First the Quiet, Then the Dawn

Noli_me_tangere,_fresco_by_Fra_Angelico-1440-1442

Noli Me Tangere, Fra Angelico, 1440-1442

Creator, speak to us of life, and may your
voice be stronger than the noise of our
confusion. Shout, if shout you must, so
loudly that we can’t mistake your
teaching for the rolling thunder,
blasting guns, or animals stampeding,
panicked, running reasonless except to
separate their heaving bodies from the
pandemonium behind them. May we
turn to you and hear an utterance of
life so clear it slices through the clutter
of the evening news, the arguments, the
blame, the words of fear, the hate, the
litany of retribution.

God of Earth and Heaven, we have
seen too much of death. Now we are
ready; we would hear you: Tell us
where to find this life, however near or
far away. Direct us to the distant
forest or the unkempt field where
living seeds—so generously sown yet
carelessly received, so easily displaced by
clumsy feet, so poorly tended, long
neglected, overcome by brash,
aggressive weeds unchecked—have
taken root and thrived in spite of
lassitude, unkindness, or abandonment.

The rain, it seems, is overdue and ends
too soon; the sky too pale, the sun
irresolute or vicious, alternating days;
the earth depleted, soil once dark and
rich with nourishment now turned to
dust. The gardens that in seasons past
have flourished now send up weak,
scattered seedlings, delicate, bug-ridden,
subject to disease and rot.

And then come summer storms that even
oaks and beeches and the hardiest of
shrubs succumb to. How we long for
spring, remembering warm afternoons
and honeybees, industriously pollinating
cherry trees and making golden honey
thick with sweetness. How, we wonder,
did the yield go tough and bitter? What
now shall we eat for strength and
courage, nature having turned against
us, poisoning the harvest, if indeed a
stalk remains for reaping?

Creator, we were not expecting such an
answer as the one alighting like a
feather on a puff of wind… not even
certain you had heard us… not
anticipating anything like peace or
purpose… just a tiny dose of courage,
strength enough for one more midnight.
First the quiet, then the early dawn;
eyes to discern wheat ripe for cutting,
grapes plump on the vine; ears to hear
wagon wheels turning and the soft tread
of workers who appear as the sun clears the
far hills, ready to haul away decaying
branches and dry leaves and bring in the
crop that bursts with life beneath.
Yesterday was meant for sorrow. Now
you call us to the season and the
work at hand—to serve the hungry,
heal the hurting, carry comfort to the
shocked and grieving, stunned by
unimaginable loss. The time for
feasting will be soon enough. Now
you call: Come, labor on.

Amen.

 

I Am Prayer Again

by Rainer Maria Rilke

rainer Maria RilkeI am praying again, Awesome One,
You hear me again as words from the depths rush toward you in wind.
I’ve been scattered in pieces in alleyways.
I sweep myself out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands in wordless beseeching that I may find again the eyes with which I once beheld you.
I am a house gutted by fire where the guilty sometimes sleep before the punishment that devours them hounds them out into the open.
I am a city by the sea, sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself as though someone unknown had poisoned my mother as she carried me.
It’s here in all the pieces of my shame that I now find myself again.
How I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing.
And I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart.
Oh let them take me now.
Into your hands I place these fragments, my life, and you my God spend them however you want.

‘Conscience Is a Jewish Invention’

Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word

V-E Day, painting by Geoff Bennett V-E Day—Artist, Geoff Bennett

Find sample blogs on a gazillion topics atAlpha Inventions

Loss of Innocence

We are the joyous Hitler youth
We do not need any Christian virtue
Our leader is our savior
The Pope and Rabbi shall be gone
We want to be pagans once again….

Fanny, the narrator I, Fanny McElroy

Omigosh! There have got to be things that little girls should not have to know about.

I get as much education sitting on the grass-green steps of Sister Alma Rose’s grass-green wraparound porch, drinking Mr. Truman LaFollette’s incomparable lemonade, than I get at school. More, probably, because at school we get the sanitized versions of things, whereas, usually, nothing but the truth is told on Sister Alma Rose’s porch, and truth is what I heard when Rabbi Feintech and Sister Alma Rose were talking one afternoon, which was May 8, which was the anniversary of V-E Day —…

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Mother God

Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word

Marriage_at_Cana_by_GiottoThe Marriage at Cana, by Giotto

Sister Alma Rose Prays the Rosary and Other Snarfles of Information about Sister Alma Rose

I have decided to be Sister Alma Rose’s Boswell. Please do not snicker, it will make me very cross. Sister Alma Rose is an Exceedingly Remarkable Human Being, and almost everything she does is memorable, probably when she trims her nose hairs it is memorable, although (a) I do not know whether or not Sister Alma Rose has renegade nose hairs, and (b) if she does, I am not present when she trims or plucks or however one extracts nose hairs, and (c) I do not at all like the direction we are going here, enough about nose hairs.

Sister Alma Rose prays to Mary the Mother of Jesus

Rosary Image via Wikipedia

Sister Alma Rose is not a Roman Catholic but she uses the Rosary in prayer…

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In the Garden of My Grace (Hymn)

HieronymusBosch-theGardenOfEarthlyDelights-1503-1504

In the Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, 1503-1504

God Almighty, here beside me,
come and sit with me awhile.
Father-Mother, comfort me,
your cherished and beloved child.
Bring me ease and consolation;
make me glad of who I am.
As you loved me at Creation,
wrap me in that love again.

All I need you have provided.
Fear has faded with the night.
All I ask lies at my feet—
my help, my hope, and my delight.
Not behind the mass of mountain,
hidden high or buried deep,
all I sought is spread around me
like the bright and boundless sea.

All my striving to be better,
all my worry and my fear,
at your word I now surrender
as you whisper in my ear:
Peace, my child; for all is well.
Now dry your tears and lift your face
to the sun, for you are dwelling
in the garden of my grace.

Everything you need for hunger
grows in my eternal fields.
Eat; be filled with joy and wonder,
such as these is Heaven’s yield.
All you need for thirst is given,
with the rain that from above
pours to fill the streams and rivers.
Drink of it, and drink of love.

All your sins are long forgiven,
and your innocence restored,
as you were, made in my image,
on the day that you were born.
Seek and you will surely find your
dreams; the stars will light your way;
gentle lessons will remind you
what is needed for today.

Celebrate and weep no more.
As I have given, freely give.
Life and death I set before you
now. Choose life. Choose love, and live.
Peace, my child; for all is well.
Now dry your tears and lift your face
to the sun, for you are dwelling
in the garden of my grace.

Amen.

____________

from Annagrammatica’s Little Book of Prayer

Morning Ritual

Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word

Getting Ready from the Inside Out

exhausted_mom_istockQ. Dear Sister Alma Rose — I am a faithful reader of Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word, and you have convinced me of the importance of frequent prayer and meditation; but I am having trouble finding the time! It is always rush-rush-rush in the morning and rush-rush-rush in the evening, and, by the time the children are asleep, I’m wiped out. Can you give me some advice? — Signed, Pooped in Ponca City

A. Dear Pooped — Even if you have time during your work day to meditate, which Sister Alma Rose is intuiting you haven’t got on account of it looks like your modus operandi is rush-rush-rush (but in any event, see Sister Alma Rose’s Lunchtime Meditation and Sister Alma Rose’s Walking Meditation featuring Fats Domino), it is always a good idea to start the day with prayer…

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Sister Alma Rose’s Prayer for a Time of Sadness

Sister Alma Rose Has the Last Word

Great God, Redeemer, Our Shelter in Joy and Sadness — I read today that “sadness is a is a cleanser, a clearing, a healthy rain needed in every emotional climate…. Rejoice in the rains… of sadness. See it as part of the larger cycles. But be careful when the snake of sadness feeds upon itself, resulting in a stuck or escalating sadness that feels like emotional quicksand.” (Bradford Keeney, Shamanic Christianity, on spiritualityandpractice.com)

People bring their sadness to me. They want me to take it away. They say, “Sister Alma Rose, y’all seem happy all the time. Tell me your secret.”

O God, you know how wrong they are. I tell them, “I am not happy all the time. Who could be happy all the time when there is suffering all around? I serve where I can, I pray where I can’t.”

Sometimes I am sad. Never do I…

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What a Stream Can Do

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes we are called to be with you—
called just when the sun is rising, first light
caught and let go at the bend in the river—
at the slow bend in the Niobrara River.
Look at the glory that rolls in the ripples of river.
What a story they have for our ears! “All is well,”
they assure us—and they have seen it all.
Haven’t they seen what a stream of deep
water can do, rolling on and on and on, serene
in the certainty this is its reason for being
on earth: rolling in glorious ease of divinity
from the beginning as it was created for?
They have seen what a stream can do.

We are called to walk alongside you
when we are afraid. We are called to lift
our brown wings as we have seen the
strong angels do, and fly with you.

Sometimes it seems, however long we try,
however hard, we can’t find you in the
old cities with our old eyes. Then a light
like a flame enters our vision—
Now we are not afraid.
You take our pain away, now and tomorrow,
even the agony of yesterday’s…
yesterday’s sorrow is carried away, to vanish
forever at the bend in the river.

Where we believed we were powerless,
now is revealed a perpetual current of grace.
What seemed timid there now shows its face.
Gone is our weakness. This is our hour!
Thank you, God of everything. Alleluia.
All creation, every gift we bring back
to you, who gave it in the beginning.

Sometimes we are called to sit with you—
called to sit and burn a candle in the evening,
called to give you all our old pain, to be
taken away by the Niobrara River.
See the glory in the ripples of river. What a
story they have to tell: “All is well,” they say—
Haven’t they seen it all?
Haven’t they seen what a stream can do
as it rolls on and on, calm in the certainty
this is what it was created
to do?

Sometimes we are called to receive your blessing
in the middle of an afternoon.
Sometimes we are called to lift our wings as the
angels do, and fly with you.
Sometimes you give us a glimpse of bright
places we sometimes call Heaven;
then you remind us we need not have waited—
it was there all along. It was not hidden.
You did not take it away. Did we wait too long?

You once accepted our pain—once and forever,
what was humility turned into beautiful strength
for the weariness, rest for the feet that need not
have walked on so far;
purpose and energy for adoration—what a
glorious day you have
made.

Gone is the pain of the injured;
gone the despair of affliction;
gone is the fever, strong are the sick who
yesterday lay in their beds;
all our distresses, made plain before us,
taken away by the Niobrara River.
Gone is our weakness. This is our hour!
Thank you, O God of everything.
Alleluia! Amen.
_____________

From Annagrammatica’s Little Book of Prayer

A Morning Prayer

birds-284aPrayer by Nylse Esahc, from https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/a-daily-morning-prayer.html

In the morning, O Lord, I will direct my song and my prayer unto You and will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

Good morning Lord! This is the day that you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. With gratitude, I thank you for preserving my life for one more day. With gratitude, I thank you for your ultimate gift of love for me, in the form of your son and the sacrifice of his life on my behalf. Because of this overwhelming gift that I often cannot comprehend, I humbly submit to you. I know Lord, that I am a mere human and cannot instruct you, but you can instruct me. So teach me your ways that I may rely on your faithfulness. Teach us to number our days and to use our time wisely.

I don’t know what this day holds, but I know that you hold the day. It was you that laid the foundations of the Earth and therefore understand every part of it. I know that you keep the sun in the sky, the stars in place, and have created this Earth for me to inhabit and enjoy.

Throughout this day, may I be keenly aware of your presence in everything I do—as I commute to work, drop children off at school, keep house and speak with my neighbors. May my life be a living example and may others see Christ in me. There are many who are hurting in this world—may I be a salve to someone today Lord, in a way that I can’t even imagine. May my words be seasoned with salt and minister grace to all that hear. May my actions be aligned with your Word.

I pray for wisdom that is peaceable, gentle, and approachable, with lots of mercy and fairness. You said an unlimited supply of wisdom is available to me if I simply ask, so I pray for wisdom to know how to deal with the many people and situations that will cross my path.

I pray for protection throughout this day; protect me from harm and evil; go before me, to the left and right of me and behind me. Order my steps so that I walk worthy of your calling throughout this day. May I be attuned to your promptings—whether they show up as a gentle tug or a strong conviction.

I pray for reconciliation in families, in nations and to you. I pray that all may come to know you and be reconciled to You.

Lord, you know my faults and my flaws—forgive me for being unkind with my words and my thoughts; forgive me for being self-serving; forgive me for holding on to old wounds instead of giving them to you. Forgive me, Lord.

When I am overwhelmed, confused, unsure, and restless, help me run to your Word. May your Word come alive to me so that it is a living guide in every situation. Help me, Lord, to remember the promises of your Word and bring the right passage to my remembrance. I acknowledge that I need to spend more time with you reading and praying so that I am prepared for whatever the day brings. Lord, I know that your Word is indeed a light unto my feet and a light unto my path.

Remove fear and anxiety. As believers we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. So when we are fearful, may we remember your love for us and use that love as the impetus to love others and see situations differently; may we tap into the power that you have given us—for we are never alone; you have not left us comfortless. May your wisdom be the underpinnings for our sound minds. May we remember that we don’t have to be anxious, and when we are tempted to be anxious or worried, may we verbalize our concerns to you and then leave them there as you instructed us. Our worry does us no good and limits us, and you do more with our worry than we ever could. So help us to turn all of our anxious thoughts and worrisome situations over to you; to truly do that and trust that you are working all things together for our good because you love us; that you are working in ways that we cannot comprehend because your ways are greater than ours; and that in this working you are molding us continually into masterpieces fit for your use.

As a child of yours, Lord, I know that I am your masterpiece though I feel so far from it. Help me to remember my worth in you when I’m faced with challenging situations. When I feel depressed, help me to remember that I’m wonderfully made in your image—a replica of you—and that you loved me so much you thought that I was worth dying for….

For the unseen, Lord, thank you. You are beyond understanding, you are abundant, you are mine, and I am yours. I submit all to you today. Amen.

———————-

Nylse is a Christian wife and a mother who can be contacted via email at nylse.esahc@gmail.com.

On Greatness

SwiftRiverConway

Swift River Bridge (1869) over Swift RiverConway, New Hampshire. Photo by Ken Gallager, April 2005

We could be satisfied with getting through
the day and chasing our responsibilities,
find momentary happiness in marking our
achievements on a checklist. We could run
alongside life, like trying to keep pace with a
swift river, never bold enough to dive in.
Or we could set our sights on greatness.
Let us find that place within that chafes at
limitations, breaks their bonds, and leaps
beyond them. What gifts are ours, what
passions, longings? What pain persists in
claiming our attention? Where does our
bliss meet the needs of a waiting world?
Take us, lift us, Father-Mother, to that place.

Amen.