A Prayer for All of the Buddy the Elves

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Elf © Warner Home Video.

God of the expanding Christmas season-
Where trees and songs and lights are always in our peripheral view if not directly in front of us-
We recognize all of the people who have a “Buddy the Elf” life. 

They don’t fit in one world or another.  They are outcasts in every context they inhabit-  Some in towns too small and others in cities too large and where neighbors have too little holiday spirit.  They may be in the process of coming acquainted with their new surroundings.

Identity crises have claimed their Buddy-like souls right now.  They begin to question who they are.  Their past makes no sense and their future paths are a mystery.

And even when questions are looming over their heads and hovering from behind, their heart blazes with excitement that is rarely experienced.

They have every reason to be sad or cynical.  Yet optimism is their default setting.

And so we pray our Buddy is loved just as they are.  May our Buddy continue to live with one foot in the real world and another in their glistening utopia.  May our Buddy realize their true gifts of carriers of the Christmas Spirit.

And may their joy infect all of us who may be feeling a bit irritable or discontent in the midst of this season.

Amen.

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Advent Candle Lighting Prayer for Peace

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One: Uneasiness stems from the unrest in our world.  News echoes from our TVs and phones alerting us of turmoil around the globe. From what happens in our communities, schools, and world, it’s often tough to find harmony.

Words between neighbors reflect a dismal connection with fellow children of God.  Bullies in schools, workplaces, and other institutions cloud our once happy souls.

Yet even as we stand in the midst of commotion and even when anxiety stirs within our hearts, God is with us. The buzzing of hatred will not be the final noises we hear as God’s song of serenity will rise above the clamor.

Today we light the candle of peace to remember that harmony will abide.  The turmoil of the outside world and the unrest in our souls will convert to peace that goes beyond all understanding.  The light of peace and hope will transform our world to holy tranquility.

And you will be with us in the peaks and valleys of our journeys, God of Placidness.

Amen.

A Prayer to Stop Second-Guessing

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God who created us with minds, hearts and souls:

Our brain hiccups again and again when remembering a decision we’ve made or thing we’ve said. And the lingering memory of our permanent etchings on the past will not let our minds rest.

And we cannot have a do-over for moments gone by. We cannot recall an opinion given or remove our deeds from the history of the world.

What we said may have been just fine. Our work may have been stellar. Our decisions may have been the best possible choice. But that sinister whisper that comes from a spot of self-doubt continues to spin within us.

Remove that toxic questioning from our beings. Help us to embrace our humanity and remember that even those of us with healthy intentions get caught up in the tangled vines of this earth. Give us the confidence that all that has been said is for the good of the world and, if it wasn’t, that your grace and mercy will smooth over the great mistakes of our mouths and minds.

Amen.

 

Advent Candle Lighting Prayer for Hope

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One: All around us are signs of endings, of limitations, and even of death.
Grief and sadness grasp our souls like never before
And many of us stumble around wondering “What’s next?”

…If there will be a next.

Our path is void of light
Yet while we abide in the shadows
God is with us.
And as we gaze towards the pre-dawn sky-
Towards the birth of a newborn baby, the promised land, and a return from exile-
We see the initial flicker of hope.

Today we light the first advent candle to remember that light will appear in our shadows.  This light will illuminate our way through the wilderness, and we will find renewal on our journeys.  Hope is no longer an illusion but a faint glow of what waits for us.

Amen.

A Prayer for a Hot Mess

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God, who often works best in chaos, here I am – your child – a blessed hot mess.

I carry too many items in my hands, resulting in me dropping things as I walk along my path. Or I stumble into chairs or couches or tables or doors as I carry on my day. I say the wrong things as my mouth becomes a waterfall for wrong terms and awkward jokes. My stole often leans too long on one side or my hair is tucked into my robe. Or my hair falls into my face, and as I fix it, my glasses drop to the ground. And, don’t forget, my desk is swimming in too many papers.

While I would like be the model for grace and move about the earth with every kind of smoothness there is, I have failed spectacularly.

I’m imperfect and incomplete.

But maybe this isn’t failure. Maybe being made in your image means that “hot messes” are ones who shift the world’s trajectory in meaningful ways. Maybe it means that we carry the Holy Spirit’s fires and winds in our passion, and in doing so, our form is a little unconventional.

And so, Creator of Living Art, if possible, make my life smooth. Yet if it isn’t your intentions for my life, let me use my messiness to set the world on a more-loving path. May the fire within me shine a justice-filled light into your world. And may your grace splatter upon all of your creation – including those of us in a sacred state of hot messiness.

Amen.

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Thanksgiving’s Empty Seat

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God, you fill in all spaces and abide in all times, and yet today, once space will feel every kind of void.

Dad’s seat.

There will be feelings and memories and all sorts of things we want to pile onto that seat. We will fill that chair with tears and sighs and our still-stunned hearts.

How could we be here today, God? No. This can’t be…

(There is no other way around it: today will suck.)

But even as our hearts are breaking throughout the day, help us to fill Dad’s plate with delicious memories. May our time together today be one where we embed the joyful Thanksgiving moments of the past into our souls, recalling moments of laughter and creating new mirthful memories.

Amen.

A Prayer in the Face of Misogyny

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God, you’ve seen the way the Bible has twisted the lives of Eve and Vashti and Tamar and Mary Magdalene…

And you see how the stories and images of women are twisted today.

We are tired, Mother God.

We are tired of the b-word and the frequent use of the words “whore” and “slut.” We are tired when people in power obviously work to intimidate us more than the men in our lives. We are tired when we are spoken over or told how we should feel. We are tired when we speak out and not believed. We are tired when our sheroes are attacked with greater fervor than the men who hold power. We are tired wheb being refused jobs because of gender (because, let’s face it, our reproductive organs have nothing to do with our qualifications). We are tired of the shame that comes with being born a daughter of Eve.

We are tired that Mother is not a good enough title for you, God.

We are tired of the little comments made to us or about us that make us feel less than human. We are tired of the larger ways our bodies and our accomplishments are tossed aside or belittled. Our energy is spent in ensuring that humanity sees us with the same dignity as cisgender men. Our sisters of color and our transgender siblings must spend even more of their spirits than we who are white women trying to achieve this dignity.

We are exhausted to hear how we should be grateful for the crumbs that have been scattered for us.

Crumbs are no longer enough. We are more than b*tches and whores and ditzes and witches. We will speak out when our voices are ignored, and we will no longer keep our stories silent.

We are worth every single piece of energy you used to mold us in your image. We are your children and deserve the inheritance of your kin-dom on earth as much as our male siblings.

You stand on the side of justice, and one day we will be equal in the eyes of our neighbors just like we are equal in your eyes.

Amen.

A Prayer When the Computer Crashes

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God who spans the infinite universe, I have this feeling you are rolling your eyes at me while I face my computer woes.

Poverty and illness rage across our planet, and I’m here cursing my crashed computer.

First world problems- right?

And yet, my writing is what keeps my soul engaged in the world. My work is to advocate for a fair universe. Wouldn’t a working computer help such a call?

(I know you are still rolling your eyes at me, God…)

Until I get this computer up and running again, give me serenity in my soul as I want to shout at the evil blank screen. May I find that the world will still revolve, and I will find ways of working until this fallible machine is running again.

(Feel free to keep rolling your eyes at me, God. And, as you do, help me find humor in these glitches.)

Amen.

Lakeside

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This is a poem I wrote in November 2009.

I peer into a lake so deep –
A pool of despair I cannot touch.
I stay on land, the hardened shell.
It’s safe to be on water’s shores
Or so it seems from horror’s view. 
For if I were to leap right in –
Would I drown? Could I swim?
Would I swirl and twirl below
And reach the bottom, never to rise?
And if I were to wade right in,
A toe submerged, and then one more
Until a foot, a leg in deep.
Would I feel the chills beneath?
Wrinkled fingertips, shedding skin.

Yet on this seashore, lakeside day
I stare at ponds of fear once more.
Its waves are threatening those of us
On grounds that seems so steadfast, firm.

Thus I could stand on water’s shores
And find my doom from inertia’s call.
For thinking that this ground’s secure
I’ll find demise in idle’s arms.

I rise on earth, it’s strong below
Yet not for me to stay too long.
I jump towards the sparkling pool –
A pool of fear, I thought before.
My body finds it’s womb below
As water encircles every piece of skin.
Yet, spiraling to bottom not mine.
I rise to top, begin to swim –
The pond is mine! I’ve tamed the tide.

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A Prayer for the Needed Time-Machine

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IMG_5221God who operates beyond time and space, would you mind transforming me back to one year ago this afternoon?

Would you send me back to a time when hope still pushed aside the climate of despair? A time when I didn’t know death’s frigid grasp so well… a time when my body hadn’t yet become companions with various types of pain… a time when we stood on the edge of a possibility which would have brought prosperity for more of my neighbors and a time when hate was not so loud.

Where is this time machine, God? Maybe I would have made some different decisions, spent more time with loved ones, cared for myself in new ways.

I know we cannot travel back, and I know forward through the tunnel is the only path to journey. So give me the peace and strength as the suffocating shadows swallow me as I drive this stretch of road.

And as I reemerge from the tunnels, may your sunlight warm my soul again.

Amen.