Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 22, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 11, inviting us to enter the eye of God:

The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.

Psalm 11:7


To rest in someone’s loving gaze is the greatest of blessings. Such a look carries understanding, acceptance, hope, encouragement, and a rainbow of other gifts.

We easily look at newborns and young children with such unconditional regard. As people age though, it may become more complex always to see them in such positive light. Life’s big and little dramas block our sight, right?

But, as Psalm 11 assures us, God will never look at us without that kind of love. Wow!

God’s eyes behold us;
    God’s searching glance wraps us round with love.

Psalm 11: 4-5

For our prayer today, we may just want to let God look at us. And we might want to look back with that mutual glance that sings, “Beloved”.


Poetry: Beloved – by Rumi

All through eternity
Beauty unveils His exquisite form
in the solitude of nothingness;
He holds a mirror to His Face
and beholds His own beauty.
he is the knower and the known,
the seer and the seen;
No eye but His own
has ever looked upon this Universe.

His every quality finds a Word:
Eternity becomes the verdant field of Time and Space;
Love, the life-giving garden of this world.
Every branch and leaf and fruit
Reveals an aspect of His perfection-
The cypress give hint of His majesty,
The rose gives tidings of His beauty.

Whenever Beauty looks,
Love is also there;
Whenever beauty shows a rosy cheek
Love lights Her fire from that flame.
When beauty dwells in the dark folds of night
Love comes and finds a heart
entangled in tresses.

Beauty and Love are as body and soul.
Beauty is the mine; Love is the diamond.
They have been together
since the beginning of time-
Side by side, step by step.

I swear, since seeing Your face,
the whole world is fantasy.
The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf
or blossom. The distracted birds
can’t distinguish the birdseed from the snare.
A house of love with no limits,
a presence more beautiful than Venus or the moon,
a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart.

Music: Be Thou My Vision

Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 21, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103 which, set between our two readings, reminds us that the Ascension has occurred and that:

The Lord has established a throne in heaven.

Therefore, we are in a New Creation and thus invoke one of the most beautiful Creation psalms. 


Psalm 103 invites us to stand at the edge of First Creation as it breathes in the spirit of God. With the angels and all the intricate works of the Lord, we inhale Divinity. We quicken with the “ruach” of God, (Hebrew for “breath”.)

What we read in our translations of the Bible as “spirit”, “wind” or “breath” are translated from one Hebrew word, ruach. Walter Brueggemann says; “The Bible struggles to find adequate vocabulary to speak about and name this unutterable, irresistible, undomesticated force that surges into history to liberate, heal, remake, and transform. We are left with this code term, ruach, to speak about what we know but cannot say.” Ruach is the wind that parted the waters and created dry land, it is the very breath that God breathed into humans in our creation, it was this spirit that parted the seas and allowed the people to escape from slavery in Egypt, it is the same spirit that Jesus claims and empowers the early church in Acts. This ruach is active throughout our sacred stories.

from Caroline Furnace Retreat Center

As we approach the feast of the great Inspiration of the Spirit, let us bless and praise our God for outpouring every form of infinite life upon us. May our humble prayer make room in us for ever deeper grace.

With all Creation, let us prepare our hearts to welcome the illuminating fire of the Spirit’s gifts and fruits to be renewed in us this Pentecost:

Bless the Lord, you angels,
you mighty ones who do the bidding of God,
and hearken to the voice of the word of the Lord.
 
Bless the Lord, all you hosts,
you ministers who do the will of God.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, 
in all places of the dominion of the Lord;
bless the Lord, O my soul.

Psalm 103: 20-22

Poetry: Breathe on me, Breath of God – Edwin Hatch (1835-1889)

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Music: Breath of God – Caroline Cobb

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 18, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 68 which captures a solemn yet glorious theme running through today’s readings: in God’s time, things end and new things emerge.

A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance;
    you restored the land when it languished;
Your flock settled in it;
    in your goodness, O God, you provided it for the needy.

Psalm 68: 10-11

This eternal dynamism of life-death-life is wrapped in multi-colored spools around the emotions of our lives. We can hear Paul negotiating his ebbing joys and sorrows in our first reading.

In Acts, Paul is facing his physical diminishment and impending death. Like others throughout all of time, he is retelling his life story, motivations, and achievements so that their significance may be stamped on the hearts of those he will leave behind. In all things, Paul gives the glory to God:

Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

Acts 20:24

In our Gospel, Jesus is giving a similar summary and farewell. He prays aloud to the Father so that his disciples may be instructed by hearing his final prayer:

I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.

John 17: 6-9

Both Paul and Jesus have brought the “abundant rain” of Psalm 68 to their ministries. But now it is time for others to carry on the work:

God is a saving God for us;
    the LORD, my Lord, controls 
the passageways of life and death. 

Psalm 68:21

As the tides of God’s eternity rise and ebb through our lives, we too at times must hand over and/or receive that eternal heritage of grace. May we exercise these rituals with the greatest of reverence and awareness.

Blessed be the Lord day by day,
God, our salvation, who carries us.
Our God is a God who saves;
deliverance from death to life 
belongs to God.

Psalm 68: 20-21

Like Jesus and Paul, may we open our stories in faith and love to the community that surrounds us. Especially as we mature both in years and experience, may we share our truth with grace and the gift of encouragement to others. And may those younger ministers take up new responsibilities with reverence, joy, and trust.


Poetry: When Someone Goes Away – Nikola Madzirov

In the embrace on the corner you will recognize 
someone’s going away somewhere. It’s always so. 
I live between two truths 
like a neon light trembling in 
an empty hall. My heart collects 
more and more people, since they’re not here anymore. 
It’s always so. One fourth of our waking hours 
is spent in blinking. We forget 
things even before we lose them – 
the calligraphy notebook, for instance.
Nothing’s ever new. The bus 
seat is always warm. 
Last words are carried over 
like oblique buckets to an ordinary summer fire. 
The same will happen all over again tomorrow— 
the face, before it vanishes from the photo, 
will lose the wrinkles. When someone goes away 
everything that’s been done comes back.

Music: Music by Giovanni Marradi – several hours of beautiful music. You may wish to listen for awhile.

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 17, 2021


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 68, an assertive call for God to show up and do something about evil in the world:

Arise, O God, and let your enemies be scattered;
let those who hate you flee.
Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; 
as the wax melts at the fire,
so let the wicked perish at your presence.
But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before you;
let them also be merry and joyful.

Psalm 68: 1-3

Haven’t we said a similar prayer many times in our lives? Doesn’t it rise up in us now as we watch war erupt in the Middle East, as we see India overwhelmed by COVID 19?

Don’t we want God to just fix things!


But the psalm itself reveals the only way healing and peace come into the world – it is through the triumph of justice in each of our hearts. Ultimately, God has made us the means to peace:

But the just rejoice and exult before God;
    they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name
    whose name is the LORD. 

Psalm 68: 4-5

The psalmist prays for communal wholeness by describing God’s active Mercy:

Protector of orphans, defender of widows,
the One who dwells in holiness,
who gives the solitary a home
and brings forth prisoners into freedom.

Psalm 68: 6-7

But God can only touch the suffering through our hands, prayers, and actions of justice. When we allow God to do that, then we can rejoice.

Sing to God, O dominions of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord.
You ride in the heavens, the ancient heavens, O God;
sending forth your voice, your mighty voice into our spirits

Psalm 68: 32-33

Poetry: Come to Dust – Ursula LeGuin

Spirit, rehearse the journeys of the body
that are to come, the motions
of the matter that held you.
Rise up in the smoke of palo santo.
Fall to the earth in the falling rain.
Sink in, sink down to the farthest roots.
Mount slowly in the rising sap
to the branches, the crown, the leaf-tips.
Come down to earth as leaves in autumn
to lie in the patient rot of winter.
Rise again in spring’s green fountains.
Drift in sunlight with the sacred pollen
to fall in blessing.
                                   All earth’s dust
has been life, held soul, is holy.

Music: Let There Be Peace – Vince Gill

Sorry, it’s the non-inclusive version, but the pictures are so pretty😇

Seventh Sunday of Easter

May 16, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 103, the best known and best loved of the psalms of praise.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
    and all my being, bless God’s holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
    and forget not all God’s benefits.

Psalm 103:1-2

Blessing the Lord is easy for me today.

My life is filled with those “benefits” –  happiness, love, friends, and celebration.

My dear brother and sister-in-law are visiting from Tennessee after nearly a two year hiatus.

My precious grandniece is being baptized today.

And my Sister in community is celebrating her 75th birthday.
(And, yes, I did just about find time to write this blog! 🙂


Psalm 103 reminds us that in both joyful and sorrowful days,  God’s Presence is our abiding blessing. And for this, we can always bless God:


In a 2016 Facebook post (a precursor of the blog) for this day, I wrote: 

Today, in Mercy, we humbly praise God for being present in every moment of our lives. We lift our hands in praise for the joys that have revealed God’s beauty, and for the sorrows that have revealed God’s compassion. May we reverently live our thanks by our kindness to one another.

That simple prayer holds true today. Amen.


Music: Bless His Holy Name – Daniel Mount

Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

May 13, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 47, one of seven enthronement psalms which celebrate a “coronation” of God.

All you peoples, clap your hands,
    shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
    is the great king over all the earth.

Psalm 47: 1

Used for the feast of the Ascension, the point of the psalm is much more than an exercise of pageantry. It is an act of faith and reverence to God, the Loving Omnipotence who chose to redeem us by assuming our humanity.

It is a confirmation that we believers do see the Supreme Being in the human Jesus we have come to love. This is what Paul prays for the Ephesians in our second reading:

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call,
what are the riches of glory
in his inheritance among the holy ones,
and what is the surpassing greatness of his power
for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might,
which he worked in Christ,
raising him from the dead
and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion,
and every name that is named
not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 1:18-21

The Great Commission, found in today’s Gospel, is the true gift of the Ascension.

Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:15

Jesus tells us that his time on earth is complete. The lesson of Love has been taught. We now are given the power to continue the message for all time. 

Jesus promises that our faith will:


overcome evil
-create new possibilities to preach the Gospel
-show courage against antagonism
-resist suppression
-heal and strengthen others to believe

These signs will accompany those who believe:

-in my name they will drive out demons,
-they will speak new languages.
-They will pick up serpents with their hands,
-drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.


If we believe and open our hearts to this message, indeed, it is a day for trumpet blasts! Here are a few from one of my favorite triumphal pieces! If the Apostles had only had trumpets, they might have played something like this for the Lord as He ascended 🙂

Poetry: Ascension Sonnet – Malcolm Guite

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.

We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,

Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,

His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed.

Music: Psalm 47 – Rory Cooney

Wednesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 12, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 148, one of the “Laudate Psalms”.


The Laudate Psalms are the psalms numbered 148, 149, and 150, traditionally sung all together as one psalm in the canonical hours, most particularly the hour of Lauds, also called “Morning Prayer”, which derives its name from these psalms.

from Wikipedia

I’ve always loved the morning with its radiant possibility spilling over the horizon. Morning comes like a rainbow pantone, speaking not only to the weather outside but within our own spirits.

Praise the name of the LORD,
    for this name alone is exalted;
The Lord’s majesty is above earth and heaven.

Psalm 148: 13

Waking each morning, I wait for the day to speak to me. It finds itself in the sun or clouds, the warmth or cold. And then it finds me in whatever weather my heart might rest.

Prayer begins after that discovery, inviting the transforming and comforting power of God into whatever the day offers. Essentially, it is always a prayer of thanksgiving that I am alive and given another day to, by the power of God’s grace, know and be Love in the world:

Praise the LORD from the heavens;
    praise God in the heights.
Praise God, all you angels;
    praise God, all you hosts.

Psalm 138: 1-2

As we wait for the Holy Spirit on the great feast of Pentecost, let us trust Jesus’s Gospel words in today’s Gospel. Let us find each morning, and each day, full of promise!

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when the Spirit comes, the Spirit of truth,
you will be guided to all truth.

John 16:12-13

Poetry: Morning Poem – Mary Oliver

Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches–
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead–
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging–

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted–

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

Music- Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

May 11, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 138, a prayer of tender, personal thanksgiving for deliverance.


The psalmist has had a tough experience:

On the day I cried out, you answered;
you strengthened my spirit.

Psalm 138:3

We can all relate to days like this. Maybe it’s not today, but sometime in our lives we’ve just cried out to God for help. And God has responded, perhaps not with the specific answer we prayed for, but with even more – the strength to find God’s Name and Promise hidden in our experience:

Because of your kindness and your truth,
    you have made great above all things
    your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
    you built up strength within me.

Psalm 138:2-3

Today might be a good day to gratefully remember those experiences in our prayer, or to bring our present need before our God who is always faithful:

Your right hand saves me.
What God has begun on me, God will complete;
    your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
    forsake not the work of your hands.

Psalm 138:7-8

May our prayer raise up
deep thanksgiving and love
in our hearts.

Poetry: Psalm 138 – transliteration by Christine Robinson

I give thanks to you, O God, with my whole heart.
Wherever I find you, I sing your praise.
I notice nature’s intricacy,
I ponder your stirrings in my heart.
I see your Way lure the world
towards peace, justice, and love.
You care for the lowly
You keep me safe when I walk through troubles and turmoil.
I live your Way, for your love endures forever.


Music: With All My Heart – sung by Nancy Sebastian Meyer

Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98, an exuberant celebration of God’s predilection and fidelity toward Israel. But at the same time, it is a call to recognize God’s love for ALL Creation:

The LORD has made his victory known;
has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations

Psalm 98;2

If we read the whole psalm, we might imagine all Creation assembled like a magnificent choir and orchestra – something like a supersized Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As the psalm progresses, the choirmaster-psalmist incorporates successive components into an awakened awareness until there is one universal melody of praise.


First, in a theme we met recently, the call to a NEW song:

Sing a new song to the LORD,
who has done marvelous deeds…
..remembering mercy and faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Psalm 98: 1-3

Next, the vocals and the instruments 

Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth;
break into song; sing praise.
Sing praise to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy to the King, the LORD.

Psalm 98: 4-6

Then nature’s  “orchestra”

Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and all who dwell in it!

And even the suggestion of tambourine dancers along the river’s edge

Let the rivers clap their hands
the mountains shout with them for joy,
before the LORD who comes,
who comes to govern the earth,
To govern the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

Psalm 98: 8-9

This inclusive psalm serves our other readings so well. The early Church in Acts has folded the Gentiles into the chorus.

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

Acts 10: 34-35

And Jesus gives us the underlying truth that, in his Love, we are ALL part of this cosmic symphony:

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.

This is my commandment:
love one another as I love you.

Poetry: Shoulders – Naomi Shihab Nye

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.
We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.
The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

Music: OK – it’s not the Mormon Tabernacle 😀 but it captures the spirit for me! I hope it puts you in the rhythm too, beloveds!

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 8, 2021

“Joy is God in the marrow of our bones.” (Eugenia Price)
Joy is a deep well.
If, in times of sorrow, we go down under the sorrow,
we will discover that joy is still alive.

from Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 100, considered by some to be the most revered and important of all the psalms. Walter Brueggemann says this:

This psalm is one of the best known and best loved in the entire repertoire of the Psalter.
It breathes a faith of simple trust, glad surrender, and faithful responsiveness.
It is not sung by newcomers who are only now embracing the faith but by those who are seasoned and at home in this faith and piety.


Psalm 100 is a prayer of pure, complete and confident joy in God. What a great way to live our lives!

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
    serve the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful song.

Psalm 100: 1-2

This is the kind of joy experienced by the early Church in Acts:

Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

Acts 16:5


It is the joy which makes us impervious to hate, as Jesus describes in the Gospel:

Jesus said to his disciples: 
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.

John 15: 18-19

Here is a line I love:

Don’t let the devil steal your JOY!

I first saw it from Pat Livingston, a wonderful speaker and writer on spirituality. But its roots are in John 16:22 as Jesus bids farewell to the disciples:

Now is your time of grief,
but I will see you again and you will rejoice,
and no one will take away your joy.


Let us look at Jesus in our prayer today,
and let him look deeply into us.
May that prayer give us immense joy!

Poetry: Happiness Is Harder

To read a book of poetry 
from back to front, 
there is the cure for certain kinds of sadness.
A person has only to choose. 
What doesn’t matter; just that—
This coffee. That dress. 
“Here is the time I would like to arrive.” 
“Today, I will wash the windows.”
Happiness is harder.
Consider the masters’ description 
of awakened existence, how seemingly simple: 
Hungry, I eat; sleepy, I sleep. Is this choosing completely, 
or not at all?

Music: Jubilate Deo – Mozart

Jubilate Deo omnis terra; servite Domino in lætitia.
Introite in conspectu ejus in exsultatione.
Scitote quoniam Dominus ipse est Deus; ipse fecit nos, et non ipsi nos.
Populus ejus, et oves pascuæ ejus, introite portas ejus in confessione;
atria ejus in hymnis, confitemini illi.
Laudate nomen ejus, quoniam suavis est Dominus;
in æternum misericordia ejus;
et usque in generationem et generationem veritas ejus.