Lent

What I Mean to Pray

mocha_smallIt seems a little self-defeating for pastors to give up something habitual or take on something extra during Lent. My Lenten fails far out-number my Lenten successes. Even when I accomplish the goal, as in the year this confirmed mocha drinker gave up chocolate in her coffee, there are repercussions. My children begged me never to do that again. It’s hard to say how a cranky mom did much for her relationship with God or her children.

This year, when I have just layered the work for a coaching class on top of two half-time jobs and a further vocation of writing that I squeeze in where I can. Recognizing that it would not be uncomplicated, I committed to make space for writing each day.

(I hope this counts.)

The truth, however, is that 1/2 + 1/2 + a class with weekly work + family = already a lot of things even without including some basic life tasks like laundry or the things that keep me going like a little knitting here or the occasional DVRed episode of Downton Abbey or Fixer Upper for those times when I am too tired to pick up the needles in the evening.

Today I spent some time during a walk with my spouse and my dog questioning how I can be called to any more things. I was admittedly multi-tasking, squeezing in relationship time, dog time, fresh air time. Each of those things is good, but I feel like I left my thoughts scattered along our mile route, discarded on the snow like the stick our pup decides he doesn’t want after all.

Which is why it matters to make the space. When I write, I have to complete the thought. If it doesn’t feel right, I work on it until I know what I mean to say. I put it all in front of the Great Reader, until I know what I mean to pray.

*****

(Originally shared via the RevGals Weekly e-Reader. You can subscribe at the link.)

Prayers for Pastors, Transfiguration

Transfiguration (a prayer for pastors)

St. Pete Beach Sunset
St. Pete Beach Sunset

I’ll admit it, Holy One.

I struggle with this story.
I struggle with it,
and what it means.
I definitely struggle with
how to preach it,
year in, year out.
I grapple with the idea
not of what light once was
but of what we have made it,
not a gift from you to help us see,
or a means of sorting out order from chaos,
but as a badge of superiority,
an ID of supremacy.
It’s more than a metaphor now;
we have given it literal power.
A brown man with his brown friends
climbed a mountain,
saw historic figures
and recognized them,
suddenly looked brighter,
with clothes whiter than bleach
could make them,
and I could argue for
a spotlight effect
or something,
but in truth,
we’ve made the narrative
of light v. darkness
so sick,
it’s hard to do.
Yet it seems to be true
that your light
wherever it shines
puts things in focus
makes us able to see
better, even clearly,
for the first time
what matters.
In this season
of argument and fear,
help us to see
better, even clearly,
what matters now
(what always matters):
safety from violence
enough to eat
clean water
for all children
for all people
wherever they live.
Prayers for Pastors

Dog-lover, Knitter, Baseball Fan (a Trinity Sunday prayer for pastors)

One of these things is not the other, but all are one.
One of these things is not the other, but all are one.

Dear God,
Dear Jesus,
Dear Holy Spirit –

I have a sense of You:
One and Three,
but sometimes more Two,
or None-of-the-Above.

How to explain it?

I use a construction
invented by others:

Creator
Redeemer
Sustainer

I hope it suffices.

I seek time to wonder,
to ponder,
but my own roles
complicate things.

Wife
Mother
Pastor

Writer
Friend
Dreamer

Dog-lover
Knitter
Baseball Fan

Each has its modes,
its complications,
its subordinate clauses.

Dear God,
Dear Jesus,
Dear Holy Spirit –

You are

Creator
Parent
Maker
Originator
Generator
Designer

Redeemer
Savior
Shepherd
Lamb
Teacher
Friend

Sustainer
Wind
Fire
Inspirer
Instigator
Provocateur

Dear God,
Dear Jesus,
Dear Holy Spirit –

Help me say things
that communicate You,
all Three, yet One. Amen.