Almighty God, there is great pain and perplexity in Tennessee and throughout our nation, as six children have died, dozens of others are injured, and a bus driver is charged with homicide and other crimes. God, we pray for the hurt and the bereaved in the aftermath of the November 21 crash in Chattanooga. Merciful Creator, may your Holy Spirit dwell with the grieving, so that sadness does not turn to hate or hopelessness. Instill in them the assurance that the children who died are at this very moment with you in eternal life and glory. Infuse the injured children with your almighty power. Heal their wounds and bathe their spirits in hope and comfort. Guide the medical personnel—doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians—so that their hands are healing hands, their minds are clear, and their hearts are wise. Unite the community in holy purpose of support and compassion. For those friends and family members who are angry, confused, or despairing, shine your light into their darkness, God, and make your presence known. Open their hearts to one another so that emotional wounds are not aggravated but rather treated tenderly and given mercy and sustenance. Send all assistance needed without delay, dear God. Summon those of us who can contribute in any way; and enter the heart of the bus driver, God—may it be a humble and contrite heart. Comfort and encourage his friends and family members who are in pain. May truth and wisdom prevail. Out of this tragedy, God, may wonders upon wonders be manifest and your name be glorified, and may peace be victorious and love shine more brightly than all the stars in all the galaxies. Amen.
Sister Alma Rose Becomes a Ray of Sunlight
Source of Light and Life, may I be a sunbeam to shine for you today. Amen
Photo: Luc Viatour
This prayer-meditation is best done lying down. Sister Alma Rose always prefers to meditate lying down, though for some types of meditation it’s better to sit up. Unfortunately.
Do this meditation first thing in the morning, if y’all are not in a rush; or when you need a breather during the day; or at bedtime. What matters is that you have undisturbed solitude and time—ten minutes or more. Y’all can practice this meditation for as long as you like.
Play some lovely, light, floaty, instrumental music. (There’s hours and hours of meditation music at LifeIsPoetry.net. Click on “Meditation” in the navigation bar.) You don’t want nobody singing in y’all’s ear. You don’t want “Maple Leaf Rag” or “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Y’all want violins and flutes and oboes, or a nice, smooth solo piano. Music you can fly on.
Relax. Use any relaxation technique y’all like. (Try Susan Piver’s “Breath Awareness” meditation.) Or just breathe comfortably and easily, and simply melt into the bed or floor. Start with your toes and feel them turn to warm butter, and work your way up through your bones to the top of your head (don’t forget your fingers and arms), until your entire body feels warm and soft.
With your eyes closed and your body loose and relaxed, feel yourself standing near the edge of a cliff by the ocean, facing west, just when the sun is starting to go down. Feel a soft, warm breeze at your back.
Now here’s what’s important. Don’t y’all just imagine yourself on the cliff with the breeze at your back. Be there. Place yourself there. Feel the wind.
As the sun sinks into the horizon, watch the sky turn from blue to lavender to a dusky pink—soft, like fluffy cotton. Lean forward, slowly, until the breeze picks you up and bears you easily, like a leaf, into the glowing cloud.
Y’all are floating through the cloud of pink light. It warms you through, and penetrates your pores and bones and every single cell until y’all are the light, and the wind carries away your pain. Swim in that pink cloud as long as you like. Make it a long, warm, healing bath. When you become the light, you won’t need the wind any more.
You emerge from the pink cloud with the dawn, and y’all are white light, all pure, just glowin’ holiness. There’s no hurry. Time is suspended. Y’all can play in the stratosphere—dancing, whirling, diving, turning to the music. You are the sunrise—maybe you are soft, like a kiss; or strong, like an angel; or spinning, like a pixie or a star.
You are pure, cleansing, loving energy. Go to those you want to bless, and shine on them, gently—not to awaken them, but to brush them with peace and healing. Embrace them in soft light. Stroke their hair, kiss their cheeks. Be the prayer and the answer to the prayer.
Go to the children, the old folk, the brothers and sisters, the fighting, the dying, the mourning ones. Shine on whole cities, on the planet; go to all the universes, and bless them.
Then, as fresh and clear as when y’all began, rejoin the soft predawn pastels, forerunners of the sun. Merge with the light until the breeze returns and carries you home.
Lay your body down and close your
eyes and float upon the wind till you can
hardly sense your skin and bones, then
leap into the river of the setting sun, and
slip and slide among the underwater
creatures in the silver-current-liquid
light, and let it rain in every pore and
cell and carry off your pain. Somewhere
downstream, you surface and it’s sunrise
there; it lifts you, and your shell is left
behind, you’re perfect radiance, the
first and bravest sunbeam of the day, a
swift, bright angel, or a spinning star, and
you do pirouettes in space, because you
can, not having any weight, and fearless. Go
now to the ones you love and pray for, sleeping
still, embrace them with new-morning-shine;
deep they rest, and in their dreaming all is
well, and they awaken clean and blessed.
For prayer requests, or to pray for others, go to LifeIsPoetry.net and click on “Prayer Community” in the lower left-hand corner.