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


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.

Let This Be The Day: A Prayer For The Global Climate Strike

Photo by Mel Evans, AP

Spirit of Life,
You who body forth as our starry universe
and this luminous, blue-green planet:

Today you shine forth from the faces of the children
who are taking to the streets,
clear-headed and clear-eyed,
to demand that adults act like adults
and take responsibility
for the mess we have made.

Children of all colors and all genders
all ethnicities and all nations
all cultures and all creeds—ALL—
are rising up

They hear Your urgent call
to protect life
and they are acting on it.

May we adults gather our own strength
and our own courage
and do likewise.

Let this be the day everything changes.

Blessed be.

When Humans Are Just Too Awful For Words

It is not that I don’t think about evil—
I do.  Often.

It is more that I will not let it have the last word.

Horrible things happen
in every part of this world
every day, and
if I allowed myself to feel all the pain there is
I would be paralyzed
and that would do no one
any good
at all.

So I choose a different way.

I know I cannot solve everything—
save the children from sexual slavery
get clean water to every person
remove all the plastic from the oceans
and somehow get rid of this strutting emperor
who dismisses reports of his nakedness
as fake news
while inciting acts so heinous
that we will be ashamed for generations to come—
and it is not that I do not feel angry.

It is more that
I prefer to think about the way,
every spring, even in dry years,
the bright poppies bloom
on the green hills
under the blue sky,
and the shore birds fly up
in vast murmurations,
flashing first white and then gray
and then silver
in the shafts of sunlight
that pierce the soft spring clouds.

It is more that
I prefer to think about the way
the children are rising up in the streets
to remind their elders of their proper work
which is not to sit and wring our hands
and feel helpless,
but to act
and to create
new ways of doing everything.

Life is more powerful than evil
and we are part of it
and must act on our own behalf.

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless,”
said Dorothy Day,
“There is too much work to do.”

Think of how much work it is
and how hard
for a baby bird to hatch from an egg;

Think of how much work it is
and how hard
for a tree to grow through a boulder;

And yet they do it all the time.

If the flowers can bloom
and the children can rise up

If the birds can hatch and then they can fly
and if trees can grow through stone

then, certainly—
we have the strength
to overcome evil.
To outgrow it,
to create something different
and more interesting.

Let us hatch
and let us fly
and let us grow
and let us bloom
and together let us
create something beautiful
and new.






It has been said
that when Jesus was born
God became flesh
and dwelt among us…

but God is always present here.

The mystery of incarnation
is not that it happened once
but that it happens in every moment,
a continual process
of which all beings are part.

If you don’t believe me,
look at the black-haired baby
crawling on the floor
in her little red tutu:
she beams when she reaches
someone she loves
and stands with a mighty effort.

Behold the young girl
who has gathered hundreds of blankets
to give to those with no shelter.

Watch the expressions
on the faces of the children
as they pass the light
from candle to candle.
Watch the faces of the wrinkly elders
as they watch the lovely children.

And when you go out
into the dark cold night
and you hear Owl calling
or see Coyote slip by
in the moonlight
shining on the trees

you will know
that God is always present here.

The Day It Finally Rained

When it finally, finally rained
and the air smelled so sweet
we took the children for a walk
and they noticed everything:

The foal in the neighbor’s paddock,
the acorns on the ground,
the tips of cedar cones—
like roses carved of wood—
the prickly liquidambar seedpods,
and the brilliant colors of the leaves
backlit as they were
by a shaft of sunlight
coming from under the clouds.

Water droplets glistened
on cedars, firs, and pines,
“like jewels,” someone said,
and the girl child repeated:
“the trees are wearing jewels!”

With faces alight
and cold and wet little hands
our darlings brought us treasures
and we all filled our pockets.

Then, that night before dinner
we decorated the table
with acorns and leaves and pieces of bark,
moss and lichen and roses of wood.

Surely no table has ever been more beautiful
than that one,
on the day it finally, finally rained.

(Dear God, Spirit of Life, Ground of Our Being:
This is what we ask

for all families, and all children:
this much beauty and abundance and love.  

Surely it cannot be too much to ask.
Surely it cannot be too much to give.
Please, help us make it so.  Amen.)



This Great Throng of Life

Spirit of Life, source and ground of our being:

The days come early and stay late now
their colors blue and green,
their fragrance rose and peony and jasmine.
The evenings are long with golden light
slanting through leaves and across fields.
The fluting call of a thrush
descends from high in the trees
and at night the frogs and the crickets
sing of love.

The beauty is so great
it near stops our hearts
and yet at the very same time
little children are being torn from their parents
teens are being shot in their schools
unarmed protestors are being massacred
and sea levels continue to rise.
The list goes on and on.

Spirit of Life, Love that holds all,
we need you now.
It is long past time for us
to pour out into the streets
and do what needs to be done.

And yet we are afraid.
You call us and call us
and we are afraid.

Help us remember Moses.

When G*d called him to lead his people
out of slavery
Moses was afraid
and said he couldn’t do it.
“I don’t speak well,” he said.
“I don’t know how to lead.”
G*d did not say
“Go do it by yourself!”
G*d said
“Then take your brother Aaron.”

Help us remember this
when we hear you calling
and we are afraid:
we do not have to do it alone.

You are with us
and so are all the beings
of this beautiful earth:
the blue skies and the green trees
the fragrant flowers and the birds
the crickets and the frogs
the children with their shining eyes
and our many friends and companions.

In this great throng of life
we are never alone
and we have more than enough power
to be the change we seek.
Help us rise up.

It is time.

Blessed be.

A Mother’s Day Prayer

Spirit of Life, moving source of all we know:

Now is the time when lush green leaves
clothe the oak trees,
Grosbeaks fill the forests
with exuberant song,
dogwoods lift their extravagant blossoms
to the sun,
and children race each other
to the swings.
It is high spring,
a time of glorious beauty.

And yet, as always,
there is pain here.
Even as we celebrate Mother’s Day,
our government is keeping the children
of brown mothers
in cages.

Even as we celebrate Mother’s Day,
black and brown mothers
weep from fear
that their children will not come home
because they have been shot by police.

Even as we celebrate Mother’s Day,
the children of all mothers
are endangered by climate change.

The irony is too much to bear.

Spirit of Life, Source of all love:

Springtime shows us
how much beauty the world offers:
the songs of birds
the colors of flowers
the faces of children.

Each is beautiful
but they are even more so
because of the
between them.

Help us be thankful for all this beauty
Help us love the differences

Help us act from our thanks and our love.

Help us act.
Help us act.
Help us act.

Blessed be.

The Waters Are Moving

For Emma Gonzalez

Yesterday morning it was so cold
that a little waterfall along my walk
had frozen over.

It was lovely gleaming there
all silvery in the sunlight.

But then I noticed that
under the frozen surface
the waters were moving.

Soon they would wear through the surface
they would flow even more freely
and then the whole thing would go.

I thought of stories I had heard
of the last ice age
and the release of Lake Missoula:

Many thousands of years ago
in what is now Montana
there was a giant ice dam.

It held back more fresh water
than has ever been gathered
anywhere in our world.

Under the dam’s surface
waters were moving
and periodically,
the dam would melt.

The water spilled out
in floods so colossal
they transformed the landscape
all the way to the ocean.

Under the surface
the waters are moving

And then I thought
of the last stage of pregnancy
and how it feels like the discomfort
will never end.

But then the waters break
and everything changes:
new life is ushered in
on a flood.

Under the surface
the waters are moving

And then I thought of now
and how everything has seemed frozen
in the very same shape
for so long.

But under the surface
the waters are moving
and the children are coming loose:

the children are coming loose
and the women are coming loose
and the whole thing could go
at any moment.

Under the surface
the waters are moving
it’s time to transform the landscape
it’s time to bring a new world
to birth.

A Prayer for Grief and Courage

I am poured out like water;
my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted in my breast…
–Psalm 22

Spirit of Life, Infinite Love,
You in whom we live and move
and have our being:

How do such things happen?
How is it that children
can be shot in their schools?
How can we live with it?
The pain is so great that it seems
we might not.

Help us grieve in the way
humans need to grieve:
with wailing and sobbing
and tearing of hair and clothing.
Help us grieve.

And then help us rise up.

Help us rise up in grief and outrage.
Help us know in our bones
that we will NOT live with this.

Give us the courage to cry out,
“Enough! No more of this! Enough!
We will not stand helplessly by while children
are killed in their schools!
Or in their homes, or on their streets,
or anywhere our love can reach!”

Help us use all of our strength
and all of our skill
to make this world safe
for children everywhere.

May it be so. Blessed be. All our relations. Ashe. Amen.

To Do What is Needed

Great Spirit of Life:

My heart is sore today, and I am lonely.
For lo, these many years I have been failing you.

This blue-green ball
that you have given us to live on,
Your sacred body,
this miracle of interwoven cycles
of water, air, earth, fire,
is heating up.

One by one we are killing our relatives:
tigers, grizzlies, elephants, oaks, otters,
whales, salmon, grasses, butterflies,
gorillas, orchids, lorikeets.

Thousand by thousand we are killing ourselves:
women and children first.

My voice is small
a whisper lost in the wind
Those who hear it laugh at me
and tell me how impractical I am
to want to find a way to live here
in love.

But please,
help me not give up.
Help me receive Your gifts
and use them to save us all.

Grant me the presence of a mountain
implacable and unarguable
Grant me hope that grows like tiny tendrils of grass
after just one rain
Let me be rooted deeply and reach high, like the pine tree
flexible enough to weather the storm
Let me be as persistent as water
wearing away resistance one molecule at a time
Let me be as fierce as a grizzly bear
that I might protect all of the earth’s young
Grant me the endurance of the salmon,
the instinct to keep swimming upstream.
Grant me the vision of the hawk,
that I might see what to do next
Let me keep the wonder of a tiny child
and the joy of a baby’s belly laugh

Great Spirit,
the Web of Life is torn.
I place myself in your hands,
that you might use me to mend it.
Keep my heart full of the love that will sustain me
that I might find a way to sustain You.

Thank you for all you have given me.

Blessed Be