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.


Sunlight After Long Rain

For Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Truth-Teller and Bringer of Light

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

In this place the sun has come out
after months of rain
and the trees are showing off their finest jewels:
droplets sparkling in rainbow colors.

Steam rises from the ground
and from the trunks of the giant cedars
and the forest looks like Life begun anew
Creation just set in motion.

There is nothing in this world
like the feeling of sunlight on our faces
just when we thought it would never come
and darkness and gloom
would prevail forever.

Yet the sunlight does always return.

There are parts of our lives
in which we have little power
and this is good
for it keeps us humble.
We cannot make the sun come and go
on our preferred schedule.

But there are other parts
where we do have power
and if we want the sun to come out
we have to work for it.

Help us know the difference
and do the work.

Help us shine the bright light of truth
through the obscuring clouds of lies
so we can bask in its warmth.

Help us set Creation in motion anew.

Blessed be.  Amen.

Everything Is Shining Here

After the rain:

blue sky shining
pine needles shining
yellow willow branches shining
water droplets on moss shining
stones in river shining
ripples of water shining
waterfall on canyon wall shining
pools of rainwater shining
tears on my face shining

Everything is shining 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.)



For All That Is Our Life

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

In this place that we dearly love,
this place where there are forests and grasslands
and beautiful wild rivers,
this place where our neighbors are
coyotes and ravens and hawks and deer
as well as human persons,
fire is raging out of control.
So many have lost everything,
including their lives.
It is a hard and terrible time,
and yet it is nearly Thanksgiving.

For what do we give thanks,
if everything we have known and loved is gone,
burned, nothing but ash and rubble?
For what do we give thanks
when the very air we breathe
is full of the remains of others,
and their homes,
and all the life around them?

Let us give thanks that we are alive.

We are alive in this moment
in our own body
here on Earth.

If we made it out of the fire,
we give thanks that we are alive
to mourn and to grieve,
to remember the moments when
we were not sure we would make it,
and then that moment when
we knew we had.
We give thanks that we have this chance
to start over,
to receive kindness from others,
to build a new life
different from the one before.

We give thanks that we are alive.

If we are watching the fire from afar,
we give thanks that our home still stands
and our friends and neighbors are safe
and that we are breathing at all,
even through a mask:

We give thanks for our breath.

We give thanks for the coming rain,
which will fall on our faces,
and mingle with our tears,
and cool and wet the parched ground,
and put out the fires and soothe our fears.

We give thanks for the rain.

We give thanks for You, the force of life
that will rise greening
through the deepest ash
at the slightest touch of rain.
We give thanks for this chance
to ourselves rise from the ashes
as new beings
alive with love.

For all that is our life,
even now,
we give thanks.

Blessed be.

After the rain

After the rain
Blue sky shining
Pine needles shining
Yellow willow branches shining
Water droplets on moss shining
Stones in river shining
Little ripples of water shining
Waterfall on canyon wall shining
Pools of rainwater shining
Tears on my face shining
Everything is shining here

Something, Shining

Spirit of Life, breath of our breath,
moving source of all we know:

The season is changing.

Clouds scud along on gusting winds
pouring rain onto a thirsty land,
cooling and perfuming the air.

Just when we get used to rain
there is the sun
making leaves glisten
like polished gold
and raindrops glow
like pearls
in the pines.

There are glints through the trees
of something, shining brightly—
something, shining—
and then it’s gone
and there is more rain.

All is change, and change is fast…
the shining moments go
as quickly as they come

but once we’ve seen one
we know
more are possible

and then O
how we shine.

Blessed be.


What to Set in Motion

Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love
in which we live and move and have our being:

Now is the time of spring wind in the pines,
new green oak leaves spreading wide.
Dogwoods hold out snowy blooms,
and bees buzz busily in the borage.
We hear birdsong in the morning
frogsong at night.

And at the very same time
that we behold all this beauty,
unnecessary suffering abounds.
In our own community,
children are going hungry
families are losing their homes,
violence and neglect are all around.

May we never forget the contingency of all that is.
Each of us is where we are
because of millions of things that happened before.
All the beauty of this broken world,
all the suffering in this beautiful world—
all of it is contingent
on what has happened before.

From this moment,
may we vow
to be mindful of the beauty
mindful of the brokenness
mindful of our own power to choose
what to set in motion.

May we choose love.
May we choose beauty.
May we choose healing.

Blessed be.

Ourselves, Growing

Spirit of Life, source of all love:

How wonderful it is that true spring
finally, finally arrives.

Rain is followed by glorious sun
followed by rain again.

New blades of grass poke through
cold soil and old leaves,
reaching for the light.

May we too reach for the light.

May we stretch our hearts and minds and souls
as high and wide as we can reach
and then stretch a little more—
ever becoming—
who we always knew we could be:

growing in the light.

Blessed be.

A Break in the Clouds

For weeks the rain has been falling
and the wind has been blowing
and everything has been coming apart.

We humans think we’re so smart:
we build roads along steep canyons,
houses in floodplains,
levees to hold rivers in place.

Then comes a winter like this one
and it





But yesterday, there were:

a break in the clouds
a frog outside the window
and buds on the dogwood on the slope.