Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Psalm 67

Oh God have mercy upon us 
and bless us with the light 
streaming from your face. 
And so that here on earth we know
and walk your ways, 
restore us back to health again. 
May every person, every creature 
become an instrument of praise to you, 
And may you be the song that makes us glad, 
and every nation sing with joy.
For your pure justice reigns and rules, 
guiding all with equal hand. 
May every creature, every person, then, 
be an instrument of praise, 
And earth itself abound with a fullness yet unknown, 
as you alone become "our God" for everyone. 
Your blessings fill us full, 
and cover us and earth with awe from edge to edge.   
Psalm 67, Ancient Songs Sung Anew 
Lynn C. Bauman    
Yesterday on my morning walk, I was lamenting how many front gardens in our neighborhood have been turned into rock and succulent gardens.  Most of them are nice, but this change does not bode well for pollinators or photographers.  You can then imagine how delighted I was to turn the corner and be greeted by these bold ones proclaiming God's presence in the morning light. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Psalm 66, Continued

Lynn C. Bauman's translation of Psalm 66 reminds me that I can only come to God as I am. When we try to avoid such honesty, our prayers and our lives lack authenticity and our souls are restless.  This morning, I am grateful for the time to come into God's temple, which is my soul. 
I have only recently learned that marigolds are often placed on the altars celebrating Dia de los Muertos in the belief that the souls are guided by the flower's bright color. I know color often beckons me to God's temple. I have never believed I am simply photographing flowers.      
"So now I enter your abode, my God, 
and offer you this burning gift. 
I pray the vows that I have made, 
and speak to you in my despair. 
I'll give you the best of everything I am and have, 
leave nothing out in all its plenitude; 
So come and listen as I declare 
all that God has done for me. 
For when I cried my grief and pain, 
I spoke out using human words, 
I could not hide the darkest things, 
or God would never heed my prayer. 
Yes, it is God who heard and answered back, 
who listened deeply to my call. 
So blessed be the name of God, 
who does not withhold great love from us
or turn aside our prayers."  
Psalm 66:12-18 
Ancient Songs Sung Anew 
Lynn C. Bauman    

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Psalm 66

A prayer for those who have seen fire and water.  We will sing for those who cannot yet lift their voice, for those whose offerings have burned. Together, we remember that God's love endures.    
"Cry out with joy to God, all the earth, 
O sing to the glory of God's name. 
O render glorious praise. 
Say to God, 'How awesome your deeds!' 
We went through fire and through water, 
but then you brought us to a place of plenty.
I will offer you burnt offerings...
Come and hear, all who fear God; 
I will tell you what God has done for my soul. 
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer, 
nor withhold from me faithful love." 
Psalm 66, abridged 
The Ecumenical Grail Psalter 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Psalm 65

Let us stand before destruction and sing this psalm of creation.  As painful as it can be to accept, one cannot exist without the other.  My original intention was to simply include a portion of this psalm, but its beautiful and comforting words flow, taking us from one line and image to the next.  The psalmists believed that Jerusalem, sitting on the mountaintop, was the center of the world.   We learn that sense of sacred centeredness is within each of us, and we find the courage to believe.   
Please, say or chant this psalm aloud for those who find singing impossible this morning.      
"O God, we praise you here and everywhere, 
we praise you from the center of your city
and from the mount on which it stands, Jerusalem.
​From these we offer up our loyalty and praise. 
To you who hears our prayer shall all flesh come 
bearing burdens of brokenness and shame. 
For these are far, far stronger that we ever are, 
so you must lift them off of us and blot them out again. 
Blessed and burden free are all who choose to come to you, 
whom you draw deep into your courts, into your presence there,
For whom the beauty of your house and holiness 
becomes a temple that can fill and satisfy our hearts, 
From which you show us awesome things, 
and paths of right-relationship, restoring all. 
And every place on earth shall know this hope 
all distant lands and seas shall taste and see.  
For you have made the mountain ranges sure, 
securing earth with might and strength, 
That stills the crashing chaos 
of the new-born seas. 
You bind with hope the peoples filled with fear. 
You make each dusk and dawn to sing your praise. 
You visit earth to make it rain abundantly. 
O God the river of your life is brimming full and overflows. 
You give us grain and seed, 
and shower earth abundantly with rain. 
That softens grounds and blesses it with green 
and gives us food. 
And through the passing years, 
each wears your golden crown of good, 
for all your paths are filled with plenitude. 
The wilderness itself is rich for beasts of every kind, 
for these you love, protecting them
and covering every hill with flocks. 
You fill the valleys with your golden grain, 
so all creation stands and sings 
aloud with joy the wonders of your name. 
Psalm 65, Ancient Songs Sung Anew 
Lynn C. Bauman​   

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Psalm 64

Henri Nouwen traveled a great deal, at least during his life before living and serving in the Daybreak community in Toronto.  In his book, The Road to Daybreak, he seemed to truly experience his travels as a "double-edged sword." They gave him much, but he worried about the cost to his prayer life. Yet, regardless of our undertakings, be they noble or ignoble, there is always a cost.  This is the great contradiction that is ever present in our journeys.
With so much recovery work needed in the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, and now fires in California, I am stunned to hear another mention of building a wall along our southern border.  Is that really where we need to direct our resources?  Towards the end of his book (copyright 1988) Nouwen asks, "Do we really need to belong to one country or one culture? In our world, where distances are becoming less each day, it seems important to become less and less dependent on one place, on language, one culture, or one style of life, but to experience oneself as a member of the human family, belonging to God and free to be wherever we are called to be. I even wonder if the ability to be in so many places so quickly and so often is not an invitation to grow deeper in the spirit and let our identity be more rooted in God and less in the place in which we happen to be."  These are not frivolous questions. There is a profound difference between good stewardship and hoarding. One nurtures life; the other results in waste and decay.

"O You who hear all hearts, 
hear my plea; 
preserve my life when 
fears beset me, 
when the pangs of jealousy 
pierce like a two-edged sword, 
When doubts rise up and
leave me trembling; 
As powerful as arrows they 
strike the heart, 
building armored walls that
keep Love at bay."    
Psalm 64, abridged 
Psalms for Praying, 
Nan C. Merrill 


Thursday, October 5, 2017


Yesterday was my day to visit the two retired doctors (they live in different communities.) They are continuing their journeys through frailty and fading memories, and I so appreciate their gentle presence. I was able to report to them that I had met a lively young doctor while visiting a skilled nursing community earlier that day.  They were both excited to know more about her. I think she is a kindred spirit of theirs for she seems to embody the same spirit that I sense they did in their work: that is, one of real engagement with the patients. I pray that one day she, too, will be able to look back on her practice with gratitude.   
In his entry for October 5 in Blessings of the Daily, Brother Victor writes that while arranging sunflowers in a vase for chapel, he recalled a passage from Centering by Caroline Richards.  I checked online and there is a book by the same title by M.C. (Mary Caroline) Richards.  This may be the book he is referencing, but I cannot say for sure.   
It was early fall...sunflowers were in bloom in my garden, their wide orange faces high in the air on spindly stems. It was the season of the harvest, of withering. It was seed time. And there is no air so intoxicating as that season's. I opened my door one early morning and looked out. All the sunflowers were turned toward the rising sun. The sense of outburst in the air was unmistakable, at the same time a sense of distillation. The seeds had all formed and were about to go their ways from the mother plant. My heart was indescribably full of the simultaneous experience of dying and bearing forth, of levity, of the oracle's message of Decrease and Deliverance, of ... growth through time, and the ultimate release of ... perfected powers through "death" - and all because of sunflowers.   
​And, I would add, old doctors and monks.   


Blessings on your journey.  ​



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Psalm 63

"A psalm of David when he was in the desert of Judah.

O God, you are my God, at dawn I seek you; 
for you my flesh is pining, 
like a dry, weary land without water.
I have come before you in this holy place, 
to behold your strength and your glory. 
Your faithful love is better than life; 
my lips will speak your praise. 
I will bless you all my life; 
in your name I will lift up my hands. 
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet; 
with joyful lips my mouth shall praise you."     
The Ecumenical Grail Psalter 
Psalm 63:1-6