Mother’s Day Prayer

Sleeping Mother by Christian Krohg

Spirit of Life, Mother of us all,
You who arise in each moment as the desire to nurture new life and growth:

 On this Mother’s Day, we pray for the health and wellbeing of all mothers.
We pray that mothers get to choose when to be mothers
and how many times over, and with what spacing in between.

We pray that the work of mothers to become mothers be honored:
the conception, the pregnancy, the hard labor, the birth,
or the fostering or the adoption.

We pray that the nurturing work of mothers of all genders be honored:

The nursing the feeding the care the changing of diapers the exhausted vigil at the sick child’s bedside the endless walking back and forth with the colicky baby the tantrums the teaching the learning the hoping the washing the endless rounds of cooking and cleaning up  the conversations about safety and sex the waiting up until the teenager is safely home the repetition of messages over and over again in hopes that something goes in…

We pray that all this nurturing work be honored by ending all forms of violence against mothers and children:  bullying, domestic violence, gun violence, rape, shootings by police, unjust imprisonment, poverty, war, pollution, destruction of the ecosystems that sustain our lives.

We pray that all this nurturing work be honored by allowing every single child to grow up healthy, with food enough and clothing, shelter, medicine, safety, education, beauty, and opportunities for meaningful work.

Spirit of life, we ask you to move in us as love and care for all mothers and all children.  May we honor not only our own mother but the work of all who nurture life everywhere.  May we dedicate ourselves to the flourishing of all beings on this, our great Mother, Earth. 

In Your many names, we pray.

Blessed be.

Prayer on Easter Morning

Spirit of Life,
You who rise blossoming in our hearts
as well as in the wildflowers:

Now is the time when hundreds of species of birds
sing at the tops of their lungs,
the dawn chorus a symphony of joyous beauty.  A
nd hundreds of species of flowers show their bright colors.  

It is also the time when the earth’s creatures
begin to mate and lay eggs and give birth,
to hatch and to nurse
to consume vast quantities of food
in preparation for becoming.  

Lambs and kids frolic on hillsides and in pastures,
the very embodiment of joy.
Little green caterpillars hang from threads in oak trees.
Baby birds are big open beaks set in little balls of fuzz,
squawking to be fed.
Spring is a glorious time to be alive. 

And yet it is the most dangerous time of the year for younglings,
the time when they are most vulnerable to predation.
Hawks may eat the chicks of owls and vice versa.
Robins feed hundreds of green caterpillars to their babies.
Lambs are prey to a host of diseases.

Life here on this blue-green planet,
this little rock orbiting an ordinary star,
is so precarious.
Every species is food for another.
Even we get recycled.

We might think that this cycle of life and death and life again
is mysterious and difficult enough
for us to ponder with awe and fear.
Yet humans seem always to be able
to add more fear to the mix.
We Americans can’t know if our next trip to the grocery store
or a concert or a day at school or work
will end in bloody carnage.
Families of color must wonder every single day
if all of their members will come home.

And so we come together, week after week,
to cultivate love.
To remind each other that love is strong as death.
To remind each other that it is not a given
that terror will have the last word.
That there are other possibilities
we may not yet have imagined.  

We come together, week after week,
to be each other’s refuge.
To imagine new ways of being.
To be each other’s light.
To remind each other who we truly are:
beloved children of the universe.
To hold each other in love so strong and so deep
that there is no room in it for fear.

May we ever rest in this love. 

Blessed be.

In the Face of Such Beauty

Spirit of Life, mysterious energy that enlivens all beings:

Now is the time when rainclouds swathe the hillsides and then race away on cold winds.
Mossy trees backlit by bright sun are limned in green fire,
and water droplets on twigs shine like silver pearls.

The air is so fresh and clean that we cannot get enough of its sweetness.
We breathe in more deeply and more often
than is strictly necessary.

It seems impossible in the face of such beauty
that the drums of war should beat…
and yet they do.

That children should be in any danger at all…
and yet they are.

That so much life should be on the brink of collapse…
and yet it is.

In times like these, what can we do?  How can we live?

Help us open our hearts.

Help us open our hearts so wide and so deep
that when we look upon the suffering and danger all around us
we feel no fear, but only love and compassion.

Only love and compassion
which we then give away
the way you give us rain and sunlight and fresh sweet air—
freely, in abundance, with no hesitation and no holding back.

Help us open our hearts to love.

Blessed be.

Quiet and Darkness Abound

Spirit of Life,
You who rise in us as the impulse
to light candles in the darkness
and share warmth with those who have none:

Now is the time when the cold rains fall
and shreds of mist cling to treetops
in the canyons.

The last of the yellow dogwood leaves are so bright
they light the forests like lanterns,
and the squirrels grow round
with winter fur.

In the deep forests
quiet and darkness abound.
It is the time of rest
and of waiting.

May we too rest.
May we let quiet fill our hearts
and spill over into the hectic world,
calming all who meet us.

May our being be an oasis of peace
and loving kindness
so we light the way like lanterns.

Blessed be.

 

Thanksgiving Prayer

Spirit of Life, source of all love,
Holy mystery containing all that is:

As the nights grow longer and longer,
help us know you as that radiant darkness
in which our deepest dreams come:
those dreams of love, of healing, of peace,
of our world created anew.

Help us not fear the darkness
but welcome it,
and rest in it.

Help us also know you as the flame
of candles and hearths
around whose warming light we gather
to tell each other stories:

giving thanks for all we have,
remembering those who have gone before,
gathering strength to make justice.

May those among us who have much
be granted vision to see and invite in
those who are lonely,
and may the lonely ones
be granted strength
to accept the invitation.

Blessed be.

Singing a Song of Life

Though the end of November is near
it still has not rained.
Dry winds sweep across the land
swirling dust through vineyards
and snapping trees in the canyons.

What will our relatives have to eat?
Deer reach for what leaves they can find
unconcerned about humans in their place.
Coyote and Mountain Lion are more wary
leaving scat but not showing
their coats.

Hawk shrieks high in the air
wheeling in the dusty smoky sky;
all is brown and gold and painfully dry.

Then on the hillside
there is suddenly red:
California Fuchsia
blooming in profusion,
little red trumpets
singing a song of life.

Here is a miracle
of evolution:
a plant that blooms every autumn
no matter how deep the drought.

Resilience, it seems,
is the very essence of this world.

Life will always find a way.
Life will always find a way.

Let Me Be Saved By Small Things

Spirit of Life, Radiant Mystery,
Source of all that is good and holy:
I confess to a certain weariness of spirit.

Just as we were beginning to recover
from the other disasters,
another shooting.

And since the rains have still not come
the power will be turned off
again.

And people who should love one another
and speak with kindness
or at least civility
are shouting in rage
and flouncing away–
forever!–they say
from their circles of love and support.

What is to become of us?

I long to pray to an omnipotent god
who would fix all this
if we just said the right words

But since that is not an option

I take myself
to the running waters
and listen to their song.

I call my dear friend
and listen to their beautiful voice.

And I sit with a four-year-old child
and read our favorite story.

Salvation is not something grand
heralded with trumpets;

It is instead effected by
a hundred small things:

The good dinner on a beautiful table,
a small child bouncing on your belly,
a dog chewing a bone against your leg.

The way water slides over smooth stone
over and over again but
never exactly
the same way twice.

The way the ravens converse
as they fly over the neighborhood
talking to each other
at the end of the day.

The way moss springs to life
the moment
it is touched
by rain.

Spirit of Life,
let me be saved by these small things.

Blessed be.

 

 

 

 

 

Power Outage

Dear Ones:

I am sorry to vanish for three weeks running.  I know you will understand when you read this week’s post.

Much love to all of you.

Rev. Leisa

 

For a month we have had electricity
only intermittently
which is a problem
when you rely on a well
with an electric pump
for water
and you can’t charge your devices
so you can’t keep up with the outside world
which seems to exist
only at a distant remove.

They have said the reason is to protect us
but if they wanted that
they would have maintained the lines
instead of paying giant bonuses
to the executives.

And even with all the outages
the lines have started fires
not in our neighborhood this time
but in the neighborhoods
of people I love
and it is tinder dry all around us
and any minute now it could all go up
in smoke.

We have our evacuation supplies packed
and the cars pointed out
not that that would help if the tunnel of trees
over our driveway
were on fire.

What is it like?
people ask.

What is it like to live with
the constant threat of fire
magnified by negligence
and not just the threat
but the actuality
when people you love
cannot charge their medical devices
and you can’t breathe
because the smoke
is so thick?

and the power company’s response is
“If you are dependent upon
medical devices that require electricity,
use your own resources
to relocate.”

What resources?
Relocate where, and how?
We are so bewildered.  And angry.

What is it like? people ask.
Fascinated by the disasters of others.

It is like this:
One part of my brain is planning
as if everything will be fine
while another is planning
which photos to take when we evacuate
and where to go
and a third
is exercising constant vigilance.
Between the demands of all three
there is no capacity
to remember details
like where I left my keys so

I have spent hours
searching for  little things
I have lost.

And it is also like this:

I am in the middle of a bad dream
in which the world is coming to an end
because the people in power
refuse to pay attention
to the evidence
right before their noses
The air is thick like molasses
and I can’t get through it
I can’t run
so I try to yell
but my voice won’t come out

You know that kind of dream?  It is like that.
Everything is on fire and I have no power.

It wasn’t always this way,
I try to say.
Yes, there has always been fire
but not on this scale.
It was never this hot
or this dry
for so long.
And the first peoples knew
how to manage fire
and they knew how to manage forests
and they didn’t
run electrical wires
right through tangles of trees
and pay each other bonuses
when the wires
started a conflagration.

I try to say these things
but no one hears
except God

And no one is listening, it seems,
even to God.

 

You… Shining (A Prayer for Yom Kippur)

Great Spirit of Life, Mysterious energy
that moves in and through all things:

Our old unwanted thoughts and habits
lie underfoot like the old leaves
that now begin to fall
on your hillsides.
We may have needed them once,
but no more.

Send the sweet rain
of Your love and compassion
that these old things
may be transformed
into rich soil for new growth.

And as feathery moss awakens
to the touch of rain,
and sends out new, seeking tendrils,
may we be made so fresh, and alive, and alert,
that when we look into each other’s faces
we see… You, shining.

Amen.

The Children Speak of their Dreams

The children speak of their dreams.
They are not of money or power or stardom;
no, this generation dreams of something entirely different.
They want only for life to continue on,
but with justice.
They long for restoration
and peace.

A boy with pale skin and glasses
speaks of his dream
of being a father
and standing under an oak tree that he loves
with his children
and knowing that both will outlast him.

A girl with cocoa brown skin and upswept hair
speaks of her dream
of growing old
and having her skin get wrinkled
and her hair turn gray
and her hands look well used
because she has lived a long life
of love and service.

An Indigenous boy with shiny black hair
speaks of plant medicine
and of restoring what has been lost
and also of bringing the movie theater
and the skate park
back to downtown
so kids will have something better to do
than drugs.

A Latinx girl with hoop earrings and impregnable dignity
speaks of how hard her parents work
to give her what they never had
and how she wants to honor
their sacrifices.
Citizenship for Dreamers,
she says, is only possible
and only worthwhile
if there is a living green place
for citizens.

At the end of each impassioned declaration,
Asian teens with buckets and trash cans
strapped to their bodies
beat their impromptu drums
in agreement.

These young humans know
what many of their elders do not:

That the world as we know it
is ending
and something new is coming
and we have to dream what we want
into being.

And all they want
is to restore the community of life
to which they know ALL belong

—ALL—

so they can love
and live
and raise healthy children
in a healthy community
on a healthy planet
in peace.

Adults:  Let us make it so.