This is my prayer that we live as the Carpenter did; loving justice, doing kindness, and walking humbly with God.
This is my prayer that we be in community as the Carpenter was: knowing we are all Children of God in the Spirit, no Jew or Greek, no slave or free, no female or male, no human or animal. That we remember we are all one in the Spirit.
This is my prayer that we remember who we are: the creation of God, partners of God in creation, living as one in creation.
This is my prayer, that we remember we have a history older than what we have been taught. That we remember we are better than what we have become.
Today I thought I would share my morning prayer ritual with you. It is nothing special just morning prayers. However, you will notice I use the name “Universal Divine” rather than “God”. As I have gotten older, and hopefully a little wiser, I have learned that there are so many paths to light and love that one name just does not fit for me anymore.
My Ritual is divided into 2 major portions, Prayer of intention, and Prayers of Petition with silence separating major division. I must admit on occasion I use a singing bowl at the beginning of each period of silence which seems to draw me deeper into myself. This is also a standing prayer, which is how it started out, but as I get older, I do think I will be doing more sitting than standing. These old legs and knees are not up to it on some days. So, If you want to model a ritual after mine do not feel it has to be a standing prayer.
Blessings be to one and all.
Prayer of Intention
Universal Divine I stand before you As I came into this universe Come Your Presence, fill my heart Come Your Presence, fill my mind Come Your Presence, fill every cell of this clay vessel
Divine Universal May my voice be your voice May my hands be your hands May the words and deeds I send into the universe be your words and deeds.
Prayers of Petition
Blessing be to John the beloved Blessing be to Lisa the soul friend Blessing be to Louis the soul keeper Blessing be to Esmerelda the joy bringer Blessing be to Charlie the snuggler Blessing be to George the friend of years Blessing be to Sweet pea the bringer of song
Blessing be to friends Living in pain and ill health May they be held in the light and be healed
Blessing be to leaders Living in the dark May they find their souls and return to the light
Blessing be to leaders yet to come Living in the light May they find strength in the light and not waver from the path
Blessing of the Earth Blessing of the sea and sky Blessings of love and light and peace Blessing of the Universal One now and forever be with us all
A man was walking along a trail high on a cliff when he slipped and fell. As he fell, he managed to grab a tree root. The terrified man had no way of getting back up, so he started praying.
“Please God, come and save me! I know you will come. Please come God!”
From the top of the cliff he heard a voice call down, “hello, I have a rope and I am going to throw it down, grab a hold and I will pull you up.”
The man said, “No that’s fine, God will save me, I know God will come, I’m a good person, God will come.”
“Ok” said the voice.
The man continued to pray, “Please God, I know you are there and can hear me, please come and save me!”
From along the cliff face the man heard a voice, “Hello, I’m rock climbing and can come over and help you get down, can you hold on for 10 minutes?”
The man said, “No I’m fine, God will come and help me, I know God will come.”
“Ok” said the voice.
Now the tree root was getting a bit weak and the man was getting worried God might not show up in time. So, he prayed, really hard. “Oh God, please, please! I’m begging you to come and save me! My tree root is weakening, and I am so afraid! Please God come save me!”
A third time the man heard a voice, “Hello up there, we have gathered some friends and we will get a lot of hay and pillows below you to break your fall. In just a few minutes you can let go and we will catch you.”
But again, the man said, “No thanks, I’ve prayed, and I know God has heard me and God will come and get me down, thanks anyway.”
“Ok” said the group of voices.
Suddenly the root broke and the man fell to bottom of the cliff and died. When he reached heaven and saw God he asked. “Why didn’t you come and save me, I prayed and prayed?”
God smiled and said, “I did come, I sent a man with a rope and you turned him down. I sent a climber and you turned her down. I sent an entire village, but you turned them down as well. I simply assumed you wanted to die.”
The moral of this story is our prayers are answered always, but often not in the way we expect. This story also illustrates a point for today’s world. We have the answers in front of us, we just don’t want to see them. The Holy Spirit has given us the tools to fix our problems but if we don’t wish to use them, then well, She is going to assume we simply want to die.
P.S.: Notice, It was a man who fell from the cliff, if it had been a woman, she would have grabbed that rope in a heartbeat. Women understand a gift when it is given.
In the roughly 2 months since the stay home order was given, I have made some very un-scientific observations:
I haven’t been much affected by the stay-at-home order. It is what John and I did before this started. Except for going to church and groceries we didn’t go anywhere.
I have actually heard from more people in the last 2 months than we had all last year.
Wearing a mask while shopping is kinda weird, I keep wanting to go into a bank, not to do anything, just go in.
I am shocked at the level of ineptitude we, as a nation, are accepting from our federal government.
I am totally grateful for the leadership of our faith community, my state and local governments. They deserve medals.
I am heart broken by the number of people who have been exposed to and sickened by the virus, some because of people so selfish that they pass the virus on only because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by a face mask or a stay at home order.
I am amazed and stunned, by the heroism of the nurses, doctors, medical house cleaning staff, postal carriers, grocery store clerks, police, and fireman who have continued to be the front line of defense. (I apologize if I have forgotten anyone.)
I am angered by those who, with guns and lawsuits, attempt to intimidate our hero’s. They also sadden me because they are being manipulated by wealthy, greedy, power hungry, men who are following a corrupt leader.
I have discovered some wonderful benefits to being told to stay home. I have been able to attend and participate in the Westar Institutes Seminars online and will take a poetry class this summer from the Grunwald Guild. All via ZOOM. I would not have been able to do any of that if this hadn’t happened. (One of my questions even lead to a commitment to include gender roles in the next phase of the Westar’s Christianity Seminar, WOOT!)
I have also been able to see all of our family, from across the country, on a regular schedule because of ZOOM meetings. It has been so much fun to see everyone.
I love it that I have a legitimate reason to read books by the bushel, as if I ever needed one.
My garden is amazing, our garage is now cleaner that it has been in 40 years, and I have developed 5 new recipes that came out really good. I have also created more that a dozen really bad recipes. I am pleased that John has been a good sport and eaten the good and the bad.
While church has been a bit weird and awkward, it has shown me how much our weekly sessions mean to me. Seeing each congregation member and our devoted and amazing pastor Luke and his assistant Mary make my week.
What does any of this mean, well, probably nothing. I keep trying to remember that none of us are alone. We have each other and the Holy Divine still walks with us. Still despite all that I know, have seen, and experienced I am sometimes afraid. Afraid for our grandchildren, and the children of our friends. I am afraid for those who work with the homeless with little to no protective gear and pray every day for their safety. My fear leads to anger when I hear of the lack of concern for our indigenous neighbors, all people of color, people who are disabled and therefore especially at risk, and the elderly who, unlike John and I, are confined within an institution.
I am also afraid for our nation, I am afraid for my family, and I am afraid for my community. I do not know what the future will bring. I pray, I hope, I pray,
I thought I saw you down there at the end of the lane. Was it you I saw holding a violet to you breast? Was it you I saw gazing into the distant hills with such a far away look? Were you waiting for someone you love to come and hold you?
I thought I saw you down there at the end of the lane. Was it you with tears filling your eyes? Did I see you reach into emptiness hoping someone would reach back?
I thought I saw you down there at the end the lane waiting for someone. I saw you kneel in the grass with violets all around and I watched you pray. As you stand and walk away I prayed for you.
My spirit reaches out to you, surrounding you, supporting you, loving you, sending your heart strength. It is all I have to offer I cannot promise all will be well. I can only watch and guard. I can only send courage and walk with you, wait with you. I cannot give you all you want. All I can give, from my end of the lane, is love and hope.
46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.
I love Bartimaeus and have gained insight from his persistence in his call to Jesus. Yet, I often wonder if most people who use the prayer understand its implications. The story itself has many layers. The blind Bartimaeus had a strength we often do not have.
First, the story takes place after Jesus has made his 3rd prediction of his coming death and has turned toward Jerusalem. As Jesus and the disciples leave Jericho Bartimaeus calls until Jesus acknowledges him from there the real meat of the story happens. Bart is calling at a critical time as Jesus is now focused on what will happen in Jerusalem. Yet, Jesus stops and answers Bart’s call. I am reminded of all the times I have called on Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and wonder if I too have made my petition at an inopportune time. It is a grace that Jesus responds to Bart. This gives me hope.
Second, Jesus doesn’t just heal him rather, Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants from Him. Bart must articulate, say out loud, he wants to see. Bart must not only admit his need he must believe in the words Jesus will speak. It is in Bart’s belief in Jesus that he is made to see. He sees not just the world around him but the truth of what he sees. It has always been hard for me to speak my needs. I am always afraid I will be ridiculed or told that what I need is not important. I admit that my belief hasn’t always been as strong as Bart’s was that day in Jericho. Opening my heart and soul to my Creator has not been easy. But, I am a work in progress and I do believe the Holy Spirit is patient with me.
But there is one more piece that is often lost, Bart follows Jesus. Does he follow Him all the way to the end and the resurrection, we don’t know? But in the question and answer of the story, and the following the path that the story takes real meaning. We can ask for mercy, but what do we really want from Jesus. Bart followed Jesus on a difficult path, a road that led to Crucifixion, and yes, resurrection. But also, much pain and suffering. We don’t know if Bart stayed the course. I would like to think he did. But it gives me pause to think when I offer this prayer, what will I do when I am offered the opportunity to see.
I stayed home from church today. I stayed to make soup with the Holy Spirit. Not
just any soup mind you, but my own Vegetable Soup. You know the kind, soup
filled with chopped fresh potatoes, celery, carrots, turnips, garlic and
shallot and fresh herbs. All of them carefully
chopped up into bit sized pieces.
There is something comforting about chopping vegetables, watching the pile grow. Each vegetable adding their own special color, fragrance, and appeal to the pile. Shallots and garlic add their pungent scents, while potatoes add earthiness and carrots and tomatoes add a bit of sweetness. I did notice that the carrot coins kept rolling around the counter as if they wanted to escape. Celery’s spiciness is always appealing to me. I love the color contrast between the red pepper and the parsley it always makes me smile and HS, that’s Holy Spirit for those of you not on speaking terms, said, “my favorite is the hot banana pepper you add in just the right amount to give a bit of heat to the soup. Please don’t tell Jesus that he thinks I’m weird.”
HS, and I discussed the value of each vegetable and whether
or not it was suitable for such a wonderful soup. We pared and peeled when
needed and over-all we decided I had picked good vegetables from the market. HS
also reminded me that I had some fresh tomatoes that would add a nice bit of
freshness. These were the last from my garden, so I offered a prayer and HS
blessed them. I mean you can’t have too many prayers or too many blessings, can
I then went out into my garden and HS and I picked rosemary,
sage and fennel. Thanking each one for their contribution to the soup. We only took a little of the thyme because it
needs to grow a bit more, it’s a bit over picked, and HS said the basil was
just too tired and needs to go live with her now.
HS asked if I had any frozen or canned vegetables available
and looking through the freezer, I found a packet of squash and peas adding
them to my growing pile of vegetables. In the pantry, I found corn, beans, and
garbanzo beans which when rinsed to remove excess salt (who wants that in their
soup) added them to the bowl.
After browning the shallot and garlic, adding chopped fresh turmeric
and a couple strands of saffron (yes. I use saffron) I dumped all of the chopped,
frozen, and canned veg’s into the pot along with vegetable broth, water, and
all of the chopped herbs. HS asked me “will
you be adding the secret ingredient” and I said “Shhh, If I tell it wouldn’t be
a secret.” HS blessed our efforts and
our soup is now simmering to wonderful goodness. We are currently considering baking a loaf of
I suppose you think I am weird, imagining I am cooking
alongside the Holy Spirit. Well one, I don’t care what you think, and two, how
do you know I wasn’t. You see I often
feel I am not alone, that someone walks beside me, or sits with me as I read. I
guess I could be insane, but I rather think that it doesn’t matter. I sit and meditate, I offer prayers, and they
must go somewhere don’t they. So why couldn’t the Holy Spirit come and spend
time with me as I cook?
I’m not one to run around and brag or tell people “Jesus
saves” (he doesn’t by the way, but I’ll save that thought for later). I rather
let what I do and say inform people. I will share this soup with others,
guests, (Luke hint, hint) and of course my husband will enjoy our efforts. I have been known to take soup to those who
need it because feeding others always brings a smile to their faces, and mine,
besides it is a mandate of the Holy Spirit.
To create something that will nourishes others is such a
wonderful feeling. To feel the vegetable
in your hand, pick it from the ground or vine gives me a connection with all
creation. I know where my food comes from, how it was grown I watched the sun shine
on the baby plants and the rain water it. I watched as the bees pollinated my
tomato blossoms and herb blossoms and we shook the dirt off of potatoes,
carrots, and onions, so yes, I know where my food comes from and who to thank.
I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the HS to offer my thanks
for food that feeds my body as her presence feeds my spirit. So, if I think the Holy Spirit is right there
with me in the kitchen it means I know who to thank for all I have
“Why not share your recipe and a prayer, now that you have
made everyone hungry?”
“What a wonderful idea.”
“Ok, here is my Basic Vegetable soup recipe for you to
change up and make your own.”
My prayer for you is:
Holy Spirit, we ask you to bless the ground that nourished our
vegetables, the sun that shone upon them, and the rain that watered them. Bless
the hands that harvested and carried them to us and bless the hands that
prepared them. May this soup bless our
bodies as you bless our souls. AMEN
Ruth’s Vegetable Soup (This recipe freezes well)
4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups broth and 2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Vegetables: (all vegetables are optional, add meat if you wish)
Carrots (diced), Peas, Corn either Fresh, frozen, or canned
½ of a small to medium shallot, diced
1-3 garlic cloves, minced,
1 15oz. Can diced tomatoes
1 or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
½ to 1 red pepper, diced
Either 1-3 small hot banana Peppers, or 2 chipotle peppers, (+1 to 2 tsps.
adobe sauce), Diced
and Herbs: (change up the herbs to your taste)
1 teaspoon dry Turmeric or 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh
few threads of saffron
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Melt the oil and butter in a large soup pot, add the onions
and garlic. Add the turmeric and saffron, cook until the onions are soft and
golden. Add the celery and peppers to
the pot stir until covered in the turmeric liquid. Add the rest of the vegetables, broth (or
broth/water), herbs and spices. Simmer
for 1 to 2 hours until all vegetables are “al dente.” Serve hot with fresh bread. If you wish top
with sharp cheddar cheese and chives.
Note: This is an
easily modified recipe. You can add
squash, or other vegetables, or change herbs or spices (I use Turmeric because
of its anti-cancer properties). Fresh Parsley is lovely. You can add meat to this but I am a
vegetarian so that is problematic for me.