Sunday, July 9, 2017

Prayers: I love you.

I finally got a Loren hug today. It had been a few weeks -- we just kept missing each other.

Philip walked Luise down from the communion rail, because someone always offers Luise an elbow to hold for support. It's one of my favorite things about Bethel.

I sat in the back, with Sam and Aaron. We giggled some. Well, me and Sam did. Aaron should be protected, as the innocent person that he is.

I went to the grocery store after church, always an act of bravery. I wore my headphones, my new coping skill for grocery shopping. It helps tremendously.

Max is passed out next to me in bed right now. I'm going to try and tinker with a poem that I've been tinkering with for so long that I figure it's either a) slowly, slowly getting better or b) just not good.

I started my Sunday where I start most Sundays: in my office, at Panera, writing prayers. For the church I love. To bring us all a little hope, and happiness, and peace. Pray along with us if you please.


For another day of life, we give thanks. For a chance to be caught off guard by laughter. To eat potato chips with our bestie. To take a nap, or maybe catch up on laundry, if folding things into colorful squares, hot from the dryer, helps to soothe us. We thank you for this week, for a day off from work to celebrate the freedoms we have in this nation. Freedom to speak the things on our hearts, freedom to vote for our leaders and policies, and above all, freedom to worship You without fear. May you continue to hold Bethel and all houses of worship up as safe havens, where people can rest their tired hearts, unload their heavy minds, and hear a voice that says, “You. I love you.”

For those of us who are down on ourselves today, lift our chins. Lift us from the land of self-punishment, rinse the mud from our legs where it’s caked because we’ve pushed ourselves down into it for so long. Remind us that we were not made to lie with the hogs in the barn, but you have set a place at your table to break bread with you. Let us know, deep in our bones, that we don’t have to hide from you the disappointment we feel when we snap at our kids, when another year goes by and we didn’t get that promotion. Let us know we can talk to you, always and forever, and you will pour more wine and say, “You. I love you.”

We ask this morning for continued peace in our city, our country, and our world. With missile tests and airstrikes, with homelessness and temperatures both on the rise, it is hard to know which way is up. May we continue to be moved as a congregation in the direction of social justice, to follow Your word and fight for the underdog. May we not be afraid of downtown, may we not be afraid of downtown traffic. May we not be afraid of that part of our heart that’s afraid of the stranger, the neighbor, the fellow child of God. May we not be afraid to go to them and tell them: “You. We love you.”

Now for the hard part. When we look in the mirror. When we confess to our therapist. When we apologize to our sibling for our years of silence. When we eat allll the leftover pie. When we look at our vision board and see our visions are still just cut out pieces of paper, and we still don’t have the dream job or the dream boyfriend or the dream house. When we write in our journal and tears fall hot on the pages, obscuring our words even as we’re trying to make sense of those. Help us. Let us know, with all your out-of-this-world power, that you CAN and WILL help us. You will lift us, and take us to that glass, splintered by our shame. You will lock our eyes with our reflection, and open our mouths, and help us say the words to ourselves: “You. I love you.”

As we go into this week, may we all feel some true love from somebody out there in this giant space. Whether it’s our kiddo, our spouse, our friend in Boston, our hilarious coworker – may we all feel wrapped up in some cozy human comfort. And like a double rainbow, may we not miss it when it happens. May we rush outside, call others to join us, to look and see! Let us feel the relief of the stressful storm behind us, the cool humid air holding us aloft, recognizing the miracle that someone is saying to us and we get to say in return: “You. I love you.”

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