Sunday, September 20, 2015

Psalm 92

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill

It is good to give thanks you to You,
O Beloved,
to sing praises to your Holy Name,
To affirm your steadfast love
in the morning,
and your faithfulness through the night.
To the music of the spheres,
to the melody of the universe.
For you, Heart of my heart, gladden
my soul,
as I proclaim with joy the harmony
and beauty of creation.  

It is indeed good to give thanks with all of you.  I must pause my emails for a few days as I finish up September's ministry with SpiritCare and prepare for a few days off with Tyler.  I turn 63 this week so this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver seems a fitting gift.  Let us dare to celebrate the beauty of this world.  Such outrageous love is very much needed. 
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird- equal seekers of sweetness.
Here is the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.  Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still, learning to be astonished .
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and heart and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug up clams, telling them all ,over and over, how it is that we live forever.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Psalm 91

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Those who dwell in the shelter of
Infinite Light,
who abide in the wings of
Infinite Love,
Will raise their voices in praise:
"My refuge and my strength;
In You alone will I trust."
Lately I have been reminded that often when people ask me to pray for them, they cannot, or may not want to express exactly what their concerns are.  I am fine with that.  Sometimes, I think people just want to hold a hand and hear a prayer lifted just for them.  Sometimes, the ill or the very frail simply want some assurance that their waning voices can still be heard.  God does not necessarily need to me to understand.  That is God's realm.  God simply asks me to simply hold on. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Psalm 90

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
O, that we might be converted
in our hearts
and walk together in peace and harmony.
Let your Word be known to the nations,
your Glory to our children's children.
Let the grace and gentleness of the
Holy Spirit be upon us,
guiding our feet upon paths of Love.
Increase the Light within us -
O Beloved, hear our prayer.

Psalm 89

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Through you we are born anew,
the Spirit of Truth comes to us.
Your enduring love is with us forever,
and your Covenant stands firm
throughout eternity.
We will know You as Loving Companion
Presence now
and in the life to come. 
A few days ago, as I was leaving a home dedicated to the care of those with Alzheimer's, I noticed this vine that was growing outside the front door.  It was overcast that morning, and breezy. I paused and watched the blossoms move in the wind.  I marveled that the fragile blossoms stayed on the vine.  In that moment, I felt touched by eternity.  That no matter what, we belong. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Psalm 88

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill

Let your Love encircle and envelope me,
in your mercy raise me up.
Let peace become my companion all day long;
by night free me from the bonds of fear.
Let me be reconciled with family and
friends; and may I know You
as Loving Companion Presence
as in days of old.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Psalm 87

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
In the heavenly realm stands 
the City of Light;
the Beloved welcomes all
who comes to the gate,
all who have surrendered themselves
to Love.
Glories await you within the citadel,
within the City of Light. 
Among those who enter
are the humble and kind,
those who reflect peace and
radiate integrity,
those who have faced darkness
with Love by their side.    
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:7


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Psalm 86

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
Be present to me and receive my prayer;
imbue me with strength, and
help me to release each fear.
Pour forth your Light into my soul,
that all that is hidden in darkness
may come forth in awareness.
For You, O Beloved, are my Redeemer
and my Comforter. 

Psalm 85

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill   
Wisdom will spring up from the ground
and truth will look down from the sky.
Yes, the Eternal Giver will grant
what is good,
and the lands will yield abundantly.
Mercy and compassion are Love's way,
and will guide our footsteps
upon the path of peace. 
The weather has cooled and I was grateful to spend a little time in the garden yesterday afternoon.  I have much to do as we continue to make the change from a yard model to a garden.  However, yesterday I was accompanied by a butterfly, a bee, two grasshoppers, and two golden orb spiders.  Unfortunately, I did not get a close look at the bee, but I do not think it was honey bee, so I am hopeful that it was a native bee.  My plan to is plant more California natives to attract native bees. The cherry tomato plant is down to two tiny green tomatoes.  While we certainly could not have fed a family of four off that plant, we enjoyed a fairly steady harvest of sweet, golden tomatoes.  I let the basil flower, and I know at least one bee was happy with that.  The lavender is about to bloom. To say that this is a modest endeavor is quite the understatement.  The mail carrier came by as I was doing some pruning.  I think he was a bit underwhelmed by it all, but he did smile.  I apologized to the grasshoppers as I caught my breath and dispatched them by hand. They are now part of the soil.     
I am part of an effort here in San Leandro to bring awareness about the need to think of our yards as gardens.  Even if the only thing we ever did was to stop using pesticides, and plant some herbs like borage, lavender, basil, and rosemary, those steps would actually be great strides.   Our cooking might improve as well!  
May you find peace in your garden today.   So much of the world is on the run from war, storms, famine, disease, and despair.  A modest garden is heaven indeed, and I give thanks.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Psalm 84

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
For a day within the Heart of Love
is more to be desired than
a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a servant 
in your dwelling place,
than live in riches among
those who do not know Love.
For the Beloved is as radiant as the sun,
as strong as a steel shield,
and invites each one to come,
to partake of the Banquet.
Who will seek for spiritual treasure?
O Loving Creator of the universe,
blessed are all who put their
trust in You.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Psalm 83

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Clothe us in the dress of your peace,
and in the stronghold of your mercy,
that we might bear the power of Love;
Let us walk in shoes of integrity,
and don the mantel of truth.
Let us shed the tatters of envy and fear,
the rags of anger and greed,
and say, "We shall seek only the Truth,
which will set us free."    

Dedicated to my friend, Rev. Masaaki Shibano who holds vigil as 30,000 people in Japan flee their homes.  May all survivors and refugees in our world find peace, safety, and shelter tonight.  Holy God, please, a special prayer for the children who are carried through the storms of this world.  May they be held and fed.  May their feet be planted on holy ground.   

Psalm 82

Psalms for Praying 
Nan C. Merrill  
Arise! Awaken to the new dawn.
Come into the Light, shed darkness
like skin on the snake.
The foundations of the cosmos
are shaking with injustice.
I say, "Within you is the Beloved,
the Breath of your breath;
Open your heart in the silence and
know the One in the many."
Arise! Join the in the new creation.
Let harmony reign 
among all the nations.    

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Psalm 81

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
I hear a Voice I have come to know;
"I relieve your shoulder of the burden;
your spirit is free to create.
In distress when you call,
I come to you;
I answer you in the secret place 
of your heart;
I invite you to the grace of forgiveness.
Hear O my people, while I caution you.
O, dear friends, if you would but listen.
Do not make of riches and ambition a
powerful god;
do not be puffed up with pride and arrogance.
I am your very breath;
I have been with you from the beginning.
Open your heart wide, and I shall fill it.
I would satisfy your hunger,
and with streams of Living Water,
you would live in the joy
of heaven on earth."        

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Psalm 80

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill   
Restore us, O Holy One.
Let your face shine upon us,
teach us to love.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Psalm 79

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
O Merciful Presence, the ignorant seem
unrestrained in the world;
they defile the Holy Temple, your
dwelling place within;
they leave those weaker than themselves
in ruins.   
Chaos and destruction follow them, as
they oppress the poor through
deception and greed, and
kill the faith-filled who resist.
Yes, they have poured out their blood
like water throughout the world;
may have disappeared without a trace.
How long will the unjust bring anguish
to the loving, to those
who seek justice and peace?  
Let the cries of the victims of injustice
come before You;
according to your great Power,
break the bonds of oppression! 
Let all that has been garnered through greed
be returned in full measure with open hands.
Then we your people, those who would 
companion with You,
will give thanks to You forever;
from generation to generation we will 
abandon ourselves into your hands
with grace-filled open hearts.     
On Sunday, I filled in for a pastor who was out of town.  I was grateful to be with that small congregation again. I first met them when I was still in seminary, and I have continued to return to them about once a year.  This year, I was blessed to baptize a baby and serve communion.  The small chapel was filled with family and friends, some of whom obviously felt uncomfortable being there.  I love that.  We humans must keep coming before that which we don't necessarily understand.  Otherwise, how will we grow?   Too much time and resources are being squandered in rejection, if not worse.    
Yet, a baby came before us, wiggling, but completely accepting the love of the mother who held her.  I am grateful to have touched such innocence once more.   Afterwards, we gathered around the communion table.  There, among the young and old, the confident, and the less so, bread was broken once more.          

Holy God, I thank you, and I will do so forever.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Psalm 78

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
Listen well, O peoples of the earth,
to inner promptings of the Spirit;
Let Silence enter your house that
you may hear.
For within your heart Love speaks;
not with words of deceit,
but of spiritual truths to guide you
upon the paths of peace.
Do not hide this from your children;
teach of the inward Voice, and
help all generations to listen
in the Silence,
That they may know the Beloved
and be free
to follow the precepts of Love.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Psalm 77

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
I call to mind the closeness of my Friend;
yes, I remember the joy of
the Beloved's presence.
I contemplate in the Silence,
recalling how You led me along the Way;
For your Way, O Beloved, is holy,
there is no other like You!
You are the One who will bring
us to wholeness,
You manifest your Love to all
who call upon You;
With You the peoples are redeemed,
the nations brought to peace. 
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. 
 Matthew 28:20   

Friday, September 4, 2015

Psalm 76

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
In loving places, O Beloved,
are You known,
your mercy extends to all the earth.
You abode has been established
in our souls,
your dwelling place in our hearts. 
You break down our walls -
our anger, fear, and doubts.
Glorious are You, more majestic
than the everlasting mountains.
That which is haughty within us
is brought low,
our greed brings us to ruin.
The violence that we harbor
turns upon ourselves.
In your loving mercy, O Beloved,
You raise us up with Love. 
Surely our fear-filled hearts will
one day praise You,
the gold that comes out of the ashes.
Abandon yourself to the Beloved
with confidence, and
receive the blessings of Love
from the Heart of your heart,
From the One who forgives your
Who welcomes you home with joy.   
I confess one of the first thoughts I had this morning was, "I am tired of this drought."  I am tired of seeing abandoned dirt, withered flowers, and browning trees.  Therefore, my heart was ripe for this psalm.  I have little choice but to abandon my fears to God.  Yes, I can carry the bucket of shower water to the garden, but much is truly out of my hands.   
The plant in this picture is borage.  It is not an easy plant to photograph because of the tendency of the leaves and blooms to turn downward.  However, it is very bee friendly, and it has a long history of medicinal and culinary uses.  It grows well in a Mediterranean climate, so is a good choice for us here in the bay area.   
Yes, there is a balm.  Thank you, God. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Psalm 75

Psalms for Praying 
Nan C. Merrill   
We give thanks to You, O Beloved, 
we give thanks; 
We call upon your Name and 
recount the ways of Love.   
For hidden within the heart of each soul, 
there dwells the Divine Guest. 
Let us rejoice and be glad!    
Yes, we are halfway through the psalms and you are receiving this one a few hours early.  I confess this psalm also warns of judgement and a refiner's fire. However, it does seem the refiner's fire is all around us.  I am seeking refuge elsewhere today. Perhaps because I have been asked to baptize a baby this Sunday.   Forgive me if I err on the side of rejoicing.  Surely we must baptize, and live in hope, not fear.     
I thank your for journeying with me.   I have loved this daily practice.  We can deal with the refiner's fire on another day.   Forgive me, God, if I assume too much. 


Psalm 74

Psalms for Praying 
Nan C. Merrill 
I shall always remember your covenant, 
as the shadows within rise up 
to the Light.  


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Psalm 73

Psalms for Praying  
Nan C. Merrill 
As for me, I delight in walking 
with the Beloved; 
I invite the Friend into my heart, 
that I might live in Love.

Merrill's rendition has the line "I invited the Friend into my heart..." 
However, as I posting on Facebook, I decided that I like the sense of the ongoing invitation.   The process is ongoing.