An Evening Prayer

In this season of shortening days and early darkness, I’d like to share with you an evening prayer from my Episcopal days:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give thine angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for thy love’s sake. Amen.

 —Book of Common Prayer

  The Good Samaritan  by John Mosiman. Courtesy  Sacred Art Pilgrim .

The Good Samaritan by John Mosiman. Courtesy Sacred Art Pilgrim.

I Can't. You Must.

One of my students, Sister Jerilyn, shared this prayer with our class last night. The prayer is attributed to Oscar Romero. 

 I looked this prayer up online, and one commentator astutely noted that this prayer was Romero's personal way of praying Jesus' prayer of surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane:  "Not what I want but what you want" (Mt. 26:39). 

I looked this prayer up online, and one commentator astutely noted that this prayer was Romero's personal way of praying Jesus' prayer of surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Not what I want but what you want" (Mt. 26:39). 

Epiphany Prayer

Like the magi, we want to bring Jesus gifts.  But what gifts should we bring?  We should bring him what he wants the most.

Lord Jesus, I lay before you the gold of my sins and weaknesses, the incense of my painful memories and relationships, and the myrrh of my fears and anxieties.  These do not seem like gifts fit for a King, but I offer them to you from the treasure-chest of my heart, knowing that you wish to transform and redeem them.  I come to you open, empty and vulnerable; be a quiet, loving, saving presence in me.  Amen.

 Anne Koken, color linocut.  Courtesy  Sacred Art Pilgrim .

Anne Koken, color linocut.  Courtesy Sacred Art Pilgrim.

We Are His, Give Thanks

A psalm for your dinner table or a quiet moment today.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he that made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

 John Kohan,  Dream of Byzantium, m ixed media collage on cardboard.  Courtesy of Sacred Art Pilgrim.

John Kohan, Dream of Byzantium, mixed media collage on cardboard.  Courtesy of Sacred Art Pilgrim.

Homily Gem #2

I heard this on Sunday and thought it was a beautiful idea:

When praying for someone who is sick, you can use the words of Lazarus’ sisters, who said to Jesus: ‘Lord, the one you love is ill.’
— Fr. Declan Creighton

Fr. Declan was referring to the story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). 

How did Jesus respond to Mary and Martha, when they sent word that their brother was ill?  He said, “This illness is not to end in death.”  Of course, several verses later, we find out that Lazarus has indeed died.  And yet with Mary and Martha, we believe the words of Jesus, “Your brother will rise.”

Do you have a loved one or a friend who is facing a serious illness?  This story from John’s Gospel is fertile ground for prayer and reflection:  the delay of Jesus in coming to Lazarus’ side, the faith of the sisters, the tears of Jesus, the power of his voice that raised Lazarus from the tomb, the unbinding of death’s trappings, the foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death and triumph.

Lord, the one you love is ill.  I trust you.  You know what is best.  In your time, raise him, untie him and let him go free.

 "This is not to end in death."  The death and raising of Lazarus foreshadows the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Botticelli,  Pieta  (detail).

"This is not to end in death."  The death and raising of Lazarus foreshadows the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Botticelli, Pieta (detail).