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Evening Prayer – 20 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Thank you, Lord for a time of fellowship

Thank you, Lord for your Spirit’s constant presence

Keep guiding us and sustaining us

As we prepare for our move

As my sweetheart works such long hours

As we prepare worship for August

As I try to keep up with seminary class work

In the midst of it all

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Evening Prayer – 19 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It was a wonderful day with family, Lord

It was a beautiful day to be with each other outdoors

Your creation is so amazing

Worship tonight was indeed a blessing

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Evening Prayer – 18 July 2020

Our neighbor — a cute Pika

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Today was a special time with family

We took a lovely trip up Old Fall River Road

Ranger Cabin in the meadow on Old Fall River Road

A time to simply be still

A time to think of dear friends

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Evening Prayer – 16 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been a long yet productive day

Cars ready for travel

Preparations for moving continue

Yet there are also plans to be made

Plans for the celebration of life, love, and friendship

As we prepare for sleep

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Evening Prayer – 15 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A day of meetings and ministry

A time of planning and preparation for our move

A time for fellowship with dear friends

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Darkness and Light – A Reflection

During these times of struggle… when science is ignored and selfishness reigns supreme it is hard to see the light. When the flames of hatred and fear are stoked and the flame of love is doused, we live in darkness. Yet as John’s Gospel tells us: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Various translations of this passage say that the darkness has not understood it, comprehend it, extinguish it, or put it out. Light… there is a proverb that says it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. Another says it is better to light a single candle than to stumble in the dark. The band Chicago sang this song which has always touched my heart: One Little Candle by Chicago

When I struggle during times of darkness, I need the reminder to walk towards the light. Even if the steps are small and difficult, we are called to walk towards the light of Christ. The Spirit gently guides us on that journey.

Thomas Merton said the following in his book, The Silent Life: The deepest need of our darkness is to comprehend the light which shines in the midst of it. (p. ix)

As we walk this journey together through the pandemic, divisiveness, and hatred; may we be guided by the Spirit and may we comprehend the light shining in the midst of that darkness. That is my hope, dear reader, that is my fervent prayer.

Mystics and Prophets – A Reflection

Two mentors of mine are Howard Thurman and Thomas Merton. Their reflections on life and peace speak to my heart and soul. I “met” Thurman during my time at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in the mid 80’s. I “met” Merton decades later during a lifelong learning course at Columbia Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

I have often wondered what a conversation with these two mystics and prophets would have been like. They never met but many believe that Merton was aware of Thurman’s writings in the 1960’s. They were contemplatives called to action by the Spirit. They also informed so many in the Civil Rights and Peace Movement.

I believe that we can learn so much from both of them. William Apel wrote the following about them in an article (Mystic as Prophet: The Deep Freedom of Thomas Merton and Howard Thurman) he wrote for “The Merton Annual” in 2003.

Perhaps the rarest of all human beings is the mystic as prophet. There are few who have successfully combined a life of contemplation with a prophetic call to social justice. Howard Thurman (1900-81) and Thomas Merton (1915-68) are two such individuals. As beacons of light in a world clouded by violence, war and racial bigotry, this African-American minister, and this Trappist monk, have illumined the way for many.
These two spiritual masters served both as mystics and prophets in their time and place. (p. 172)

For too many the call of the contemplative life is a call to escape from the world. Merton tried to run from the world but the Spirit was persistent in calling him to be a prophet as well as a contemplative. They both continue to teach me a lot about the balance between contemplation and action.

Evening Prayer – 12 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

A long but productive Lord’s day

Worship, reflection, writing, and more worship

A time as well for studying

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

The Seeds We are Called to Sow

The sower and the seed is a very familiar parable. What sort of seeds are we called to spread? So often today I see the seeds of hatred, fear, and divisiveness being sowed by so many. I believe that Jesus is calling us to sow the seeds of welcome, love, justice, mercy, and peace in a world that is in dire need of such hope.

In his book, New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton wrote about seed planting and the contemplative life. Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that comes to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity, and love… every expression of the will of God is in some sense a “word” of God and therefore a “seed” of new life. (p. 14)

Every moment and every event plants seeds in your soul. Such seeds cannot grow anywhere except for the good soil of love. That is something which seems to be noticeably lacking today. Even the good soil of freedom which Merton mentioned has been polluted. Freedom has been weaponized by so many. If you look at racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia, they are all based on a warped principle that someone has to be out of the circle. When I look at christian nationalism (lower case is intentional) all I see is a perversion of the message of Jesus. It is all about keeping power at the expense of another person. The very ones whom Jesus calls us to serve are the ones being despised by the nationalists. Heck, with his brown skin Jesus would be kicked out of their church.

I believe that we are at a crossroads as a society. If we continue down the road we are currently on, the ending will be death and despair. Joshua asked the people of the Exodus to make a choice. Will they serve the gods of their neighbors or the Egyptians? Or will they serve the Lord. Choose this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We are being asked much the same question today. We are being called to choose between narcissism and love for your neighbor. In the verse immediately preceding 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said the following to the church at Corinth: But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31)

Again, we must learn how to love selflessly. Merton reminds us that we must learn to realize that the love of God seeks us in every situation, and seeks our good. His inscrutable love seeks our awakening. (p. 15) It is long past time for us to wake up to that love and choose the more excellent way. Then we can walk as God’s children in the way the prophet Isaiah proclaimed. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

Evening Prayer – 11 July 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been a wonderful day and evening, Lord

Time with family and very dear friends

As we contemplate this time of chaos and fear

As we seek the Spirit’s guidance

As we ask Her to lead us through the wilderness

We know that She will be steadfast and true

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…