Friday’s Passing Fancy/Poem: This World

Not the sea but the salt

not the sand but a grain

not the sky but the blue

not the cloud but the vapor.

Not the tree but the root

not the lilac but a bud

not the cave but a rock

not the lake but the fish.

Not the storm but the brightening

not the mountain but a peak

not the trail but the dirt

not the valley but the meadow.

Not the sickness but the healing

not the grief but the weeping

not the terror but release

not the hunger but the charity.

Not the moment but beyond;

not despair but keeping on;

not the end but regeneration.

…Not ailing world of bruising dark

without a rainbow bursting dawn;

not any street, alley or byway

without your waving at the windows;

nor the ragged thrum of hearts

without holy currents running

a rescue boat with nets and light

to gather and bind our wounds:

not this world but better with

an emergent covenant of care,

and not the blades of discord but

our human voices singing

bless you, amen amen amen

Friday’s Passing Fancies/Poem: Ten Thousand Mercies

Photo by Cynthia Guenther Richardson

All the worldly echoes gathering, rumbling,
layers of razzmatazz donned, deserted
then shed as if one more tawdry mask,
catchy talk illuminating nothing,
feeble promises like love that never starts.

One more day loosed and leaving us,
another night swept past gauze of horizons,
the weighty human heart an interruption
of what matters so little, even less.
We might quell the charade of deception,
harness winds of truth, scatter revelations
unlocked from where a deeper power resides.

Enact one, ten thousand useful mercies,
give out hope we, greedy, have safeguarded;
refine the worth of courage, let it gleam.
Reassemble walls, those ancient errors, redesign,
but first look up, lift higher, keep burning
hallowed lights of freedom, flame of peace.



There is so little in life that cannot yet be held dear, despite this often ruinous world. May we hold close the delicate and transitory moments we are given, make room within our restless souls for everything true and honorable, and every one who needs our kindness, our merciful love. I feel charged to embrace more than I can see or understand. So let me not be the one who cannot give more. Let my life glow inside each moment even–and especially–when darkness descends. Let a drop of light overflow my limits. And then may that glimmering light greet all others and go on, go on and on. Amen.

Prayer as a Boat


??????????What is it about prayer that draws or repels people? There are those who find it as unsubstantiated or irrelevant as the idea that there are other planets supporting life. People scoff at prayer, perhaps think anyone foolish enough to believe in it deserves the result– undoubtedly nothing, the naysayers state. For some it is a critical discipline their faith requires. For others, a spontaneous plea. Many fall back on it when everyday words will not address their need. And others use the very words “prayer” or “praying” as they talk as a sort of protection, to salvage or to inspire, as if it’s very invocation will work the miracles desired. I understand the urge. But prayer goes so much deeper that it can carry us away. Look to the mystics, the holy men and women, and how prayer can shape everything.

If you don’t believe in the path of prayer, then you have stopped reading. If you do or are uncertain perhaps you will let me offer a few more ruminations. It appears those who pray may or may not state belief in Divinity, may not attend a place of worship regularly or at all, and might even deny they are praying when they look as if they are. They explain that they talk to “something”, deep inside their own hearts, their higher minds perhaps, or find a ubiquitous energy experienced within nature’s confounding ways.

Prayer is a vehicle that creates and then carries a language particular to itself. I don’t mean it need always (or ever) retain a certain form or word count. Rather, it can find its own way. It is often imbued with profound feeling, searching questions or even demands. Offered up as a gift or request or a painful need, it is meant to refresh or make a stronger connection to that Other, God, and gain more understanding. Hope when it has been confounded by trials. Clarification of our lives, our paths.

A prayer may be words so often repeated that we have them memorized. It can transfix us, entreat us to go further. It may become wordless, a meditation that moves us into a realm where God seems greatly illumined within and without. A sacred unity. Have you reached for prayer and found yourself emptied of words? We listen better then; we find we know more of the answer than we imagined. We discover that Divine Love absolutely recognizes our thoughts and needs, so praying is becoming present, attuned. Aligning our souls with Spirit, a most natural phenomenon.

I am Christian but I am not writing about specific religious creeds. I came into the world certain of the abiding presence of God. Prayer for me is the language of true, whole living, a bridge that takes us from smallness of self to a greater sense of good. To the infinite source of wisdom and compassion. Without prayer I likely would not have managed to stay afloat during the often perilous voyage through the years. It is an–at least, my–ancient, sturdy boat, the underpinning that holds up my living. It refreshes, instructs and frees me. Heals the sore places and recalibrates parts that are out of sync. Redeems my petty ego with grace. It is a tool God gave us so we would not be alone, no matter what.

Prayer finds me wandering and takes me back home again. I call out and I am answered with unshakeable, encompassing Love. I don’t need every detail for direction. The responses may sometimes mystify me. But I know God knows us. If I welcome God I will understand my own heart, mind and soul more completely.

Prayer will find the words for me when I am seeking truth. All I have to do is open to its gift, the magnitude of connecting to the sacred. And today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I am moved to pray for us all.

Prayer for Us All/Giving Thanks

Let us speak of vividness, the living
who zigzag through days and nights
stunned with self-importance, or
who become brave or transformed,
are found weakened or terrified,
who confront evil with numinous light
or fall under a burden of emptiness.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we find this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.

Let us speak of the everywhere dying,
(our flesh made for bounty yet fragile),
of those who cling to the mad glory of life
or fight to wake as long sleep closes in,
who have no time left to share common joys
yet flare and float within the singing dark.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we keep this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.

Let us speak of myriad souls now gone,
they who gave us form and voice,
who knew the finite, intimate ways
of humankind, or came to believe that
life’s velocity held times of giving, forgiving,
and left a labyrinth of trails to use, recreate.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we share this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.