O Bringer of Joy, awaken my heart; pour your love and blessings through all my being! Free me from attachments and desire, that I may become a clear mirror reflecting your love to the world.
God loves you as many as ways light sparkles upon the waters.
In the darkness I reflect upon the waters interplaying
with the sun, causing shimmering with sparkles of light.
Seagulls squeal and dance, blessing fields and water
and sipping from the abundant flow with delight!
A short time later, God’s creation fascinates me in the
brightly colored fish, fine insects, and fresh breezes
approaching from all directions, causing waves to crisscross
with the smooth sheets of crystal-clear water on the pond.
Yet at this time of night the appearance of everything is softer, yet more intense.
Listening with the ear of my heart to ceaseless waves
washes away pain and initiates healing and peace as the
grace of the unfaltering presence of Creator brings ease
through closeness to water, wood, rock, fire, and air.
Two friends and I tread cautiously in the darkness
Gazing up at the wonder in the heavens above.
There is safety in the order of the planets, constellations,
and stars, and their divine placement in the Milky Way.
How good it is to be in this holy place, listening
to the whisper of God in voices all around.
Sensing the holy in the fresh air and familiar scent
of fish in the pond. Truly tasting the goodness of God!
In each gift of dawn, daytime, dusk, and night
God continues to appear in new and wild ways.
Thanksgiving flows from our hearts for blessings
which measure as many as the stars in the sky.
*translation by Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying
In a neighborhood that exists only in the memories of children who grew up decades ago, my two older brothers and I skip and trot to the grocery store on Scott Street in Council Bluffs. My oldest brother stuffed the few dollars into his jeans pocket. We would buy the bread and sugar that our mother requested and could spend the remainder on penny candy. Upon arriving Mrs. Beasley would assist us and place the food by the large brass register, while we scanned the jars behind the counter. This day will I choose to get one Slo-Poke sucker or one candy necklace? Or will a white paper bag filled with Sixlets, a stick of red licorice, a Neapolitan, a Bit O’Honey, and a Mary Jane be decided upon today?
The decisions of a child were simpler in those days. Choosing a candy necklace over a bag of penny candy would likely affect the degree of stickiness that day but would not change the world.
Today I imagine going to that neighborhood grocery and seeing jars with labels such as “anxiety,” “a sense of wonder,” “fear,” “trusting God,” and “breathing in peace.” What we choose does have life-changing implications because it affects the way we pray, treat others, and live out God’s call in our own neighborhoods and families.
May we choose the spaces that make us sticky with faith and the love of Christ as we take care of one another and of Mother Earth.
God’s love and peace to you, dear ones,
-Rev. Marta Wheeler
St. Paul Benson, Omaha, NE