Prayers for Pastors

a God-shaped mystery (a Trinity Sunday prayer for pastors)

I fear I do not explain You well.

I get the pronouns wrong
when I speak of You;
somehow an “all” creeps in,
suggesting three separate
entities, functions, realities.

The intellectual approach –
(explanations of doctrine,
refutations of heresies,
the specialties of some Internet guy)
feels flat to me:
a demand that truth be granted
and no questions be asked
does not turn a hard concept
into metaphysics, much less poetry.

It seems like a God-shaped mystery
should be felt, not reasoned:
a heavenly triad in three voices;
a sumptuous braid of silk ropes;
a fidget spinner blurred to a circle.

Yet all my analogies fail the test.

Perhaps I am an inevitable heretic,
trying too hard to get it right.

Is it enough to feel awed
by how You loved us into being,
and how You became one of us,
and how You are always on the move?

I hope so.

Amen.

Prayers for Pastors

When You Keep Me Up at Night (a Trinity Sunday prayer for pastors)

When You keep me up at night, I wonder what it’s like to be You, Your Selves, One Self, and whether my middle-of-the-night meanderings are illuminated by You or illuminating to me or simply heretical attempts at understanding who You are and what You have done and who You will be as time unspools.

Do You truly never change? Do You care if I capitalize You? Are the rules humans make, the denominational legislative efforts and the unwritten local practices, are they anything close to an expression of Your will? Your mercy? Your dream for humankind?

Do You lie awake and wonder about me, about us, the way a parent does about a grown child? Are You a Friend, praying for a friend? Do You groan wordless prayers, inexplicit, laden with longing?

In the middle of the night, perhaps, I am not theologically astute, articulate, but I am accompanied. That much I know. And I thank you for it. I thank You for it.

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.

Prayer

Trinity Sunday Prayer

Great Three-in-One,

We bring our prayers to You remembering how small our problems may be in the scheme of things but hoping you will hear how large they are in our hearts.

We pray:

  • For the people we love who are suffering
  • For the heroes who press for change in institutions that exclude
  • For the strangers rebuilding lives after disaster
  • For a world torn by conflict, where attacks happen for no reason and terrible reasons
  • For a deeper understanding of You
  • For the strength to love and act on that love
  • For the energy to be faithful in a time when religion can seem quaint
  • For the determination to be Your people when the label “Christian” doesn’t always sound like who we are and what we believe about You

Dear One-in-Three,

Sometimes we know you best in the wonders of what You have created. Sometimes we know You best in the assurance of your forgiveness. Sometimes we know You best in the whispers inspiring and provoking us to deeper understanding.

We pray:

  • To serve with the gifts You have given us
  • To love with the kind of love You show us
  • To forgive with generous hearts as You have forgiven us
  • To grow in faith, remembering that there is always a next stage to reach

We thank You for all the ways You make Yourself manifest among us:

  • In the beauty of this spring morning
  • In Your comfort when darkness covers us
  • In the life of Jesus, who taught us to pray saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.