POETRY: Seeing Things by Seamus Heaney

June 9, 2018

I Inishbofin on a Sunday morning. Sunlight, turfsmoke, seagulls, boatslip, diesel. One by one we were being handed down Into a boat that slipped and shilly-shallied Scaresomely every time. We sat tight On short cross-benches, in nervous twos and threes, Obedient, newly close, nobody speaking Except the boatmen, as the gunwales sank And seemed they might ship water any minute. The sea was very calm but even so, When the engine kicked and our ferryman Swayed for balance, reaching for the tiller, I panicked at the shiftiness and heft Of the craft itself. What guaranteed us— That quick response and buoyancy and swim— Kept me in agony. All the time As we went sailing evenly across The deep, still, seeable-down-into water, It was as if I [...]

POETRY: A Drink Of Water by Seamus Heaney

June 2, 2018

She came every morning to draw water Like an old bat staggering up the field: The pump’s whooping cough, the bucket’s clatter And slow diminuendo as it filled, Announced her. I recall Her grey apron, the pocked white enamel Of the brimming bucket, and the treble Creak of her voice like the pump’s handle. Nights when a full moon lifted past her gable It fell back through her window and would lie Into the water set out on the table. Where I have dipped to drink again, to be Faithful to the admonishment on her cup, Remember the Giver, fading off the [...]

FAITH: Growth Through Humility by The Venerable Bede, Priest and Confessor

February 23, 2017

And it came to pass that there met him ten men that were lepers. They may well be described as lepers who, while having no true knowledge of the faith, profess a variety of heretical teachings. For such people do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the height of learning; priding themselves on what they have to say. There is no false doctrine in which some truth is not mingled. True doctrine therefore mixed without order with what is false, in a man’s discussion or conversation, and showing like the colors in a body, resemble the leprosy that spots and blemishes the human body with patches of true and false color. Such persons are to be excluded from the church so that, if it is possible, placed afar off they may with a loud [...]

POETRY: The Ten Lepers by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

February 22, 2017

’Neath the olives of Samaria, in far-famed Galilee, Where dark green vines are mirrored in a placid silver sea, ’Mid scenes of tranquil beauty, glowing sun-sets, rosy dawn, The Master and disciples to the city journeyed on. And, as they neared a valley where a sheltered hamlet lay, A strange, portentous wailing made them pause upon their way— Voices fraught with anguish, telling of aching heart and brow, Which kept moaning: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us now!” Softly raised the gentle Saviour His eyes like midnight star, And His mournful gaze soon rested on ten lepers, who, afar, Stood motionless and suppliant, in sackcloth rudely clothed, Poor Pariahs! by their nearest, their dearest, shunned and loathed. Not unto Him prayed [...]

GRATITUDE: A Belatedly Grateful Leper by Loretta Pehanich

February 21, 2017

From Ignatian Spirituality Luke 17:11-19 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that [...]

POETRY: Rinsed With Gold, Endless, Walking The Fields by Robert Siegel

November 30, 2016

Let this day’s air praise the Lord— Rinsed with gold, endless, walking the fields, Blue and bearing the clouds like censers, Holding the sun like a single note Running through all things, a basso profundo Rousing the birds to an endless chorus. Let the river throw itself down before him, The rapids laugh and flash with his praise, Let the lake tremble about its edges And gather itself in one clear thought To mirror the heavens and the reckless gulls That swoop and rise on its glittering shores. Let the lawn burn continually before him A green flame, and the tree’s shadow Sweep over it like the baton of a conductor, Let winds hug the housecorners and woodsmoke Sweeten the world with her invisible dress, Let the cricket wind [...]

PRAYER: The Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

From The Book of Common Prayer (1928) To our prayers, O Lord, we join our unfeigned thanks for all thy mercies; for our being, our reason, and all other endowments and faculties of soul and body; for our health, friends, food, and raiment, and all the other comforts and conveniences of life. Above all, we adore thy mercy in sending thy only Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and eternal death, and in giving us the knowledge and sense of our duty towards thee. We bless thee for thy patience with us, notwithstanding our many and great provocations; for all the directions, assistances, and comforts of thy Holy Spirit; for thy continual care and watchful providence over us through the whole course of our lives; and particularly for the [...]

PRAYER: Benedicite, Omnia Opera Domini

September 26, 2016

From The Canticle of the Three Young Men O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye waters that be above the firmament, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye showers and dew, bless ye the Lord;* praise him, and magnify him for ever. O ye winds of God, bless ye the [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer of Gratitude for Creation by Fiona Murdoch

September 1, 2016

From Eco-Congregation Ireland God of the universe, We thank you for your many good gifts: For the beauty of Creation and its rich and varied fruits, For clean water and fresh air, for food and shelter, animals and plants. Forgive us for the times we have taken the Earth’s resources for granted, And wasted what you have given us. Transform our hearts and minds So that we would learn to care and share, To touch the Earth with gentleness and with love, Respecting all living things. We pray for all those who suffer as a result of our waste, greed, and indifference. And we pray that the day will come when everyone has enough food and clean water. Help us to respect the rights of all people and all species And help us to willingly share [...]

POETRY: Gratitude by Anna Kamieńska

August 31, 2016

A tempest threw a rainbow in my face so that I wanted to fall under the rain to kiss the hands of an old woman to whom I gave my seat to thank everyone for the fact that they exist and at times even feel like smiling I was grateful to young leaves that they were willing to open up to the sun to babies that they still felt like coming into this world to the old that they heroically endure until the end I was full of thanks like a Sunday alms-box I would have embraced death if she’d stopped nearby Gratitude is a scattered homeless [...]

POETRY: Morning Reflections by Enuma Okoro

August 26, 2016

What is this unfolding, this slow- going unraveling of gift held in hands open to the wonder and enchantment of it all? What is this growing, this rare showing, like blossoming of purple spotted forests by roadside grown weary with winter months? Seasons affected, routinely disordered by playful disturbance of divine glee weaving through limbs with sharpened shards of mirrored light, cutting dark spaces, interlacing creation, commanding life with whimsical delight. What is this breaking, this hopeful re-making, shifting stones, addressing dry bones, dizzying me with blessings, intercepting my grieving and raising the dead all around me? [...]

PSALMS: Prayer Of Praise by Bruce Prewer

June 13, 2016

(inspired by Psalm 1) Psalm 1 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. You, loving God, are [...]

POETRY: Praying by Mary Oliver

June 10, 2016

It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak. [...]

POETRY: A Song Of Praises by Robert Siegel

May 24, 2016

for the gray nudge of dawn at the window for the chill that hangs around the bed and slips its cold tongue under the covers for the cat that walks over my face purring murderously for the warmth of the hip next to mine and sweet lethargy for the cranking up of the will until it turns me out of bed for the robe’s caress along arm and neck for the welcome of hot water, the dissolving of the night’s stiff mask in the warm washcloth for the light along the while porcelain sink for the toothbrush’s savory invasion of the tomb of the mouth and resurrection of the breath for the warm lather and the clean scrape of the razor and the skin smooth and pink that emerges for the steam of the shower, the apprehensive shiver and then [...]

PRAYER: I Am Nothing by Thomas à Kempis

April 4, 2016

I will presume to speak to you, My Lord, though I am mere dust and ashes. If I imagined myself to be anything more, you would confront me with my sins, which bear witness against me. But if I humble myself and acknowledge my nothingness, if I cast away all self-esteem and reduce myself to dust, then your grace will come to me, and your light will enter my heart. So let the last trace of pride be swallowed up in the depths of my own nothingness and perish forever. Let me see myself for what I am and what I have been, as mere nothingness. Now, Lord, look upon me. Your gaze can turn my nothingness into newness, my darkness into light, my misery into joy, my death into life. When I become nothing, I discover both myself and you. When I admit [...]

FORGIVENESS: Lent 2016 — God, the Rumpelstiltskin

March 3, 2016

Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood— That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; That our oxen may be well laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord! (Psalm 144:11-15) I never expected this from God, to be honest. And I’m not sure there would be many who would either.  Unless they [...]

SATURDAY READING: Gratitude As Thankfulness And As Gratefulness by David Steindl-Rast

February 20, 2016

From The Psychology of Gratitude At this early stage of concerted scientific research concerning gratitude, it is essential to fine-tune our terminology. Precise terminology is a necessary instrument for clear thinking. Scientific terminology differs from conversational usage by its precision. Emmons and Shelton noted, “Given that gratitude is a commonly occurring affect, it is remarkable that psychologists specializing in the study of emotions have, by and large, failed to explore its contours.” Because we have failed to explore even the contours, we lack the terminology necessary for more detailed exploration. My effort at precision is twofold: linguistic and psychological. Here, I examine idiomatic usage and etymological derivation [...]

POETRY: A Good Day by Brother David Steindl-Rast

February 17, 2016

A Gift Of Gratitude You think this is just another day in your life?  It’s not just another day; it’s the one day that is given to you… today It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the one appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life, and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well. Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. [...]

PRAYER: Introduction To The Lenten Season — Prayer by Harold A. Buetow

February 8, 2016

From Embrace Your Renewal Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children.  Eighteen!  In order merely to keep food on the table, the father, a goldsmith, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and at any other paying job he could find.  Despite their seemingly hopeless situation, two of the children of Albrecht Durer, the elder, had a dream.  They both wanted to pursue their talent for art; but they well knew that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the academy. After many discussions, the two boys finally worked out a pact.  They would toss a coin.  The loser would go down into the nearby mines and with his [...]

SATURDAY READING: What Do You Want? The Place of Seeing God by Ann Voskamp

January 16, 2016

From One Thousand Gifts Every time you feel in God’s creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: “O my God, if thy creations are so full of beauty, delight, and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight, and joy art thou thyself, creator of all! (Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain) “You will want to see this.” He takes my shoulders in his hands, large and field-worn, and draws me close.  I fight the urge to writhe. It’s not him.  Not his hands holding me, the whisper of his voice, his eyes inviting me now.  It’s just that I’m feeling time’s strangling grip, struggling to [...]

PRAYER: Thanksgiving by Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

November 26, 2015

From Blessings of the Daily Come, ye thankful people, come; Raise the song of harvest home. All is safely gathered in Ere the winter’s storm begin. God, our Maker, doth provide For our wants to be supplied; Come to God’s own temple, come, Raise the song of harvest home. (Henry Alford) Toward the end of November, farmers and gardeners begin to complete their fall work.  Our animals seek shelter in a warm barn, woodpiles are assembled near the monastery building, hay is stored in the barn, and the last vegetables are harvested from the garden.  Another full cycle arrives at its completion, and all of us move on to the annual celebration of Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, we sing in the monastery the Te Deum, in it solemn [...]

POETRY: Notice by Steve Kowit

June 17, 2015

This evening, the sturdy Levis I wore every day for over a year & which seemed to the end in perfect condition, suddenly tore. How or why I don’t know, but there it was—a big rip at the crotch. A month ago my friend Nick walked off a racquetball court, showered, got into his street clothes, & halfway home collapsed & died. Take heed you who read this & drop to your knees now & again like the poet Christopher Smart & kiss the earth & be joyful & make much of your time & be kindly to everyone, even to those who do not deserve it. For although you may not believe it will happen, you too will one day be gone. I, whose Levis ripped at the crotch for no reason, assure you that such is the case. Pass it [...]

GRATITUDE: Contemplation In Action Prayers by Matthew Linn, Dennis Linn, & Sheila Fabricant

June 11, 2015

From Prayer Course for Healing Life’s Hurts Take a minute and ask for the grace to be able to receive love.  Then go and do one of the following: One Take a walk of thanksgiving in which you just thank God for the ways you see his love.  You might thank him through words, by the way you take deep breaths of his care, or just by the way you rejoice in seeing and touching his creation.  Maybe you will want to stop in one spot and thank him for all you can hear, smell, touch, and see.  Let him smile at you and smile back. Two A favorite prayer of Saint Teresa was to work with an awareness of Jesus being at her side.  Invite Jesus to be with you as you work during part of the day.  You might speak to him about what you are doing, [...]

SERMON: Greed, Grace, And Gratitude — An Approach to Preaching the Psalms by J. Clinton McCann, Jr.

June 1, 2014

From Performing the Psalms My approach in this essay is explicitly theological.  In its most basic sense, theology means thinking about God.  So, as I interpret the Psalms for preaching, I am constantly looking for a word from and about God and God’s will for the world.  More specifically, my working definition of theology is borrowed from David Tracy, who suggests that doing theology means thinking about religion culturally and thinking about culture religiously.  Or, as I like to paraphrase, Tracy, theology is thinking about God and God’s claim on the world in the context of where we find ourselves every day. As contemporary North Americans, where we find ourselves every day is in the midst of an extremely affluent culture in [...]

SATURDAY READING: The Eros Of Pleasure — Pathway to Presence and Gratitude by James D. Whitehead & Evelyn Eaton Whitehead

May 31, 2014

From Holy Eros: Pathways to a Passionate God It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) For Christians, Paul announces to the Philippians, the life of faith expresses God’s good pleasure.  Writing to the community in Ephesus, Paul returns to this conviction: God’s plan of salvation is being carried out “according to God’s good pleasure set forth in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9)  The Hebrew prophets, too, gave testimony to divine pleasure: God’s word, like the rain that waters the fields, “will not return to God unfulfilled, before having carried out God’s good pleasure.” (Isaiah 55:11)  But pleasure, especially sensual pleasure, has been a stumbling [...]

REFLECTION: A Splash Of Gratitude With That Attitude, Please by Max Lucado

May 29, 2014

From You’ll Get Through This Try as I might to seem cultured, my blue collar often peeks through my tux.  It certainly did some years back when I was invited to a minister’s house for tea.  I was brand-new to ministry and to our city.  He was a seasoned pastor from New Zealand, educated in England.  When he asked me to speak at his church, I was honored.  When he requested that I come to his house for tea, I was intrigued. I had never heard of high tea.  High fives and “hi, y’all!” and “hi-yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay,” yes.  But never high tea.  Tea (to West Texas boys) means pitchers, tall glasses, ice cubes, and Lipton.  In the spirit of adventure I gladly accepted the invitation.  I even [...]

POETRY: Gratitude

May 28, 2014

Alive Together Lisel Mueller Speaking of marvels, I am alive together with you, when I might have been alive with anyone under the sun, when I might have been Abélard’s woman or the whore of a Renaissance pope or a peasant wife with not enough food and not enough love, with my children dead of the plague. I might have slept in an alcove next to the man with the golden nose, who poked it into the business of stars, or sewn a starry flag for a general with wooden teeth. I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas or a woman without a name weeping in Master’s bed for my husband, exchanged for a mule, my daughter, lost in a drunken bet. I might have been stretched on a totem pole to appease a vindictive god or left, a useless [...]

GOD 101: The Leveling Virtue Of Gratitude

May 27, 2014

I was standing at the information desk of a very busy suburban library the other day.  Next to me was a breathless nine-year-old boy, impatient with the help he was not getting from the librarian behind the counter.  The librarian, in his turn, was making a nominal effort to sift through the assorted junk in an open drawer in front of him, letting one of his fingers draw across the surface of the contents like a lover hanging his hand over the side of a boat and lightly disturbing the smooth surface of the lake. Do you really need a pencil? sighed the librarian. NO! Just an eraser!  It sounded to me as though this, to the boy, had already been explained quite clearly. I watched the librarian, who appeared even to me to have no [...]