Saturday, October 31, 2015

Psalm 115

In his very good book, "The Third Plate," author and chef Dan Berber writes of his meetings with farmers and growers who embrace the idea that their land and what they are growing are just a part of the eco-system that surrounds their enterprises, and it is the entire eco-system that contributes to their successes.  Included in his reflections is the story of  Veta la Palma, a project that is successfully bringing healthy farm-raised sea bass to market.  When Berber asked Miguel Medialdea, the biologist for this enterprise, about the large bird population (Berber reports that the species count has grown from 50 known species in 1982 to now over 250) that was also enjoying the fruits of their labors,  Medialdea replied, "We are in this together. The response of nature has been stronger than we thought. We are good partners."   That beautiful theme seems to be a common thread of these growers who are embracing, not only their projects, but all the life that is around them.  These are inspiring stories of men and women learning to be a part of the environment; not the conquering heroes. 
A few mornings ago, I paused at a small flower garden I have enjoyed viewing for awhile now.  It was still early in the morning, but even then I noticed quite a few honey bees in the garden.  While I was there, the homeowner joined me.  I introduced myself and thanked him for creating such a beautiful garden. He said that in the warmth of the afternoon sun he will often see butterflies and other species of bees visit the garden.  He mentioned how much he enjoyed watching them and invited me to drop by anytime.     
In that moment I realized that we have lost so many pollinators because we have not been enjoying them.  Had we been enjoying them, we would be planting for them and the diversity of plant life that they help to create.  I don't think we humans really enjoy using pesticides, but we are blindly believing the myth that using these chemicals is the most expeditious way to garner high crop yields and picturesque private landscapes.  However, the cost is proving much too high.   It is time for us to learn to become partners once more.       
Those who teach illusion
are ignorant
as are those who trust in them.
May you call upon the Holy One,
you and your children.
May you be guided by the Spirit of Truth,
who dwells in your heart.
The heavens declare the glory
of the Creator,
the earth, too, is filled
with wonder, gifts of Love.

 Psalm 115 
Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill     

Friday, October 30, 2015

Psalm 114

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill    
Come, all you who have wandered
far from the path,
who have separated yourselves
from Love;
A banquet is prepared for you
in the heart's Secret Room.
There you will find the way home;
a welcome ever awaits you.
Even as you acknowledge the times
you have erred,
the forgiveness of the Beloved
will envelope you.
Call upon the Beloved when fear arises,
when you feel overwhelmed;
The Eternal Listener will heed your cry;
you will find strength to face the shadows.
Befriend all that is within you,
discover the Secret Room in your heart.
Then will abundant blessings
enter your home, and
you will welcome the Divine Guest
who is ever within you.    

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Psalm 113

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Bless the Holy One 
from this time forth
and forever more.
Aspire to know the Unknowable,
to enter more fully into the
Great Mystery,
to be fertile ground
to the Heart-seed of Love.    
A beautiful morning prayer - a vow to be a presence for God's love today and always.  I thank you for the good work that you do.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Psalm 112

Psalm 112 (adapted)
Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill   
Abundance and wholeness is our heritage
and truth is our banner.
Light penetrates the darkness for those
who face their fears;
Love stand by them with mercy and forgiveness. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Psalm 111

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
Your steadfast love is food for the soul,
nourishment in times of fear.
You bring new life to the world;
Life in abundance is your gift to us.     



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Psalm 110

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill

You, O Divine Breath, dwell 
within our hearts;
with strong love, You assuage
our fears.
You call us to holiness, to justice,
and integrity,
to free those bound by oppression,
to bring light where ignorance
and darkness dwell.
Come, drink from the
streams of Living Water.
Come, feast on the Bread of Life.    

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Psalm 109

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
You appoint an angel
to watch over me;
to protect me as I face
my fears.
As I meet temptation,
You strengthen me;
my faith and courage increase.
May I break the fetters
of fear and welcome peace
in my heart.
May I grow in wisdom 
and abandon myself to You
with radical trust. 

Psalm 108

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
Awaken, O my soul, 
to the Beloved within;
O, that I might be a light
in the world. 
Grant that I be released 
from the darkness within,
for You are my Comforter
and my Guide.
With You I can do all things;
into your Heart I commend
my soul.    

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Psalm 107 Continued

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
For through your inner being is the
Word of truth heard;
the resource to break all bonds
is found there, too.
Has no one ever told you that
truth is written on the scrolls
of your heart,
that the Beloved dwells therein?
Do you not know your destiny -
to be a light unto the world,
a bearer of peace and harmony?

Psalm 107

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
We give thanks to You,
who are the Source of Love;
whose Light shines forth
throughout the universe.
Come, awaken our hearts
that we might do your Work;
For without You, we can do nothing;
'tis your Love that loves
through us.    

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Psalm 106

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Remember us, O Beloved,
as we make the Journey;
help us to live in the Mystery,
That we may fulfill our divine destiny,
that we may co-create with You,
that we may glorify in your rich heritage.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Psalm 105 Continued

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
O that we may open our minds
and hearts, and
welcome You into our home,
that we may live each day
conversing with You,
O Loving Companion Presence. 
As You have led all generations
through times of turmoil and war,
Guide us now, O Blessed One,
along the paths of peace.
May the people of all nations
break the bonds of fear-filled
may they bless one another
with forgiveness.
Blessed be the One who lives
and dwells among us.   
May all be filled with loving kindness.
May all be filled with peace,
and be at ease.
May all be healthy.
May all be happy.



Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough
SpiritCare Ministry to Seniors
1443 Howard Ave.
Burlingame, Ca 94010
510-579-1298  cell



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Psalm 105

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
You are the Promise of our wholeness,
You await our readiness
to choose Life.
Your covenant of Love stands firm
through all the ages;
You forgive us when we stray
far from Home.
Help us to learn to trust You,
to untangle the webs of illusion
we have made.
As we sift through our dreams,
guide us to the only Dream
that brings peace -
knowing we belong to You.
Give us wisdom and courage
to release all that binds us;
for to face what is built on illusion
is to find new life.  

Friday, October 16, 2015

Psalm 104 May it Always Continue

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
The glory of the Radiant One endures
forever, for
the works of Love are sure.
You are ever-present to us,
even as the earth trembles,
even as the mountains spew forth
ashes and smoke!
I will abandon myself into your hands
as long as I live; 
I will sing praises to You
while I have breath.
May my meditations be pleasing to You,
for I rejoice and am glad in You.
May all who feel separated from You
open their hearts to new Life.
Praise the Creator of the Universe!
Bless the Heart of my heart,
O my soul.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Psalm 104 Continued

Psalms for Praying 
Nan C. Merrill
O You, who know all hearts, 
how manifold are your works.
In wisdom You have created them all;
the earth is filled with your creatures.
We look to the seas, great and wide,
which teem with life innumerable,
helping to maintain the balance.
O, that we might receive your gifts,
taking only what is needed
with grateful hearts.   

May this prayer ring true.  It rained here last night. I am grateful the sound awakened me.  Surely,If we can see creation as a gift, not something to be quickly exploited before someone else does, we could live in balance once more. 
Enjoy your gifts today, wherever you may be.  I look forward to the sunrise.  There will be dogs and surfers and poets on the beach, as well as those of us who simply yearn to see.  I hear the birds calling. I must go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Psalm 104 Continued

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
You set the earth on its foundations,
strong and secure.
You covered it with the deep
like a garment,
with many waters that life might
come forth.   
At your Word, the waters divided,
becoming rivers and lakes and
mighty oceans;
storms came to ensure the balance
and to renew the earth.
The mountains rose,
the valleys became low
in the places that You did appoint.
You brought harmony to all the earth,
that life might spring forth in abundance.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Psalm 104

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Bless the Radiant One, O my soul!
O Heart of my heart, You are
so very great!
You are clothed with justice and mercy,
arrayed in Light as your fine attire.
You stretch over the heavens
like a tent,  
your Radiance covering the waters;
You shine through the clouds, and
ride on the wings of the wind;
The wind, like the Breath of Life,
carries your Word,
Fire refines the dross of our souls.

I am on retreat this week, and part of our conversation today was about the brightness of the holy Presence.  Can you believe that God's brilliance shines in you and through you?  Yes, that knowledge should make us stand a little taller. As Jesus said, we should brush our hair and wash our face (Matthew 6:17).  Well, okay, he said that we should anoint our heads, but regardless, let us prepare ourselves to be a sanctuary.   
I have a good internet connection here, so I may stay with Psalm 104 this week as a retreat practice.  It is one of my favorites.  May you, too, feel the warmth of the Radiant One within.
I am grateful for these good friends I have gathered with this week.   
As we all continue our radiant journeys, may we remember that we are blessed and held.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Psalm 103

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
The Beloved's home is our hearts,
as we discover in the Silence.
Bless the Beloved, O you angels,
you faith-filled ones who hear
the Word,
following the Voice of Love.  
Dear Friends, this will be my last posting for a few days.   While not everyone could join us, friends are beginning to gather for our annual retreat.  What a sacred gift friendship is and I am grateful. 
Love is not something one can talk about,
this gem no diamond can cut.
All we say and do are naught but speculations.
Love comes undetected and leaves undefined.  
Abil Khayr  from The Sufi Book of Life, Neil Douglas-Klotz 

Grace at the Door

Grace sits by the front door of her assisted living community, every day, all day long. She has done so for years.  She will get up for meals and other matters concerning the body, but she always returns to the same spot.  She is soft spoken, well dressed, and her hair is always nicely tended to with just a tint of reddish-blonde color.  She will smile and say hello to me, but that is generally about as far as she is willing to engage in conversation.  Therefore, she surprised me this week when she quietly said, "That man needs to move.  He has been sitting there too long." 

 She was pointing to a man in a wheelchair who was sitting by the front desk. He was exemplary in being the antithesis of Grace's tidiness.  She looked as though she could step onto a cruise ship.  He looked like a tangle of kelp stranded on the shore.  I went over to him and asked if he would like to join me for worship. I could barely hear his yes.  An assistant, who was watching me, helped me unlock his wheelchair.  During worship, he held his song sheet but did not sing.  He said no to communion.  Yet afterwards, he quietly thanked me and told me his name was George.  As the assistant came over to retrieve him, I wondered what storms George was enduring.  I also wondered if I would ever see him again.       
I walked back into the lobby, and Grace called me over.  She said, "Thank you for moving him.  He should not sit around too long."   I simply smiled and nodded.  She did the same.  Order had been restored.
 All of us at one time or another arrive rumpled and weary.  I am always surprised by who shows up to offer a helping hand.         
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  
Hebrews 4:16      

Friday, October 9, 2015

Psalm 102

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Of old You laid the foundation
of the earth
and the heavens to reflect
your glory.
Even should they perish,
your Love will endure,
and You will raise us up
to new Life.
Our lives are like the seasons,
and they pass away;
yet You remain constant and sure,
your years have no end. 
All generations to come will call
upon You,
until all return to your Heart
in the Holy City.   

Psalm 101

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Come, O Blessed One, 
make your home in my heart.
May I see You in all creation.
In the morning I offer myself to You in prayer,
by night I surrender to You in trust;
O, that I might walk in the Light
with a grateful heart,
and radiate peace to the world.  
Amen.  Holy One, this is indeed my prayer.  Forgive my numerous failings.  Thank you for always calling me to return. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Psalm 100

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved
all peoples of the earth!
Serve Love with a glad heart.
Join hands in the great 
Dance of Life.
Know that the Beloved of your heart
is the Divine Presence.
Love created us, and we belong to
the Most High;
We are born to be loving,
expressions of the Creator's
Divine Plan.
Open the gates of your heart
with gratitude
and enter Love's court with praise.
Give thanks to the Beloved,
bless Love's holy Name!
For Love is of God, and lives
in your heart forever,
with faith, truth, and joy, now
and in all that is to come.
Alleluia! Amen!  
Psalm 100 is a psalm I return to time and time again.  I need the reminder that I am always entering God's courtyard, so I should do so with loving attention.  Yesterday, in a crowded skilled nursing community, I joined in the chorus of the alleluias and the amens.   Most of the patients there have very little, and yet many of them passionately worship God, and surrender to that love time and time again. Today, I will enter a beautifully appointed assisted living community, and I know that someone is going to be aggravated because the television will need to be turned off.  However, in both, I know that I am called to enter the courtyard with thanksgiving.  Some days I am more adept at it than others, so I do appreciate your prayers.  
We are now two thirds of the way through the psalms.  I will be on retreat next week, so there will be another break.  Coming up are some long psalms such as Psalm 119 with its 176 verses, and Psalm 139 that contains many beautiful images.   I may linger with those psalms a bit longer.   
Blessings on the journey.  Don't forget to take your alleluias with you, and please know I am grateful for you.     

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Psalm 99

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
Awaken, O you people!
Entrust your heart to Love.
For the Beloved reigns supreme. 
Your unseen Presence is
great in the land;
You sit with the leaders of nations.
Let them be silent and guided
by Your Voice.  
Please.  When hospitals are bombed, when children are murdered in schools, when young girls are kidnapped and raped, we know, as surely we have all along, that it is time for leaders to silence their rhetoric and their guns, and listen.  Enough.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Psalm 98

Psalms for Praying
Psalm 98  
O sing to the Beloved a new song,
for Love has done marvelous things.
By the strength of  the Indwelling Presence,
we, too, are called to do great things.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Psalm 97

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
The Bestower of Life reigns with mercy,
let the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad!
Justice preserves creation,
allowing it
 to blossom and thrive;
hidden within creation, You are
the heart of everything.   
Today I shall be thinking of the phrase, "Justice preserves creation..." We are witnessing and experiencing some pretty dramatic cycles now.  Holy God, help us to restore balance in our lives and our world.   We know that destruction is very real, but help us to remember that Life renews life.
May the world know peace.   

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Psalm 96

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill
The Creator of the Cosmos reigns!
Yes, the world has been created,
gift to all generations;
let truth and justice give birth
to peace and harmony.
Let the heavens be glad, and
let the earth rejoice;
let the seas roar, and all that
fills them;
let the fields exult, and
everything in them!
Then shall the trees of the wood
sing for joy
before the coming of the Beloved,
who reigns in glory.
For through Love will come
truth and justice,
offering all the people gifts
of new Life.

On our way home from Pismo Beach, Tyler and I stopped at Mission San Luis Obispo. It is much less remote, more landscaped, and the mission had undergone more extensive renovation.   There is also a beautiful scent of lemon grass in the air.  We looked around for a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant that might be the source.  None were found.  Then we proceeded to sniff every flower and bush as we walked the perimeter.  We came around to the front once more, and paused under this lovely tree.  Tyler picked up a leaf that had fallen to the ground and lo, we had found the source.   A friend who grew up in Indonesia said that the picture reminded her of her childhood home where the oil from the leaves was used to cure headache, stomachache, and other maladies.  We can certainly attest that there is something amazingly restorative about the scent.
It is time to let the trees, fields, mountains, and oceans sing once more.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Psalm 95 and The Mission

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
O that today we would harken 
to the Beloved's voice!
Harden not your hearts, 
as in days of old,
that you would not be separated from Love.
Be not like those who hear the Word
and heed it not,
thinking to be above the Most High.
For life is but a breath in the
Eternal Dance,
a gift to be reverenced with trust,
an opportunity to grow
in spirit and truth,
That in passing into new Life,
you enter into the Heavenly City.    
It was close to 100 degrees when we pulled up to Mission San Miguel last week.  We were driving south on 101 on our way to Pismo Beach when I saw the sign for the mission. The California missions had once again surfaced in my consciousness so I decided to stop.  For several days I had been mulling over a statement made by one of the protesters speaking out against the canonization of Father Serra. She said she had to protest because she and all Indians carried the voices of their ancestors within them, and for them they must speak. I knew enough of the impact of the missions on the life and culture of the Indians that I had no doubt that she was speaking a deep truth.   
Although Mission San Miguel is very close to the highway, the area's remoteness also speaks.  The cactus and the heat speak.  The quiet speaks.   As I looked at the adobe and stone work and even the lovely stenciling on the sanctuary walls, I began to get a sense of just how arduous the work of building these missions must have been. I also thought how even more difficult it would have been had you not been particularly willing to take part in the building up of something that was tearing down the lives and culture of those around you.  Mission San Miguel is hardscrabble enough to let these voices be known, and I dedicate this morning's psalm to them.     
May the world know peace.  


Friday, October 2, 2015

Psalm 94

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill 
Had the Beloved not come to my rescue,
my soul would still dwell in
the land of darkness.
The Beloved is a stronghold,
the Comforter, the refuge of my soul.
The statutes of Truth are certain;
and the Awakening, a promise
to be fulfilled;
Who will be ready for the new dawn?  


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Psalm 93

Psalms for Praying
Nan C. Merrill  
That which You ordain is certain;
holiness befits Your house,
our hearts, Your dwelling place,
O Beloved, for evermore.  
Dedicated to a dear friend who is having surgery today.  Holy One, may she and all who are with her, whether in physical presence or in prayer, feel Your loving, healing guidance.  Help us to remember that for all eternity we belong to You and one another.   Let us heed the words, "Be not afraid."       
In gratitude I pray.