Prayer, Thanksgiving

cornucopia

what riches!
so many things we can buy,
dream about,
wish to receive,
worship

our cornucopia is overfull
(our landfill)
with iPads and Xboxes
programmable coffeemakers
refrigerators with TV screens
we can’t count them all

our shelter is overfull
with men and women
veterans, children
hungry, cold–
can we see them?

Prayers for Pastors

In Search Of (a prayer for pastors)

Lord,

The other day we seized
Three hours, almost four,
And drove out of town
Down curving roads
And over hills
In search of barns
That might contain

Wouldn't that be pretty?
Wouldn’t that be pretty?

An elusive ladder
For use as a holder
Of Christmas lights
And eventually stockings
(I saw it on Pinterest)
But instead we found
A shoulder bag made of
Recycled truck tires,
Sufficient to hold
File folders and a hymnal,
A bit of a goose chase,
But it was so good,
A preacher’s half-Sabbath.

For the rest of the week
Was also good, but long,
With bumps in the road
And unexpected traffic
And surprising signs
Along the way pointing
To your presence.

You were there
In the stories told
Over lunch at church
At hospital bedsides
Or mid-night waiting rooms,
In the struggle to compose
Prayers and sermons
Worthy of the moment
Acknowledging reality
Yet offering hope,
In the brave testimony
Of the soon-to-be bereaved
And the often disappointed
Who nevertheless follow you.

Bless the words
We write and speak
Of Kings and Goats
Of calls to serve
Of prophecies unwelcome
And thanks for all the ways
You appear in the rooms
And along the roads
Of our lives,
Sitting across the room,
Visible around the bend,
Odd monarch,
Old friend:

All places contain you.
We pray “Be with us”
And you are.
We thank you for that. Amen.

Photos, Thanksgiving

Ten Rules of Thanksgiving

The first rule of Thanksgiving: when roasting chestnuts in the oven, set the timer, or you may have explosions.

The second rule of Thanksgiving: at 7:30 on Thanksgiving Eve, Trader Joe's has no more pie crusts, not even in the freezer. Don't wait for the guy who claims they have some.

Thanksgiving 001 The third rule of Thanksgiving: you cannot make a homemade crust if you don't seem to own a pie plate anymore; make the best of it with the graham cracker crust and the gluten-free crust you already bought earlier in the week, for heaven's sake.

The fourth rule of Thanksgiving: when it's a small family group eating at your house, and the turkey weighs only 13 pounds, it's okay to sleep until almost 8.

The fifth rule of Thanksgiving: if you have to give your assistant chefs advice on following a box mix for coffee cake, you may be in trouble.

The sixth rule of Thanksgiving: after the turkey is in the oven, introduce your younger children to the original "King Tut," because they just don't know enough yet about Steve Martin.

Thanksgiving 021 The seventh rule of Thanksgiving: stop opening the oven to baste the turkey!!! You lose heat!!! (#1 Son looked it up on the Internet. Leave the bird alone until about half an hour before it's due to be fully roasted.)

The eighth rule of Thanksgiving: any televised dog show that skips over the friendly Berner is no dog show at all.

The ninth rule of Thanksgiving: take a more careful look at the oven temperature before walking away from the turkey. Still hoping for the best.

The tenth rule of Thanksgiving: listen to Ella when she sings, "You're sublime; you're a turkey dinner."