grandson due in november

November (1 of 1)-24
a poem has been emerging over the last few months
as I remember my daughter in her first hours of breathing life
thinking about what it will be like for her to hold her son in his first hours
and how those who once held her and me and those before us,
are strangely present in the near identical blessing we have wished on one another

it wasn’t long ago
barely a breath of time
that I held you
as you breathed
your first five hundred breaths
and I held most of mine

it wasn’t long ago
that Lloyd Campbell Stewart held me
in my first week
smile on his sun-worn face
the only sign to those watching
of blessing whispering and noting
the transition, a future
warm and wriggling in his arms

it won’t be long now
’til I hold your first-born, a son –
and watching his eyes I will see
not only him,
not only my reflection,
not only you on your first day
(with saucer-like unblemished gaze)
but something of all who have gone before us,
and a glimpse of who will follow.

 

Present

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When I was at school the teacher called the roll.
When my name was called I was required to answer ‘present’.
With that answer was an invitation, even a summons,
to receive the gift of a world opening up before me.

I, of course, was not aware of the dimensions of the gift.
I often treated the classroom as a space to be endured.

Now I know better and I am having to play catch up.

resurrection

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what is right in front of me
goes missing
depending too heavily on my eyes
to convey all truth
my eyes only see what the eyes
have been trained to see

looking deeper you allow
yourself to be found
mind’s-eye dreaming
revelations and wonderings
signs and visions
fantasy and imagination

this side of resurrection
your truth comes to me

an ever renewing category
that I may know enough to know

I’ll wait for you

We said we’d walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me
Now everyone dreams of love lasting and true
Oh, but you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me
Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me
Yeah, I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me
I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me

Prayers for the Road II

The Village Church 12-3-17

When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  ‘Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:7-10

On the road that you speak into from ahead

Where are you Lord?
We ask this when we are desperate
We also ask this when we doubt
Where are you Lord that we might pray to you?

But you invite a different posture from us… daring us to ask:
Where are you Lord that we might pray with you?

And the answer is in the question ‘with’
in order to be with you, you have to be here already,
to be with you means we are to join into something already happening

You link us into your cry of love for the world
You prompt us from ahead
Your kingdom coming – not from behind like a fast train knocking us off the tracks
But from ahead – towards us…

You ahead
Coming for us
Coming in love
Linking us into your creative works

On the road we find you are already here
Thus there is no where you are not – never

Knowing that you know
we ponder what we might say
We don’t need to prompt you…
maybe you are prompting us…

We listen…

We hear the cries of our world…

This planet groaning under the weight of our carelessness…
The poor who simply want a fair share of earth’s abundance…

The dispossessed seeking home…
The suffering seeking release…
The greedy needing enlightenment…

We listen…

We hear you speaking restoration, renewal, love, healing, peace, and light
We hear you calling us and people like us to live into your future present…
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Hear our prayers…

We ask them in the name of the One
who prays to the Father in the power of the Spirit,
Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

We are sought – a prayer

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“…the Church bows before that God whom we did not seek and find
– who rather has sought and found us.” ― Karl Barth, Credo

We come, O God, at Your bidding
into Your presence we come,
but only because You have already made Yourself present

We have not and cannot conjure You
as if You are our plaything
You are who You are,
it is for us to find our place
in the space You make for us
and out of Your love,
You make such a space.
Bless you!

We are not the hosts, You are
We are not in charge, You are

We may try to switch you on and off
depending on our moods and whims and perceived needs
But you have chosen Your ‘Yes’ to us anyway
– a constant and faithful yes
We are the receivers, of Your ‘Yes.’
Bless you!

You give, You invite, You receive
You host, You forgive, You restore
You feed, You comfort, You bless.
Bless you!

You come among us, you live for us
You suffer for us, you suffer with us
You stand for us that we may grow
You stand against anything that might diminish us.
Bless you!

You bless us
and those not like us
You ask us to bless one another,
and those not like us

You announce freedom
You denounce what enslaves

You inspire, you challenge
You hold the world in love
You call the world to love as you love
Bless you!

This is all too much,
yet it is everything we need

You have chosen to be with us
We choose to be with you.
Bless you!

Bless this hour.
Bless these people.
Bless us that we may bless
in Your name and for Your sake

In the Father, for the Father, with the Father,
In the Spirit, for the Spirit, with the Spirit
In Christ, for Christ, with Christ
you bless us – every last one of us

and we, with what we can muster,
but especially with what you enable,
we, in turn, bless you!
Amen
“I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10

Prayers for the Road I

Prayers for The Road
The Village Church 5-3-17

“The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man [sic] cannot live without a song. Prayer may not save us. But prayer may make us worthy of being saved.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays

The Prayer

We’re on the road with you God
We know it
We want it
You make it
You bless it
We enjoy it – mostly!

We give thanks for the wonders of the road
the daily rhythms
the encounters
the love
the sensations
the delights

We hold before you the distresses of the road
the losses
the fears
the heartache
the brokenness
the suffering
the imbalances
the greed
the violence
the selfishness

that you meet us in these places is our blessing
that you call your world to freedom is our hope
and we pray into that hope today

We hold before you the unknown road ahead,
actually, you hold before us the unknown road ahead,
the mystery of tomorrow
the challenges
the opportunities
the imagination
the daring
the richness
and even that which will break our hearts

for you call from ahead
and meet us in the middle
you never load us with more than we can bear
and you promise life in its fullness

Thus with confidence we can make our prayers
in the name of you the maker, the teacher, and the prompter.  Amen

We Receive – a prayer

castle-hill

To receive each day is an invitation…each of us is an artist of our days 

John O’Donohue Benedictus p203-4

The Prayer by Martin Stewart

We receive
Giver of Life, we receive from you
Often without gratitude
Often as if entitled
But you give, and give, and give

Bless you!

Bless you for this unfolding day
its rhythms and surprises
its challenges and its delights
Bless you in this day

Bless you for the One who walked among us
and alerted us to your kingdom come
so alive and free
an artist of fearlessness
Bless you for his wide-eyed wonder
and the room he made for people like us

Bless you for Jesus with us still in this unfolding day
its rhythms and surprises
its challenges and its delights
Bless you in this day

Bless you for your Spirit presence
creating in us the artistry of soulfulness
alerting us, prodding us, inspiring us,
moulding us in your image
Bless you for the scent, the colour,
and the play of your attendance in everything

Bless you for your Spirit with us still in this unfolding day
its rhythms and surprises
its challenges and its delights
Bless you in this day.

We know we have become lessened
by what we have done or not done
We have also become lessened
by what has been done or not done to us
You have no need of our diminishment
nor do we
You are only interested in our restoration
so are we
And your word to us is life
food for the soul
release from captivity
light in our eyes
and hope in our days.

We receive
Giver of Life,
we receive from you with gratitude

Bless you!

Amen