Fever Rising

Spirit of Life, Source of all Love:

Our planet has a fever.
Giant storms bring floods
that inundate whole countries.
Smoke rises from the ruins
of thousands of miles of forests.
Incalculable numbers of beings
suffer much worse things
than death.

How do we bear it?

How do we bear it,
knowing that it will get worse
before it gets better
and it may never get better
at all?

Help us allow ourselves to grieve.
Help us know that our grief
arises from our love
which arises from our interdependence
with all life on Earth.

If we can allow ourselves to grieve–
if we can sob and wail
and pound our pillows–
if we can release the tears
that clog our throats,
we can recover our voices.
We can come back to life.
We can act from our love
on behalf of all life.

Spirit of Life, power of greening:
nothing is stronger than You are,
You rise in the trees,
You swim in the waters,
You fly in the air,
You crawl on the earth.
You move in our hearts as Love:
Love that is stronger than death.

In our hour of need, we pray:
Rise in us and overflow
as the tears that express our love
and clear the way for you to move
as the wisdom we need
to know how to act
and the strength we need
to do it.

Rise in us, O Spirit of Life,
and help us make all things new.

Amen.  Ashe.  All our relations. Blessed be.

Singing

Spirit of Life,
You who rise greening in our hearts
as well as in the vines of zucchini plants:

Now is a time of great abundance,
when fruits and vegetables of every kind
are piled in great heaps in the markets.

Queen Anne’s Lace blooms in the meadows,
the clear pools of the river beckon,
and the trees are so fragrant
we want to gulp in the delicious air.

Yet fire season has already begun
taking the homes and lives of many beings,
little children are still crying for their parents,
and many we love are sick and in pain.

Help us know that
this is the way of things here,
on this little blue planet
hurtling through the vast starry deeps:
there is always both at once.

Both ravishing beauty and terrible suffering,
both immense joy and agonizing pain,
both glorious celebration and overwhelming grief.

Help us know that whatever we are experiencing
You are with us, whatever we call You—
Love, God, Universe, or no name at all—

for You are the love that binds all wounds
dries all tears
and frees all who are captive
and You are right here in our hearts
singing.

Blessed be.

Artwork: Aditi – Goddess of the Boundless Sky by Peg Green

The Breath of Our Bodies

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

Now begins our hot blue and gold time
when the air smells of dry grass and live oaks
the wild birds are raising their young
and the tomato plants begin a mad rush
toward the sun.

Help us know you as the breath of our bodies.

Help us know you as the life force
that fills apricots and cherries
with the juice that delights our tongues.

Help us also know you as the force
that dries the petals of wildflowers
and scatters them, dead, along the ground.

Help us know you as a love so large
that in all beginnings,
and in all endings,
we are ever safely held.

Help us rest in that love,
as we look with open eyes
upon the suffering within us
and all around us.

Fill us with the loving kindness we need
to relieve this suffering.

Help us breathe your love and peace
into our scarred and beautiful world.

Blessed be.

Glorious Complicated

For Theresa

Someone I love is suffering
and I was taking pictures of flowers to send
because neither of us likes cut flowers.

I mean, we love flowers—
it’s just that we don’t like to cut short
their beautiful lives
for the momentary pleasure of humans.

And then there’s also the whole
multinational floral industry,
which is something else altogether
and you probably don’t
want to get me started on that.

So I was taking pictures
of the most vibrant
orange-red multi-layered
flower I could find—

because that’s what my friend is like,
all glorious color and complicated layers—

when a dragonfly pulled up
and landed nearby.
It had round cloudy blue eyes
like tiny marbles
and wings of pewter filigree
and a long segmented silver body.

I snapped a picture and it was gone
and now my day is done
because how can you follow
a bright vermilion zinnia
and a silver and blue dragonfly
and the early autumn wind in the pines
with productivity?

Surely it would be a sin.

Better to sit on the porch
and listen to the wind chimes
and watch the butterflies
and send all our love
to my beautiful, hurting friend.

Ever Safely Held

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

Help us know you as the breath of our bodies.

As we mark the end of summer
and the beginning of autumn,
help us know you as the life force
that fills grapes and pears
with the liquid sunshine
that delights our tongues.

Help us also know you
as the force that turns green leaves yellow
and starts their slow spinning to the ground.

Help us know you as a love so large
that in all beginnings,
and in all endings,
we are ever safely held.

Help us rest in that love,
as we look with open eyes
upon the suffering within us and all around us.

Fill us with the loving kindness we need
to relieve this suffering.

Help us to breathe your love and peace
into our scarred and beautiful world.

Amen.

Open Our Hearts

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

Now is our hot blue and gold time,
when the air smells of oaks
and pines and dry grasses,
crickets sing all night,
and the rivers get lower and warmer.

Grapes swell with the liquid sunshine
that delights our tongues
sunflowers and zinnias bloom
in glorious colors
and zucchini plants run riot in the gardens.

Help us ground ourselves
in all this beauty
so we can open our hearts.

Help us open our hearts so wide
and so deep
that they can fill with
an entire ocean of love.
Help us feel the joy of that love.

Help us open our hearts so deep
and so wide
that they can hold all the pain
of this suffering world,
and soothe it with our love.

Help us open our hearts to one another.
Move through us as compassion
for all those who fear
and all those who mourn.
Move through us as celebration for all
who are experiencing great joy.

And help us know who we really are:
each a beloved, essential being,
all part of one great
living breathing changing shining whole
whose nature is love.

Help us open our hearts to love.

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.

Passover Prayer

Spirit of Life,
Source and Sustainer of all:

It is hard to tell that spring has arrived.
White ice floats on the dark lake
and swans graze by the shore.

But then sunlight streams down
in sudden shafts through clouds,
lighting up circles of restless water
in brilliant blue.

May we be stopped in our tracks by this beauty.

May it open our hearts so that
we hear the cries
of all those who are suffering
and can’t help but respond–
even when it is hard–
even when we feel we are not up to the task.

May we keep one another company
in the work of liberation, saying
“Go, now. I will be with you.”

May we remember always
that here, together,
we are standing on holy ground.

Blessed be.

Our Shared Life

Spirit of Life,
Great ocean of compassion
in which we live and move and have our being:

Here is a truth we know well:
there is suffering in life.
When we encounter suffering,
our own or that of others,
may we gather together
to bring one another comfort.
May we speak of our pain together
so none of us is alone.
May we learn from what we share.
May we make meaning from it.

And here is another truth we know well:
there is great beauty in life.
There is great joy.
When our cup is filled to the brim
with beauty and joy,
may we gather together in celebration.
May we sing songs of wonder and praise.
May we be thankful for our shared life.

Blessed be.

Channels of Love

Spirit of life, Great Immensity of Love
that holds all:

This life can be so hard.
There is so much pain,
so much suffering
everywhere we look.

How can we stand it?
How can we manage?

Perhaps by being here, together.
By breathing together.
Perhaps by singing together.
By taking action, together.
Perhaps together we can find our power.

Spirit of Life, when we feel small and helpless
Help us know the great power that is ours
if only we will open ourselves to it

Help us open our hearts and our minds–
help us open our whole beings!–
to the suffering that is here,
so we can meet it with love.

May we be such enormous vessels of love
such enormous channels for love
that neither hatred nor cruelty
can survive in our presence.

May we walk on this earth beaming with love
shining with love
bringing love into every situation we meet.

May we know our shared life
as one opportunity to love after another.

Spirit of life, source of all love:
We thank you for this life that we live.

Blessed be.