peace in the new year

[In these early days of the new year, many of us are focused on praying for peace. This morning I received an update from an NGO that I’m involved with (Mennonite Central Committee) that is actively involved in peace work in Iran. They offered this prayer, adapted slightly from Richard Rohr:]

O Great God of Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. Today we pray especially, and deeply, for peace in the Middle East. May leaders be drawn to the table of negotiations and away from the temptation to more missiles. You are hearing us better than we are speaking; we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.

the heart of every human

That truth has been inscribed into our hearts
and into the heart of every human being,
there to be read and reverenced,
thanks be to you, O God….

Open our senses to wisdom’s inner promptings
that we may give voice to what we hear in our soul
and be changed for the healing of the world,
that we may listen for truth in every living soul
and be changed for the well-being of the world.

-from Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter (John Philip Newell). Click here for full prayer. 

see what God sees

What happens really in the soul’s union with God in terms of liberation and healing? It is an exercise in seeing how God sees, the perception of what is little and unimportant; it is listening to the cry of God’s children who are in slavery in Egypt. God calls upon the soul to give away its own ears and eyes and to let itself be given those of God. Only they who hear with other ears can speak with the mouth of God. God sees what elsewhere is rendered invisible and is of no relevance. Who other than God sees the poor and hears their cry? To use “God’s senses” does not mean simply turning inward but becoming free for a different way of living life: See what God sees! Hear what God hears! Laugh where God laughs! Cry where God cries!

– Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (2001)

school of contemplation

[At SSU today, we started a new experiment that we’re calling the “School of Contemplation.” Here are two quotes that were discussed at our first gathering:]

  • All that we can do with any spiritual discipline is produce within ourselves something of the silence, the humility, the detachment, the purity of heart, and the indifference which are required if the inner self is to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation of his presence.

– Thomas Merton, The Inner Being

  • For a religion is known from the inside. Catholics say this of Catholicism, but it is true of every religion. Religion is a form of nourishment. It is difficult to appreciate just through a look the flavor and dietary value of a food that one has never eaten.

– Simone Weil, Awaiting God

(Thanks to Peter Fitch for including the second quote in a sermon at the St. Croix Vineyard yesterday.)

a prayer for women

[I won’t be posting daily readings this week, but I will continue with the voices of women for at least the rest of March. This prayer and the creative contributions of the next few posts are all from a service led by women yesterday at St. Croix Vineyard]:

Here we go, sister, let’s do this right from the start: I pray that Love will rise in you and through you. I pray for you to know Love deeply and intimately, that you will have a hunger and a thirst for the More of God. I pray that you would be satisfied by Love, that you would make your home in Love, that you would make Love your discipline, your resting place, your practice, your doctrine, your plumb line, and your identity….

I pray for spiritual midwives in your life, women who will breathe alongside of you as you are giving birth to the new you over and over again. I pray for friends and for mentors, for authors and leaders, for preachers and policy makers, for mothers and a few saucy aunties, for the daughters of your body or of your heart, may you join hands in the rising. May you be alongside of women who invite you to go deeper, who make you more real, more honest, who know who you are without make-up or masks….

We call out the sins of violence, rape, abuse, torture, against all women. No more. May you be a woman who is safe, a woman who does not fear, a woman who builds safety and security for other women, too. We call out the economic injustices, the educational inequalities, the maternal mortality, patriarchy, movements designed to baptize inequality in sacred language, the forced prostitution, the sex trafficking, all of the countless ways that the image of God in women is abused and mistreated and broken or diminished. We call it out and name it for what it is – sin! powers! principalities! systemic evil! injustice! – and we cast it down, in the name of Jesus. I pray that you would continue casting it down with your whole life. We pray that they will be weakened in the world, cast away, broken, and dismantled forever. May we work to call these things out and to dismantle them from our world … and from our own hearts.

I pray that the places where this world has broken you, where evil has left its mark, where you have felt abandoned and broken and hurt, where you are in pain would become a wellspring of healing and wholeness for you. I pray for the desert to bloom with flowers….

– Sarah Bessey – see the whole prayer.