Reorient (a prayer for pastors)

File Mar 19, 8 33 20 AMO Holy One
We thank you

For trips that dislocate us
For maps that reorient us
For views we could not have imagined
For voices we never quite heard before

For all travel that leads to you

For armchair journeying in a good book
For podcasters with unfamiliar perspectives
For conversation partners who push us
For prayer that redirects us

For all travel that leads to you

For taking off with all we think matters
For coming home with nothing to show for it
For thirsty work and unexpected meetings
For hurrying back to share the good news

For all travel that leads to you
We thank you

Bleary-eyed (a prayer for pastors)

For bleary-eyed preachers
Clock-lagged, exhausted,
And those wondering if
This church will see another Lent,
And those eager for the view
From the next pulpit,
And those just getting started,
Clear-eyed and expectant,
In your mercy Lord,
Hear our prayer.

For the weary-souled pastors
Grieving dear ones who have died,
And those missing church folk
Who have moved or moved on,
And for those with a long list
Of things that must be done today,
And for those who woke already
Pondering the holy nap,
In your mercy Lord,
Hear our prayer.

For the journeywoman preacher
Leaning on a sustainable sermon,
And the recently ordained with
More to say than time allows,
And the bivocational pastor,
Notes scribbled between clients,
For the brilliant homileticians
To whom it comes so easily –
Yea, verily, even for them –
In your mercy Lord,
Hear our prayer.

When we come down again (a prayer for pastors)

Holy One,

We have been to the high places,
the extreme edges of bliss,
the far reaches of where-to-find-you,
the mind-bending moments of truth,
the spill of something ineffable,
the fragrance of words-can’t-describe.

We have been there,
most of us, once
(or twice – the three-plus
attenders being mystics),
if that. Some
still wait for a trip
to the mountaintop.

We felt
scared
delighted
relieved
faint
perplexed
joyful
unnerved.

We said things,
possibly laughable.

And then it was over.
The moment passed.
The brightness dimmed.
Clothes, faces, sounds
returned to normal.
file-feb-25-8-12-51-pm

I guess You know
we need You even more
when we come down again.

Please, be with us,
down here on the ground,
where we need healing,
and truth-telling,
and a way to make You real
to those who need You most.

Please.

For Christ’s sake. Amen.

I try to be the best (a prayer for pastors)

img_9824Sometimes
I try to be the best
at everything

(if not always)

to prepare the finest sermon
to pray the deepest prayers
to lead with calm confidence

to call down Your Spirit
on the world on the church
as no one ever did before

Sometimes
I try to be the best
at everything

(usually I fail)

to devise the proper approach
to evoke the needed feeling
to illuminate the truth

to bring in Your Commonwealth
of Love single-handed
as if no one else were trying

Sometimes
I try to be the best
at everything

(forgetting there is grace)

to try a new way
to fail miserably
to try again and again

Thank you for that

Amen

Sanctuary (a prayer for pastors)

O Holy God,

It has so many meanings

Sanctuary

A gathering place
A protected space
A safe haven
Holy of holies

There are real needs
There have always been
Yet it feels crucial now
To name them

To define and redefine
The term

Sanctuary

img_9810It cannot be
Privileged
Secluded
Restricted
For members only

Forgive us
When we use it
To withdraw from the world
To put our own safety
First

Then press us to
Create the protected space
Open the safe haven
Allow the gathering place
To let it be yours

Holy of holies

For those who need it
Desperately
Strangers
Wayfarers
Refugees

Today of all days and
Tomorrow and tomorrow

In Christ’s name
Amen

Be salty (a prayer for pastors)

be-salty“Why so salty?”
Our boy asks this all the time,
when adults are hurried, frayed,
unwilling to play a game his way,
focused on something other than him.

I had to look it up,
discover it meant
what I would have guessed:
annoyed, frustrated, even angry.

Of course I have some real things making me salty now.

O God, really, I do.

I’m not alone,
yet aware that many
are late to noticing
how things really are.

We’ve been feeling bowled over, and
we’re getting organized,
but many of us have no track record.

Will we have staying power?
Will we cast a light, or hide ourselves?
Will we be salty,
or is it too late for us
to share your flavor?

Around us and among us,
there will be people who prefer to keep the lights dimmed;
they will say that too much salt is not good for them.

But bland salt will be trampled, don’t let us forget it.

I have to believe
that no matter how late it is,
it is never too late.
I have to believe
You will give us the courage,
the power,
to do what needs to be done,
if we will only take it.

Let us stand up on top of the hill to shine a light where it’s needed,
Let us bring so much salt to the table that everyone will ask, “Why so salty?”

Let us be salty,
for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Resist the powers (a prayer for pastors)

A little child, confused,
a father separated from his family,
a woman waiting for the one she loves,
these ordinary stories,
everyday for many,
have been escalated
by the powers that be.

Lord, what can we do?

We’re expected to speak,
to find a way to talk about Jesus,
and some will say,
do not talk “politics,”
do not tell us these stories
of ordinary people,
of families like ours.

Lord, what can we do?

Some of us left behind
dinner, children, sermons,
to find a way to airports,
to make the kind of noise
that no one can ignore,
pink hat wearers and
pink hat doubters alike.

Lord, what can we do?

img_0060Stop feeling helpless.
Organize your thoughts.
Take action. Speak out.
Claim your authority.
Do not be afraid.
Remember your baptism.
Resist the powers of evil.

Do it all for Christ’s sake,
in Christ’s name.
Amen.