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Evening Prayer – 14 September 2021

Downtown Hannibal, Missouri

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been long and exhausting day

Dad is safely in his new apartment

The caregivers at Good Samaritan hated to see him go

The caregivers at The Cedars joyfully welcomed him home

We began our drive to Alabama to care for Denise’s Dad

This has been a long journey thus far

We are thankful for the love and support of so many

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…

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 14 September 2021

Verse of the day
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate.

– Amos 5:14-15

Voice of the day
Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.

– Cornel West

Prayer of the day May your Spirit fill us with hope. Remind us that we are good enough for you,
so that in all things, we will follow your will, and take up the call to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you.
– Erica VanEssendelft, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church

Pace e Bene – 12 September 2021

Image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.”—Diane Ackerman

Evening Prayer – 11 September 2021

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

It has been another long day, Lord

The exhaustion is very real

Yet a week from today we will be back home

So many emotions bubbling up

Thank you for my sweetheart who is my partner in life, love, and ministry

Thank you for our sweet puppy who has patiently accompanied us on this journey

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…

September 11th, 2021 – A Reflection

A pathway through the woods along Lake Wheeler near Florence, Alabama

This afternoon has been a time of contemplation for me. There are observances all around the US and even the globe as September 11th, 2001 is remembered. I remember Nellis Air Force Base reeling as ordinary life went out the window as the threat level indicators rose to a wartime footing. I also remember the five months that I spent in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in 2005. I vividly remember the visceral hatred of Muslims in the US, around the globe, and “down range” by the military members I served with. Much of the hatred came from people who said that they were christians (lower case is intentional). Fear and lies spread like wildfire and were still very much alive in 2008 when I deployed to Southwest Asia in support of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places.

Twenty years after the attacks on September 11th, much of that hatred and fear is still here. In addition, the division and fear-mongering continues to spread as this nation faces a surreal political environment where lies are spread as “truth” and paranoia has replaced critical thinking.

I sometimes wonder how I can keep my sanity as a pastor and Christ-follower. It is far too easy to slip into the language and way of hatred and division. When I find myself going down that path, the Spirit nudges me and invites me back to the path of love, justice, mercy, and peace that is the way of Jesus.

Today my contemplation and prayer focuses on all the victims of warfare, hatred, and fear along with victims of individual and corporate greed. Thomas Merton’s reflections in New Seeds of Contemplation (published in 1949) continue to speak to the world situation today.

When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. (New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 121)

On this day, and every day, may this be both my prayer and a call to action. I invite you, dear reader, to join me on this journey towards peace. In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer: Lord make me an instrument of Your peace.

Evening Prayer – 10 September 2021

Murals on a wall across the street from Taco Mama and Singing River Brewery in Florence, Alabama

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to simply Be Still with my sweetheart Denise today

Thank you for a good visit with her Dad

Thank you for bringing her brother safely here

Thank you for the wonderful evening of stories and sharing

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…

Pace e Bene – 10 September 2021

Image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“To a certain extent the refusal to love enemies is a result of seeing the opposition as a monolith. We fail to note that the enemy camp is inevitably riddled with power struggles, fragmentation, back-stabbing, personal vendettas, bureaucratic infighting and careerism, all of which conspire to prevent maximum efficiency in oppression . . . no one can show others the error that is within them, unless the others are convinced that their critic first sees and loves the good that is within them.”—Walter Wink

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 10 September 2021

Verse of the day
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

– Psalm 89:14

Voice of the day
Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is a commitment to others. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause — the cause of liberation.

– Paulo Freire, translated By Myra Bergman Ramos, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)

Prayer of the day Enlivened by the Spirit, may we go forth in the peace of the Holy Spirit to love and serve the Lord.
– Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 9 September 2021

Verse of the day
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

– Isaiah 58:6

Voice of the day
We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

– Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Prayer of the day Give us the courage, the patience, the serenity, the self-honesty, and the gentleness of spirit that are needed in a world filled with turmoil and terror.

– Jack Knox

Pace e Bene – 9 September 2021

Image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“If you scapegoat someone, it’s a third party that will be aware of it. It won’t be you, because you believe you are doing the right thing.”—Rene Girard