The Change That Is Our Life

Spirit of Life, moving source of all we know,
Summer begins now to draw to a close:
the unrelenting heat has subsided,
a cool breeze sings in the trees,
and the smoke is giving way to blue sky.
Change is in the air.

Some change is catastrophic:
illness and divorce and death,
fire and war and storm.

Other change is ordinary
and yet no less enormous in our hearts:
children beginning kindergarten,
teens beginning high school,
young adults fledging the nest.

Even as parents give thanks
that their children are making these beginnings,
they also sob for the times that are ending,
for their fears of what their children may face,
and for the beauty of the whole that is unfolding.

This is what it means to be alive
on this small blue planet
orbiting an ordinary star
in a spiral galaxy
in this vast expanding universe:
Change is the one thing
of which we can be
absolutely certain.

Spirit of Life, Source of all change:
Help us know that
whatever change we are experiencing,
whether catastrophic or ordinary
or somewhere in between,
You are with us.
Your love and your presence
they comfort us.
You are the whole
of which we are the parts
and we can never fall outside
of Your love.

Blessed be.

Be Like The River

Spirit of Life, source of all love,
this is my prayer today:

It is high summer and the air is hot and still
dry leaves crackle overhead
and cicadas buzz in my ears.
Fires rage out of control in the mountains
and cruelty rages out of control in the nation.
I weep with anger and with sorrow.

In times such as these
let me go down to the river.
The water is a blessing
so cool and clear,
so delicious on my skin,
I can let go of all I carry
and let the water hold me
and soothe me
and wash away my tears.

The river slides over rocks,
sculpting them as it goes:
all in its path is made more beautiful.
If the rocks stand in its way
it finds another way
under or over or around or through:
it will not be stopped.

The river will not be stopped.

Spirit of Life,
Help me be like the river.
Help me be a blessing
that soothes away pain
Help me be a coolness and a clarity
that dissolve cruelty and hatred.
Help me join with others
to become unstoppable.

Help our love change
all whom we touch.

Help us be like the river.

Amen.  Blessed be.

Summer Moves


Since I began this venture more than two years ago, I have had a new writing for you nearly every week.  Occasionally I miss a week because of unforeseen circumstances, and occasionally I re-publish something because it fits the season so well, but I have written over a hundred poems, prayers, and meditations just for you.  A few of you have told me that these writings are very meaningful to you, and I am glad.

I am now making an enormous transition:  from full-time community ministry working from home in Grass Valley, CA, to 3/4 time parish ministry in Napa, CA, two hours away.  I will be renting an apartment (at the top of a little barn in the middle of a meadow) in Napa, and commuting back to Grass Valley every fourth week.

While I make this transition, I will need to take some time away from writing.  For the next two months, I will re-publish older poems, prayers, and meditations–so you will still receive something in your inbox each week.  I will return to writing new material in September, unless something even more terrible or beautiful happens than has happened before, in which case I will respond with a new prayer.

In the meantime, please make a donation to help me keep the website up and running.  It costs several hundred dollars each year to maintain.  This has been my gift to the world–to you in particular–but I need your help to keep it going.

Please know that wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I am holding you in my heart.  Whatever happens in the world this summer–and who knows what that might be, given all that has happened in the last couple of years–I am thinking of you and processing it all right along with you.

Let us not let world events crush us.  Let us love the summer fruit and the long hot days and the cold rivers and the cricket song and the happy shouts of children as much as ever, even as we do everything we humanly can to get the concentration camps closed and the children reunited with their parents.  Our joy in life is what feeds our work for justice.

May your summer be filled with blessings.

Rev. Leisa



Resting in the Beauty of the World

Spirit of Life, Mystery beyond Mystery:

The wheel of the year has turned again
and now we welcome young Summer.

Change is all around us and within us,
the pace faster and faster and faster.
We are called upon to keep up with events
each more horrifying than the last
coming at us with dizzying speed.

When it all becomes too much,
when we feel we can’t keep up,
and there is not enough water in our bodies
to make any more tears,
may we rest in the beauty of the world.

May we love the long hot blue and gold days
and the thundery cloudy rainy days.

May we love the cold clear water of the river
and the fragrance of oaks and pines on the hillsides,
the taste of cherries and apricots,
and the songs of frogs at night,
the face of the person to our left,
and the face of the person to our right.

May we love them all the more knowing
we are all ephemeral parts
of one great living breathing
changing shining whole,
whose nature is love.

May we rest, always, in that love.

Blessed be.

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.


Fourth of July Prayer

Spirit of Life, mystery beyond all understanding:

Now the clear waters of the lakes
become warm enough to swim in.
Now insects swarm in the evenings
and frogs sing all night.
Early summer has arrived.

Our nation celebrates its birth
and also its highest values:
that all people are created equal;
that all have the right to life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.

High values indeed… if we could only live them.

Spirit of Life,
help us live these truths,
which we hold to be self-evident:

that another’s sorrow is my sorrow
that another’s joy is my joy.
that none can be happy at the expense of others.
that each can be happy only when all are happy.
that each is free only when all are free.
that our lives are held together in one greater life:
that of our whole blue-green planet.

Help us live these truths.
We thank you for our lives.

Blessed Be.

Prayer at Summer Solstice

Spirit of Life, Source of all Being:

We stand on the edge of the Summer Solstice,
the longest day of the year,
the time when the earth’s tilt brings us
closest to the sun.

It is the time of most promise,
the most lush growth—
and yet also the time
when daylight begins receding.

Both at once,
both splendor and loss at once.

This is how it is here
on this beautiful blue-green ball
hurtling through the vastness of space.

There is great joy here.
There is terrible pain here.
And with it all,
there are moments
of illumination and grace.

May we be thankful for all of it
for in better and in worse
this is where we belong.

Here on Earth is where we belong.

Blessed be.

Prayer at Summer’s End

Great spirit of life,
mystery beyond mystery:

The wheel of the year is turning
and the days begin to grow noticeably shorter.
The great waters begin to cool
and waves stir in the wind.
It is the end of one season of life
and the beginning of another.

What experiences did we store up
in our hearts this summer?
What new things did we learn?
What joys will we keep with us
as the earth moves in its orbit around the sun
and the days grow shorter still?

What flowers did we see?
What fruits did we taste?
Whose beloved faces did we kiss,
whose arms did we enter?

If there were many,
may we be thankful
for the abundance of our lives.

If there were none,
may we know that here, in this place,
love and joy abound.
May we have the courage to partake of them.

Blessed be.

Young Summer

Spirit of Life, Mystery beyond Mystery:

The wheel of the year has turned again
and now we welcome young Summer.

Change is all around us and within us.
Friends and loved ones are on the move:
some are arriving, some are leaving;
some are ill, others recovering;
some are altogether gone.

When change becomes wearying,
when we feel we can’t keep up,
may we rest in the beauty of the world.

May we love the long blue days
and the warm rainy days.

May we love the red cardinal
and the green ferns,
the fragrance of roses
and the taste of fresh strawberries,
the face of the person to our right
and the face of the person to our left.

May we love them all the more knowing
we and they are all ephemeral parts
of one great living breathing changing whole.

May we rest in that whole,
knowing how greatly we are loved.

Blessed be.