day, and all days, hold us, heal us, and love us so we may be shaped by your goodness. We pray all this in your holy name. Amen.
Saturday morning – 2/15/20
Let us pray together this morning,
Early in the morning we seek your presence, O God, not because you are ever absent from us but because we are often absent from you, at the heart of each moment where you forever dwell. In the rising of the sun, in the unfolding color and shape of the morning, open our eyes to the mystery of this moment, that in every moment, we may know your life-giving presence. Open our eyes to this moment, that in every moment we may know you as the One who is always now. Amen. (From Sounds of the Eternal, by John Phillip Newell).
I so believe that as we are present to God in this very moment, healing happens, for us and for all those whom we hold in our hearts. May we find that place of healing and peace within us in this very moment.
Friday morning – 2/14/20
I have a plaque in my office that says, “Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable”. This phrase is referring to the work of Jesus, or the good news in the gospels — recognizing that there are times when we need Jesus’ healing comfort and there are times when we need Jesus’ challenge be broken out of our comfort zone to see the truth of Jesus in a brand new way. I believe they both bring healing, which is always a closer relationship with God.
What do you need this morning? The Good Shepherd Jesus searching you out and drawing you close to his heart? Or the Jesus that will share with you a hard truth so you can be challenged and grow?
As we hold Brian in our hearts, and all those who need Jesus’ healing, either through comfort or challenge, let us pray these words together:
O God of wisdom and truth, open our hearts to receive from you exactly what we need in this moment, even if we lack the clarity to know what it is we should ask for; O God of strength and resolve, open our souls to see the power in our weakness and help us to understand that walking with you is the only path that will satisfy our deep desire to be healed; O God of mercy and kindness, pour your healing balm upon us and draw us close to your heart; O God of purity and grace, wake up our desire to know your truth, and create the desire within us to be formed by your wisdom, that leads us to all holiness. O God of comfort and challenge, abide with us, now and always. Amen.
Wednesday morning – 2/12/20
As a Christian and as one who strives to be a faithful priest, I have bet my life on Jesus’ resurrection, which means to me that inherent in all endings are new beginnings, or another way to look at faith could be, there are no endings, only endless possibilities. So let’s pray into new beginnings, of whatever needs to be found, learned, loved, or blessed —
O God of newness, creativity, and sparkling energy; O God of compassion, Oneness, and love; O God of experimentation, discovery, and change; be present to us now. Draw from our empty or broken hearts the will to see you around us; infuse in our souls the knowledge of your ever-present Being; fill our minds with new ideas, clarity to discern your will, and the openness to allow to come to fullness that which is yet undeveloped within us. We ask that you hold tightly within your heart Brian and all who need to your constancy to lean upon, now and always. Amen.
This photo was taken at Longwood Gardens this past Saturday, obviously in one of my favorite spots– the Children’s Garden!
Tuesday morning – 2/11/20
Winter is a natural time of hibernating, of going within, to find strength previously unknown, to sweep out the corners of our souls which hold anxiety, to settle into a calmness and centeredness we have been yearning for. Let us pray for depth today: depth of discovery, depth of healing, depth of love, as we hold Brian and those in need of the deep touch of their heart this day by our loving God.
O God, you are the rock of our salvation. You are the source from which all new life flows, all love emanates, and all desire for healing is born. Draw us deeply within your love today; acquaint us with the resources of strength we have not yet discovered, yet need to count on; hold us tightly and never let us go. Invite us to see only possibilities where we may perceive endings emerging, heal our broken hearts, and infuse us with your life-giving power to do good within your world and to be your instruments of peace and healing. Amen.
Monday morning – 2/10/20
In watching and through prayer and presence participating in Brian’s miracle of recovery, I am poignantly aware of the inherent connection between suffering and joy. This makes sense to me as a Christian, for this is the power of the cross. I invite us to pray today for all those who are suffering, in the hard work of their lives, in their struggles to accept a new reality, in their yearning for what was.
Here’s a prayer from one of my favorite books of “Blessing the Space Between Us” by John O’Donohue–
May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, with you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.
May you know serenity
When you are called
To enter the house of suffering.
May a window of light always surprise you.
May you be granted the wisdom
To avoid false resistance;
When suffering knocks on the door of your life,
May you glimpse its eventual gifts.
May you be able to receive the fruits of suffering.
May memory bless and protect you
With the hard-earned light of past travail;
To remind you that you have survived before
And though the darkness now is deep,
You will soon see approaching light.
May the grace of time heal your wounds.
May you know that though the storm might rage,
Not a hair of your head will be harmed.
Sunday evening – 2/9/20
To read my e-newsletter account of my experience visiting with Brian this afternoon, please click on the link below.
Sunday morning – 2/9/20
As we come to worship this morning, O God of invitation, may our hearts hold our love of others boldly and brightly, may our minds be open and free to let the light of Truth shine within, may our souls draw the light flooding the amber altar window into our assurance that you are always with us, at the altar in our church and in the altars in the world, where your presence shines brightly in our hearts. O God of intimate intervention, touch us so deeply that we will always see your Light and be your Light in the world, as we pray for Brian as he continues to recover and for all those who need your healing touch, found to us in the sacrament of the Eucharist and the love of Christ. Amen.
Saturday morning – 2/8/20
“To be Christian is to choose a God who became human, a God who chose to be vulnerable – a God who draws us to each other through our vulnerability.” This is from the pray-as-you-go post today and really struck my heart.
Let us pray into our vulnerability, that reflects our true humanness, and let us meet God there —
Sit with us, O dear Lord, in our moments of weakness and despair; Be present to us, O Gracious One in our periods of doubt and fear; Watch over us, O Great Protector in our times of wandering far from you; Meet us in our hearts which are filled with vulnerability, openness and love, and from that most tender place, draw us together, O Holy One, in your compassion and peace, that unites our hearts with yours and gives us strength to be wholly and utterly yours. Amen.
Friday morning – 2/7/20
This morning when the earth and the world appear dark and dreary, let us remember Jesus’ words you will hear in this Sunday’s gospel, “You are the light of the world”. We are the light, because we carry God’s Light within us, so let’s pray into newness, life, light, and healing.
That your glory rises in the morning sun and sparkles off flowing waters, that the glory of the everlasting world shines in this world growing from the ground and issuing forth in every creature that glory can be handled, seen, and known in the matter of earth and human relationship and in the most ordinary matters of daily life, assure us again this day, O God, assure us again this day.
This prayer is from Sounds of the Eternal by John Philip Newell and the photo is from a good friend in Port Washington, NY taken I imagine from Jones Beach.
Thursday morning – 2/6/20
It makes sense to me to bring our life experiences to God and offer them to God, by seeing God within them — so here’s the prayer I offer to and for us all on this foggy mountain morning —
Let us pray,
God of enveloping love, who holds us tight and settles our souls as the fog inhabits the mountain this winter morning. Help us to see only you this day, casting aside all distractions, and focusing on the depth of your surrounding care. Allow the dimness of the world to draw our hearts deeper into your truth and our eyes to focus on the space between the trees, for so often you are found in the gap moments and spaces of our lives. Draw us inward, into that place that yearns for your touch and heal us, O Lord, make us whole and wholly yours. Amen.
Wednesday morning – 2/5/20
Let us pray this morning, into our weaknesses, so that we may know what God is asking of us, so that we may faithfully respond, and be made whole through our vocations.
From SSJE (Society of St. John the Evangelist) Your vocation, what you are to be now, will come out of your greatest strength and your greatest need. Jesus, after all, calls us to follow him. He doesn’t point us on the road to independence to figure it out. We need enough weakness to remind us that we must keep following him or we will otherwise get lost. Jesus is the Savior we need.
O God, who showed your strength by not embracing worldly power but by defeating it through your love, who through the person of Jesus, met humankind in her greatest place of need, in remembrance of whom we break the bread, so that the Body of Christ may be shared with all people and your love can be dispersed throughout the world, be with us in our suffering, in our incompleteness, in our hopes and dreams which at times feel far away. Comfort us, touch us, heal us, and make us whole. We ask all this in the name of Jesus, our great healer, and your Son our Savior. Amen.
Tuesday morning – 2/4/20
As God pulls my heart toward the day and I reflect on what I am most grateful for during my morning meditation, the word that keeps bubbling up is connections (connections with people, with nature, with God, with the my most true and best self). As we hold Brian in prayer, and all those who are in need of God’s healing and love, let us pray for God’s love, which is the connective tissue holding and forming us together.
Let us pray,
O God of holy connection, embrace as your own, draw us ever nearer to you and to one another, allow us to see your strength in our shared vulnerability, your peace in our discord, your love in the distances we place between us. Fill our hearts with your compassion, our souls with your healing, and our minds with your capacity to see beyond ourselves. Heal us, hold us, and make us fully yours. Amen.
Sunday evening – 2/2/20
To read the latest update on our visits with Brian, please click on the link below.
Sunday morning -2/2/20
In the darkness of this morning, show us your light; in the chill of the earth, show us your warmth, in the mundane in our lives, show us the extraordinary, in the brokenness of our bodies, show us your healing, so we may be and share your light, love, and healing into the world, as you desire for us to do, and as we know through the Presence of your Christ in our community and communion. Amen.
Saturday morning – 2/1/20
In preparation for our contemplative time together this evening (5 p.m. Contemplative Eucharist), let us pray ourselves into stillness and holiness, where we become true, whole, and holy —
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know.
Be with God this day, open your soul to love and life, hold those in need in your heart, and find the extraordinary of God in the ordinary of your life– and you will be healed. Amen.
Friday morning – 1/31/20
Today I feel grateful for life, for all that is within it, the joys, sorrows, challenges, opportunities, creative moments, and “stuck” moments, the ordinary and the extraordinary. Let us pray together for that which binds us together in this wild and wonderful life we share and which is the root of all our prayers — love—
Let us pray,
God of abundant love, gracious and holy, generous and exuberant in your offerings, pour your Spirit upon us, draw us together in that which is beyond our own doing, your Love, allow our hearts to be stretched, our minds to be opened, and our souls to be settled by the nearness of your touch. Reach within each one of us and find that tender place that needs your beauty and invitation to heal so that we may be more fully yours as we live out your Love in this world. Bless us and keep us and let your light shine upon us, so we may always know of your great Love. Amen.
Thursday morning – 1/30/20
Let us pray together,
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I
am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it
patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.
Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit
of Jesus. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer page 461)
Wednesday morning – 1/29/20
“Silent, surrendered, calm and still”.
These are the words which began the meditation of today’s Pray-as-you-Go daily prayer practice. The invitation these words offer is that in our quietest moments, when we can still the world around us for even a brief time, we can be open to and really hear God’s word being revealed around us.
So as we hold Brian in our hearts and in the light of Christ’s healing grace, let us pray this morning into silence where we will find God and be healed.
Search me out, oh God, within the depths of my heart, where I can be still and know that you are God and where my true self resides. Center my soul with your abiding love, calm my mind with your assurance that you are always with me, strengthen my will to be open to your healing grace this day, and open my ears, to not only hear your voice but to listen with all of my being, so that I may fully embrace the gifts of your love. Heal my very being of all that is not of you and guide me into the new life you so generously. Amen.
Tuesday morning – 1/28/20
Lately, I am beginning to understand prayer to be more expansive in its expression and nature than a conversation with God. I believe it encompasses our capacity to feel and to know the healing power and energy which is around us. I had that experience most of yesterday, an awareness of a healing presence that was strong, tender, and almost prophetic in its nature, as though some part of the universe in my part of the world was shifting. I can’t explain any of this, of course, but I think my constant and deep prayer these past months for Brian and others has opened me up to God’s healing energy around me in a fuller way, with an invitation to participate with it with all my heart.
Has that been your experience too? Have you been changed by the depth and constancy of our prayers for Brian and have experienced a shift in the way you are with God and with each other? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Here’s a prayer today that is all about being fully alive (from Sounds of the Eternal) — I think that’s what I’m experiencing lately, being fully alive in the knowledge and love of God’s healing grace.
As daylight breaks the darkness of night,
as the first movements of morning pierce the night’s stillness,
so a new waking to life dawns within us,
so a fresh beginning opens.
In the early light of this day,
in the first actions of the morning,
let us be awake to life.
In our soul and in our seeing
let us be alive to the gift of this new day,
let us be fully alive. Amen.
Monday morning – 1/27/20
Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God, *
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth, *
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, *
and his hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee, *
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. *
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
Sunday morning – 1/26/20
Here’s our prayer for this morning, as we hold Brian and our loved ones in need of healing in our hearts. Let us praise and give great thanksgiving for God’s amazing grace which shows up in our lives and is evident in Brian’s healing. Many blessings, Mother Barbara
Saturday morning – 1/25/20
As the morning rain engulfs the woods, my soul is pulled toward solitude and silence, so I offer this prayer/blessing to all of us, to Brian, to all those who we hold in our hearts, that today we may find the nearer presence of God within. The blessing is from “To Bless the Space Between Us” by John O’Donohue–
May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that you have a special destiny here, that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful and eternal happening.
May you learn to see your self with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees you in every moment.
Friday morning – 1/24/20
Jesus, you revealed yourself to the world so that all people might look to you and be saved: may we know the wholeness that you bring. Be our light in the darkness that we may not stumble, and lift us up again if we fall; Guard and protect us from all that distracts and draws us away from you; Strengthen us in our healing, love us in brokenness, and inspire us by the new life you offer to Brian and us all. We ask all this in your holy name. Amen.
This photo is taken right outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, as we finished walking the stations of the cross which lead us to Calvary.
Thursday morning – 1/23/20
O God of connection and embrace, O God of heart and soul, O God of life and love, enter into our very being, abide and reside within, so that we may become more wholly yours and bring forth your holiness into your world. With your powerful yet delicate touch of love, discern the broken places in our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls, and bring us to the wholeness you and we desire. Watch over Brian this day as he does your holy work of healing, striving for the goodness that is yet to be, imagining the fullness his life will yet become. And gather us together in your love to be a community of faithful presence and abiding love to all those in need, now and always. Amen.
Wednesday morning – 1/22/20
O God of depth and desire, O God of solidness and strength, O God of wisdom and insight, O God of love and mercy, look kindly upon us and Brian and all those whom we hold in our hearts, who are yearning for your healing grace, who are hungry for your Spirit to be alive in our lives, and who are ache for your love and justice. Be ever present to us Lord, now and always. Amen.
Tuesday morning – 1/21/20
Each morning, as I settle into prayer and the knitting of a prayer shawl for someone in need of a tangible expression of God’s love, I’ve been tracking the shape and location of the setting moon, which has been a waning moon this week and this morning seemed to be merely a small sliver of a moon. My ritual watching of this early morning partner in prayer, reminds me how God holds the both the constancy and the change in our lives.
Let us pray this morning for Brian and for all those who are desiring positive change in their lives, that by settling into the constancy of the love of God, they will find the strength and will to embrace the healing changes God continues to offer them.
Let us pray together,O God of steadfast love, the giver of all good things, the solid yet fluid presence in our lives, gift us the grace to see you in all things, to love you in all persons, to serve you in all situations, and to trust you utterly and deeply, knowing that you are always there for and within us. Bless Brian and all who love him, gather our hearts and prayers to give him steadfast hope, and allow your Holy Spirit, which is the giver of new life, to settle within him as he reaches for and embraces the healing grace you are offering him. We ask all this in the name of Divine Love, Amen.
Monday morning – 1/20/20
My sense is that Brian is digging deep into the inner realms of his soul for the strength to heal- and he is finding God there and all of the love and hope which is being poured out for his recovery.
As we hold Brian and all those in need of God’s deep healing, let us pray together this prayer from Sounds of the Eternal by John Philip Newell —
That truth has been inscribed into our heart
and into the heart of every human being,
there to be read and reverenced,
thanks be to you, O God.
That there are ways of seeing and sensitivities of knowing
hidden deep in the palace of the soul,
waiting to be discovered,
ready to be set free,
thanks be to you.
Open our senses to wisdom’s inner promptings
that we may give voice to what we hear in our soul
and be changed for the healing of the world,
that we may listen for truth in every living soul
and be changed for the well-being of the world. Amen.
Sunday evening – 1/19/20
Be present, O merciful God and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday morning – 1/18/20
Let us pray together,
God of invitation, draw us to the depths of our souls where we can be still and know you alone. Empty our being of all that is other than our desire to be with you, love you and carry you into our world. For those in great need of healing of heart, mind, body and soul, touch those places that need your grace, places perhaps even unknown to those who carry them. Hold us and love us and make us whole. Amen.
As we wait in the stillness for the winter storm, beginning in light snow flakes, barely visible, dancing their way to the ground, it draws my soul into contemplation, that wonderful mystical act or state of a sense of being within. Above our fireplace at church we the words, “Be still and know”. When we are at our quietest, we often hear God the loudest. So as we pray for Brian and all who are on our heart in need of the deep touch of God, let us go deeper into prayer.
This image is in Galacia at one of the oldest pilgrimage spots along the Camino de Santiago. I love the pensive look of the pilgrim statue.
Friday morning – 1/17/20
My soul has been touched greatly these past few days and weeks by the holiness found in generosity, that warm open feeling that allows the grace of God to flow through us, that way of being that allows us to grow into the best of who we can be, that ability to stretch our own selves so that we may be helpful to the larger picture of God’s kingdom.
Generosity can be shown in what we do for others as well as in our spirit, our willingness to see a need and to step into it. So, let us pray to our generous God who offers abundant love and healing to us, to Brian, and to our world.
Generous God, we offer our thanksgiving to you for being a God whose love never fails, whose grace meets our deepest needs, who never gives up on us, whose generous spirit calls us from our small stance of humanity and draws us into the largeness and abundance of divinity, help us to see your grace in our lives, guide us into the awareness of your abundance made real in our world, and continue to pour your peace, that passes all understanding, into our hearts so they may reflect your generous spirit. In Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.
This photo is from Galicia, Spain, near the coast, and shows to me the abundance and glory of God through creation.
Thursday morning – 1/16/20
Let our prayer this morning, be guided by our scripture: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
May our prayer for Brian, for us, for our loved ones, and for our world be that love shapes our very being, that love offers us the new life God entrusts us with, that love heals our deepest broken places, that love draws us ever nearer to the Source of Love, which is God.
The image below was created by Jane Offner and will be highlighted in our parish-wide activity at our parish meeting next Sunday, when we spread our love by creating together.
Wednesday morning – 1/15/20
Part of the healing process, for ourselves or for those we love, it seems to me, is all about releasing ourselves fully to the love and grace of God. So, as we begin our day, let us pray this prayer, that it may be so for us, and for Brian, and for all those in need of God’s healing grace (which, by the way, is everyone!!).
Let us pray together, Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to thee, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto thee; and then use us, we pray thee, as thou wilt, and always to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(this photo is of the Iron Cross, along the Camino de Santiago, where people offered their need for God’s healing)
Tuesday morning – 1/14/20
I begin my day aware of the deep and abiding presence of God, yet also aware of the constant invitation never to stop in this comfortable open place with God, but always to go deeper in love, compassion, and prayer. So, let’s do this together as we pray for Brian and those on our hearts–
Let us pray,
God of grace and challenge, instill within us courage to be drawn into the caverns of your heart, provide for us strength as we look beyond the comfort zone of our lives, guide our souls beyond the darkness which may be necessary to walk through in order to discover the beam of light that will direct us to your will, give Brian the perseverance he may need to accept and embrace the healing process offered by you, so that he may be made whole by your grace, and help us to know that wherever we travel, you are there by our side, loving and guiding us. Amen.
Monday morning – 1/13/20
Our bishop spoke on Saturday at a retreat about the 3 ways she is aware that we are “shaped by faith”, recognizing and allowing ourselves to be changed by the presence of Christ: total surprise, rituals that build stability, and moving out of our comfort zone. My experience with Brian shows me the gift of stability in our healing process and openness to live with hope.
It was my gut instinct whenever I have visited Brian in the hospital, whether in those moments when we thought death was imminent and in these moments now that are filled with hopefulness, to pray the Eucharistic prayer with him, for that is what we did every Sunday together. Somehow I believed by reconnecting him to that which gave him life before his injury will now give him new life. Each week as he is able to say more of the prayer with me, it is a way for me to measure and rejoice in his improvement.
Let us pray for our hearts to be turned toward the rituals that bring us into the awareness of God in our midst, that bring us new life with each word uttered.
Let us pray, O God of all creation, whose seasonal rhythms guide our lives, from the breaking forth of the sun to the rising of the moon, show us the wisdom of setting upon our lives the structure of offering of ourselves as we wake in the morning and as we close our eyes at night. Show us the grace in our turning to you in ritual and practice which creates a soul memory from which we may always draw strength. Show us your presence as we pause for prayer, calm ourselves in contemplation, and open our hearts as we bow our heads throughout the day. Watch over us, draw us nearer, and heal us with each turn we make toward you as we continue on this pilgrim’s path toward love. Amen.
Sunday morning – 1/12/20
When we light a candle for someone, either with the prayer that their soul rest ever more gently in eternal life, or that God’s healing grace flow through their heart, mind, body or soul, we are abiding with God in one of the deepest forms of prayer, of pure release, of offering our loved ones more fully to the love and care of God, of joining our hearts with God’s heart that they will be made well. The photo below is of Mother Betsy while we were on our Holy Land trip, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Jesus’ body was anointed after his death.
As we turn our thoughts to Brian this morning and all who are in need of God’s healing grace, let us pray together–
God of tenderness and might, God of healing grace, be present to us now and to those we love. Shepherd all lost souls, all broken bodies, and all afflicted by injury or disease and bring them into your kingdom, which is only about wholeness and love. Meet them where they are in their need and hold them in your grace. Instill within them the gift of hope, that as they release their care into your hands, they will know that all will be well. Amen.
Saturday morning – 1/11/20
As I begin my morning in the darkness of the night, the memory of the moon last evening still burns in my heart. I give thanksgiving for the fullness of creation God offers us, in both darkness and in light. As we turn our hearts in prayer for fullness to be restored to Brian as he continues his recovery, let us offer this prayer,
O heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works, that rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Friday morning – 1/10/20
As we continue our prayers for Brian and offer our thanksgiving for his unfolding recovery, full of God’s grace and glory, we give praise and thanksgiving to God.
Let us pray together this prayer from Sounds of the Eternal by John Philip Newell–
That your glory rises in the morning sun and sparkles off flowing waters; that the glory of the everlasting world shines in this world, growing from the ground and issuing forth in every creature; that glory can be handled, seen and known in the matter of earth and human relationship and in the most ordinary matters of daily life, assure us again this day, O God, assure us again this day.
Many blessings on your day, Barbara
Thursday morning – 1/9/20
This Sunday we will bless a beautiful prayer shawl lovingly made by one of our parishioners which I will take it to Brian that afternoon, so that he may be enfolded in warmth, beauty, and love. An integral part of the blessing will be by each one of you. You will be invited, as you come forward to enter into the communion of Christ, to lay your hands on the shawl, as though you were laying hands upon Brian, infusing the shawl with the healing power and grace within you that has been given to you by God. This will be a powerful and true experience for us all.
As we hold Brian in our hearts this morning, let us pray together as we prepare our hearts for this offering of love and hope.
Loving God, whose power and might reside within us and are released into this world through our gentleness and love, allow us to pour our hearts and prayers into this prayer shawl, this physical manifestation of love. With each touch, with each silent prayer offered, may Brian be strengthened and encouraged. As this shawl wraps around his shoulders, may be feel enveloped in our love. And may this shawl be a reminder always that he has been knit together with us in the Body of Christ, which is a bond which passes all understanding. Amen.
Wednesday morning – 1/8/20
After the glory of the Eucharist, the lights, the candles, the trumpets, the gathering of many people to celebrate Jesus’ birth, I took this photo of the still and silent sanctuary on Christmas Eve. The lights of the votive candles, lit in prayer for those on our hearts, were the only lights in the church and they drew my heart to sit in silent prayer by them, a respite after all the glorious festivities of Christmas were completed.
I thought of how our parish family and so many others are praying for Brian, and how much more deeply connected we all feel because of our shared concern and deepest prayers for someone who has shaped our souls, how the Body of Christ, in our particular corner of the world has grown stronger because prayer has settled once again at the core of who we are. I am sure this isn’t the only time our community has gathered around a member who was in desperate need of healing, for that’s what communities of faith do, but this is one I am experiencing with you that seems to contain an invitation we can’t quite yet discern.
So let us pray for Brian and for us, that we may uncover all the truth, beauty, and love God has in store for us as we walk faithfully into Brian’s recovery with him —
O lover of our souls, draw us into places yet unknown, guide us into undiscovered truths, reveal to us the depth of your love which will make us anew, bind us together in the release of our hearts, which is prayer, and help us find the strength and courage to love boldly, believe fiercely, pray ceaselessly, and reveal openly, your goodness in the world through our hopefulness. Amen.
Tuesday morning – 1/7/20
Today in pray-as-you-go, there was a reflection on the first letter of God who makes bold statements about God, saying “God is love”. The narrator goes on to explain that we are not being told something abstract in that statement, but rather something very concrete. “God is love” tells us what God does. Love is an activity, not a quality.
As I think about that statement, and we turn our hearts to Brian and all others in need of God’s healing touch, it is a good reminder that loving one another, sharing blessings, offering prayers, being kind and thoughtful, opening one’s heart to another are all ways we make God’s love real in our world– and somehow, I believe it is that love we share with one another that both manifests God’s love and allows God’s love to heal us and our world. So let’s keep praying, loving, caring, and believing so we all can heal, turning our special intention toward Brian as he heals in body and mind. I believe our prayers and God’s grace has already healed his heart and soul.
Let us pray, Gracious God of Love, look with kindness and with your boundless grace upon us, your beloved, those for whom you desire all wholeness and goodness, those for whom you yearn to be in deeper relationship, those in whom your love is made real in our world. Touch Brian’s body and mind and make it whole. Grow in us more generous hearts, more open souls, and more firm and consistent action that we may be your hands and feet in this world. Bless us this day into all that you would have us be, in your holy name. Amen.
Monday morning – 1/6/20
Although I wrote in my e-newsletter last evening that miracles, like love, are not to be understood but merely rejoiced in, my heart is still yearning to understand, not how the miracle happens, but rather how I can be a part of opening the space for the unfolding of the miracle. This spiritual practice of making room for the unexpected, the holy, that which is “other than us” may come in different forms for each of us, but it reminds me of the work of John the Baptist, being one of proclamation of coming truth, of making ready our hearts, of clearing out anything that may come in the way of recognizing and witnessing to the unfolding grace and glory of God, and moving with that which is a gift given by God alone. So today, I pray for openness of heart, for us and for Brian and for all those on our hearts who need God’s healing grace. The photo is of my “open heart space” while I was in Spain, when I felt the most open to God ever in my life and was open and ready to hear God’s message to me.
Please pray with me,
God of boundless love, whose grace stretches beyond all false boundaries we may create, whose loving touch heals the most broken places in our bodies, souls, and lives, who loves us tenderly and fiercely, whose healing power knows no limits, open our hearts to your presence, cast away all fear and doubt, give us courage to live in anticipation of the glory yet revealed to us, and be our shining star that leads us with hopefulness into a future infused with your love. Amen.
Sunday morning – 1/5/20
This morning at the 10 a.m. service, you will send me out taking your love and prayers and the sacrament we will have just shared to visit Brian, who continues to improve. Let us hold this prayer from Sounds of the Eternal (John Philip Newell) in our hearts this day, for each of us as we look for and go forth bearing God into this world —
Let us pray -Before us in the planned shape of this day we look for unexpected surgings of new life.Around us in the people whom we know and love we look for unopened gifts of promise.Within us in the familiar sanctuary of our own soul we look for shinings of the everlasting lightBefore us, around us, within us we look for your life giving mystery, O God, before us, around us, within us.
May God bless us all this day, with love, Mother Barbara
Saturday morning – 1/4/20
This morning my heart is filled with gratitude. Somehow I feel God is mightily blessing our parish and all of us who love Brian, with blessing upon blessing. Brian continues to improve and our love and prayers for him continue and deepen. I know that God is the source of all love and blessing, and yet somehow I am aware this morning that our openness to vulnerability, tenderness in our hearts, and deepened faithfulness is indeed opening the space for God’s blessing to be known to us and to be showered upon us. I think I understand “holy communion” in a much broader sense than ever before. Let’s join together in listening to Te Deum (in Anglican Chant) or in praying the words in our Book of Common Prayer Canticle 21 in Morning Prayer (page 95). In gratitude for our praying community and God’s blessings, Barbara
Friday morning – 1/3/20
The strength of the rising sun,
the strength of the swelling sea,
the strength of the high mountains,
the strength of the fertile plains,
the strength of the everlasting river
flowing in us and through us this day,
the strength of the river of God
flowing in us and through us this day.
May God’s strength, born from God’s great love for us, be with Brian as he continues his recovery and as we find new ways to reach out to those in need of God’s healing grace. May God bless and keep us all in a love which passes all understanding. Amen.
The photo is of a 800 year old tree in Galacia, Spain.
Thursday morning – 1/2/20
This photo is of Finisterre, Spain, “the end of the world” as it was known at one time before explorers set off to find another continent on the other side of this expanse of ocean.
At the beginning of this decade, and in the reality of the recovery made thus far by Brian, which is beyond anyone’s initial hopes or expectations, may God stretch us beyond our current reality, may God remind us that there is always something possible beyond our imagination when we co-create with God, may God push us into new knowledge, growth, and clarity that will propel our souls into more faithful living, may God fill our hearts with gratitude for all that God has given to us and invites us into, and may God’s Holy Spirit, that which gives us life, love, and joy, guide our path into wholeness and holiness. Amen.
Wednesday morning – New Year’s Day – 1/1/20
God of new beginnings, grace us with your love, guide us with your wisdom, embrace us in our joys and sorrows, tear down what we no longer need, place before us what you long for us to live, deepen our faithfulness, guard and protect us, imbue us with your healing power, watch over Brian and all those who are in need of your strength, and bless our community, that together we may make your love real in your world. Amen.
Tuesday morning, New Year’s Eve – 12/31
I found the prayer from Pray-as-you-Go this morning to be particular meaningful, as it speaks to us of Christ’s presence with us as we prepare to enter a new year and decade. I invite you to engage in this prayer practice today.
It begins like this: “I am not alone as I sit here, trying to pray. Christ is present with me. Christ is here at my side, waiting for me, ready to enter into my life, waiting for my invitation. So, as I prepare to end this year and look ahead to the next, let me begin my prayer by acknowledging his presence, and inviting him in.”
Let’s offer a prayer for ourselves, of how we want to start this new year, what are we yearning for to unfold, what faithfulness are we desiring to open in our hearts, what we need from Christ’s presence among us, and offer to God that which we hope and pray for Brian’s new beginning.
May we and Brian experience new life, wholeness, and God’s love made real to us by those around us. Amen.
Monday morning – 12/30
This morning, in the joy of the encouraging visit I had with Brian yesterday, this prayer during Morning Prayer of the Daily Office particularly resonated with me. Please join with me as we pray in thanksgiving for God’s healing grace in the healing of Brian.
Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods,In his hand are the caverns of the earth, and the heights of the hills are his also.The sea is his and he made it, and his hands have molded the dry land. Come, let us bow down and bend the knee, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.Oh, that today you would harken to his voice!
Sunday morning – 12/29
Good morning. Today I will share communion with Brian, taking with me the Body and Blood of Christ which we have consecrated together during our worship. It will be a reminder to all of us that he remains a part of our parish family. I will be taking the presence of Christ with me, but also all of you.
So let us pray together, God of unity and peace, draw us all together in your love, center us in your truth, guide is in your will for us. Through this shared communion, may Brian feel your love and our love as he receives this holy sacrament, may he be strengthened by its power, drawn deeper into the mystery of your love, and know that through you, he is connected to all those who are loving and praying for him, now and always. Give him your peace. Amen.
Saturday morning – 12/28
In the early morning light, when all things seem possible with the energy of the new day, let us remain faithful in our prayers for Brian.
Let us pray together, God of new beginnings, be present to Brian in his time of need, continue to create new life within his being, heal all that needs your gentle touch, open his heart and mind to see all the possibilities which await him, and hold him tenderly in your love. Amen.
Friday morning – 12/27
As we continue in our prayers for Brian, and as we look toward the beginning of a new year and decade, let us settle into the words of this Celtic prayer and allow our hearts to ponder what they may mean for Brian as well as in our own lives.
O fiery Spirit, come burn in us. O sacred breath, come breathe in us. O blazing love, come flame in us. O balm of the heart, come heal in us. O fount of courage, come spring in us. O mirror of God, come shine in us. O current of power, come flow in us. O teacher of all, come teach us. O sweet song of praise, come sing in us. O delight of life, come live in us. Amen.
Thursday morning – 12/26
As we live into the fullness of Christmas, into the depth and mystery of the Spirit of God within our lives, let us pray for Brian: God of fullness and abundance, pour out your life-giving and healing grace to Brian, offer him newness of life, enable him to embrace of the goodness within him, grant him courage and strength to choose wholeness, and continue the healing process so that he may be made well through your love and grace. We ask all this in your holy name. Amen.
On this glorious day of wondrous love, as we hear the poetic words of John’s gospel proclaiming the expansiveness of God then made real in the person of Jesus, let us give thanks that we are in a relationship with a God who ushers in hope, peace, and love into all our lives.
May our prayer for Brian, and all those in need this day, be that he be aware of God’s love, that God’s strength sustains and supports him in his weakness, and that God’s peace, which passes all understanding, be in his heart and mind this day. Amen.
Tonight we celebrate the birth of Divine Love into our world in a brand new and life-changing way. Through the birth of Jesus, longings are fulfilled, brokenness yields to wholeness, and hope unfolds into reality. Tonight we are reminded what that wholeness looks like and that it is possible.
So let us pray for wholeness for Brian:
God of unchanging love, pour your healing grace upon Brian, touch all the parts of his heart, mind, body and soul which need to be made whole, open his heart to the new and full life you offer him, and teach his soul to trust in you, O Lord, for with you, all things are possible. Amen.
Dear Ones, I felt very encouraged yesterday during my visit with Brian when we shared Holy Eucharist. It seemed to be the first time Brian was consciously aware of who I was and it was a gift to share with him all the love that is being poured out upon him from our parish family at St. Andrew’s and of course beyond. I found him responsive, able to nod in response to a question, and trying to speak. But what I found most reassuring was his strong steady breath, as he breathes now on his own. It was solid and true and filled me with the awareness of the gift of our breath which sustains us. And to imagine the enormity of this gift at our Christmas season when we celebrate “God with us”, we know too that God is as close to us as each of our breaths.
So our prayer today is that our souls will continue to breathe hope into Brian so he may continue his recovery.
Let us pray the words of the beautiful hymn together, “Breathe on me Breath of God”-
Breathe on me, breath of God:
fill me with life anew,
that as you love, so I may love
and do what you would do.
Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours
to do and to endure.
Breathe on me, breath of God;
fulfill my heart’s desire,
until this broken part of me
glows with your heavenly fire.
Breathe on me, breath of God;
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
of your eternity.
In the early dawn, as the waning crescent moon illumines our hearts as we begin a new week, a week that holds our celebration of God’s love and everlasting possibility of new life offered freely and made manifest to us in the birth of Jesus, let us begin by giving praise and thanksgiving for the power of prayer, for the grace of God, and for the new life we see being offered to Brian. May God’s power give him strength and courage, may God’s wondrous love offer him encouragement, and may God’s Holy Spirit surround him with our love. Amen.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121 v1-2). If you are wondering if your prayers for Brian are working — the answer is YES! Please keep praying for healing, strength and courage.
Let us pray together:
Gracious God, only source of life and health: Help, comfort, and relieve Brian, and give your power of healing to those who minister to his needs; that his weakness may be turned to strength and confidence in your loving care; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Ones, I visited with Brian yesterday, shared prayers, played a video of our choir rehearsal to allow him to know the joy he can come back to, and with a mark of a cross on his forehead I anointed him with blessed oil.
I realized in that moment I have to live in Advent hope. Until it is time to usher his soul into eternal rest, I plan on praying in hope and love that Brian will recover. It’s the only thing I can do.
I really don’t think it matters what words we use when we pray, whether we are praying for a miracle or a peaceful death, because prayer is love and love always works toward healing– and I trust that God’s power and might is coming through all our love and prayers and is healing Brian on a very deep level.
So we pray in hope today. I invite you to pray by listening to (and singing along if you like) the beautiful hymn, “Lord of all hopefulness.” It’s the hymn God has stuck in my heart and mind all this week and I invite it to be in your heart as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-D_aT8CXyc
In Advent hope, Mother Barbara
Dear Ones, I send these prayers in the early morning light, partly because our love and prayer for Brian is one of the first things on my heart and mind as I awake for the day, but also because I believe Brian is living in a liminal time right now, that in-between time, like dusk and twilight, that opens either into light or darkness.
The family has made the decision to continue life support for Brian, so we may still pray into possibilities, not only of the healing of his soul, which can happen in life and in death, but also the healing of his body. Foremost, we pray for God’s presence to be with him, for in that, we know all is well.
Please pray with me this ancient Celtic prayer,
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my hands,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber
God in mine ever living soul.
God in mine eternity.
As we hold Brian in our hearts and prayers today, let us bring into our hearts this poem by Mary Oliver:
The Gift, by Mary Oliver
Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick
has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
With blessings and love, Mother Barbara
Let us pray for Brian, “May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; and may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.”
In the morning stillness of freshly fallen snow, when the world seems quiet and serene, let us pray this morning for peace for Brian. Please join me: “Compassionate God, open the eyes of his heart to see your beauty in its fullness, open his ears to hear your gentle voice of love, let your tenderness guide him on his journey into a wholeness that only you can offer, and show him the way into your peace, that will hold him, now and always. Amen.”
Sunday evening —
I shared Holy Communion with Brian and his aunt, Kathleen this afternoon. It was sacred and holy time. Brian’s soul is at peace and rest. Thanks be to God!
Let us pray together this beautiful prayer for nighttime (BCP 124)-
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
Sunday morning –
Our Collect today begins like this: “Stir up your power O Lord, and with great might, come among us.” So we’re calling upon God’s power to come among us and be present to us in our grief and to heal Brian.
Please join me: “God of power and might, send your Holy Spirit to be with Brian and meet his ever need. Comfort him, hold him, heal his heart, and make whole his soul. Overpower us with your grace this morning as we come together as a grieving community. Hold us tenderly, fiercely, and with your steadfast love. And above all us, make real to us your truth that you hold us all, in both life and death. We pray this in the name of God, who has created us, saves and sustains us. Amen.”
Saturday morning –
As I light my candle to dispel the morning darkness and look out upon the woods enveloped in fog, God crafts this prayer upon my heart for Brian. Please join me, “Oh God of all eternity, the lover of our souls, surround Brian with your love, envelope his soul with your goodness, draw him from the darkness of his injury into the light of your healing, cast away fear from his heart and fill it rather with the knowledge of our love. Hold him, guard him, deliver him from the pain of this world, and bring him to the place of all glory. Amen.”
Friday morning –
May this be our prayer for Brian this morning, “Oh God of love and comfort, as you remain steadfast in your presence and love of your faithful servant Brian, draw him ever deeper into your love, surround him by your beauty, grace and holiness, and as he has lifted our souls into a place of glory through his music, lift his soul now into a place where there is no fear, where there is no separation, but only peace and joy and love. We ask all this through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Thursday morning –
Brian’s condition is unchanged, and so we remain steadfast in our love and prayers.
Let us pray together, God our rock and refuge: keep Brian safe in your care, strengthen him with your grace, surround him with your love, anoint him with your healing power. And in your unfailing mercy, console us in our grief, turn our hearts ever more toward you, that we may pray to you faithfully and love one another boldly, following the example of Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives for ever and ever. Amen.