©REV. LOIS E. VAN LEER
In Times of Despair I Am Convinced
For I am convinced,
that neither death
(the ones who took to wings at the funerals to counteract the Westboro Church’s presence)
(go on, name them)
nor things present
(homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, racism, hatred, fear, violence- genital body checks at the restroom doors)
nor things to come
(the lawbreakers who masquerade as law makers
violators of human worth and dignity)
(our collective grief rage despair raised up)
(our collective grief rage despair laid down)
nor anything else in all creation
(use your imagination, fill in the blank here)
will be able to separate us from
I am convinced.
First Corinthians 13 Redux
If we rage self-righteously for justice but have no grounding in what is ultimate, then we are but a swarming hive of sound that stings and deafens the human soul.
And if we batter and barrage others who think differently from us with our one and only truth, then we have not truth but tyranny.
If we write checks for this cause and that one but never greet the stranger in our midst then our words and deeds are hollow.
If we live only in ideas and theory and have not the heart of compassion than we live half alive.
For the People of Oso, Washington After the Mudslide
Prayer: a petition, a plea, a conversation, a deep listening, a release, a safe place, silence. There is nothing that cannot be brought to prayer. When I use the word prayer, I use it to talk about the intentional lifting up of a person, place or being before the universe or Mystery. So this morning, I ask you to join me in lifting up the people of Oso.
We lift up those who been forever lost
Those whose whereabouts are still unknown
Those left with the uncertainty
Those who grieve
We lift up the rescuers, professional and volunteer
who work tirelessly to recover bodies
who clear and move the debris
who begin to repair
Clergy who accompany those who know despair
Those who have made food for the responders
Those who have offered money
All those who want to help
We lift up the media that has respected the families privacy
and we lift of the media that has speculated why anyone would build a home where an earlier mudslide gave warning as if to blame the victims
May we all learn to come to terms with the unfathomable without looking for someone to blame
May we each take a breath and be reminded of how precious and uncertain life is
We lift up those who face the task of rebuilding their lives
Those who will go on with entire family structures reshaped
Those who will try to stay and those who will decide to leave
May those who have been affected by the mudslide find healing and comfort.
May those whose lives have been lost be carried on in the stories their friends and family tell about them.
May the land and the river themselves, find peace.
To all of the people lost and alive in Oso,
You are not alone.
Prayer for the Bioneers Conference
We hold as sacred the stars that we are made of
We hold as sacred the interplay of sun and moon, light and warmth
We hold as sacred the depth of night and breaking of each day
We hold as sacred the rain, rivers, oceans, streams, ponds, lakes- all the waters of creation
We hold as sacred the wind and breezes, all the air that life breathes
We hold as sacred the forests whose trees mark time
We hold as sacred the mountains and rocks and stone, sculpted and shaped by elemental, primal forces
We hold as sacred the animal companions of the earth, water and air with whom we share this world
We hold as sacred each footstep taken in the pursuit not of one truth but of many truths
We hold as sacred the Great Mysteries of life
And we hold as sacred the gift and responsibility for stewardship of this precious creation.
Words for a Community
We come from the east
We come from the south
We come from the west
We come from the north
We come from the mountains
We come from the plains
We come from the rivers
We come from the valleys
We come from the deserts
We come from the oceans
We come from the heart
We come from the spirit
We come from the mind
We come from the soul
Seeking return to a place
As yet, only imagined
Some rooted in tradition
Some shying away from a tenacious hold
Some weighted under heavy baggage
Wanting to be born anew
chalking a new vision
bearers of dreams, hope, pain, gifts
bearers of tales, myths, and legends
Pagan, Christian, Atheist, Seeker, Jew, Theist, Buddhist, Panentheist, Humanist, Mystic, Indigenous, Unnamed- All:
Rivers winding, searching out the sea
Cutting their way along banks and distant shores still wild.
Tell us your story
That we may hear beyond your words
Know that the beating and trembling of your heart
Echoes in each of ours
We will hold the mirror for you asking
That you do the same for us
Sure that in the mass of images
Something larger is reflected
Drawing us to all that was and is and will be.
What we spin and what we weave,
(each one of us the weaver,
each one of us the thread,)
wraps us round each other-
Dusk to dawn
may you be held in the arms
of sweet mystery.
Wish once upon the first star
give yourself over
dream to dream
tended by night angels
who bless the world
while you find blessed rest
till day wakes us again.