August 1 2020
We find ourselves at the beginning of a new month that had very different expectations than what we had for the August of this year. It was meant to be a month where we were anticipating school again, finishing our summer of fun with the excitement of meeting new friends and teachers. We still have that, but it feels differently than any year in my memory. It has some of the same anticipations, but somehow there is trepidation at the newness of what the world has put before us. Help our teachers, parents, students and everyone who is struggling with the new reality understand that we are not impervious and free to do all we want. Be with us as we transition from summer to whatever the school year has to offer. May we find new ways to react to new realities that allow us to find joy and wonder as we move into this new academic year. Amen
August 2 2020
Today is the Sabbath day, and I wonder whether I am truly ready to live into Sabbath. Am I ready to let go and let this day be one of rest and refreshment, joy and worship to you O God? While for some, Sunday is not Sabbath, help them to find it at some other time. I am truly challenged by taking time to separate myself from what the world deems important and simply live in thanksgiving of all that you do for me. I am somehow afraid that the challenges of the world will be greater if I take Sabbath time, even though I know in my heart that I may actually be able to face them better if I take the time to not let them dominate me and wear me down. Help us to find, in a world that wants to wear us down, a place to recharge our batteries so that we can do the works you would have us do and even greater things than we can ask or imagine. Amen
August 3 2020
O Lord God, let me see the world as my pet does. As a dog lover, I know that they see the world in the most optimistic ways. They have almost no memories of my sins. I know also as a former cat owner, that I am not only imperfect but will receive attention when the cat decides. As an owner of an aquarium, I know that there are wonders I truly don’t understand, but admire their beauty. What I want is to know that I am loved, challenged and also inspired by what I do not yet know. May the love I have for my family member pets be as great as they have for me. Amen
August 4 2020
More than 20 years ago, I was introduced by my parents to Henri Nouwen’s writing. He insisted that I read “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” That began for me a love of his writing. He seemed much more human, and I found his humility and willingness to be vulnerable in his writings refreshing. It was nice to see someone struggling for answers. Because of that book, I found the parable to be very powerful and that I have been all of those characters at one time. Oddly enough, I don’t think there is enough attention paid to the older brother’s story. I have challenged artist friends of mine (selfishly on my part) to do their own rendition of the story. One of the most powerful examples of that was a series by Jean Mason who gave Heather and me two of that series because each talked to one of us specifically.
Oh Lord God, as I ponder what it is to be the prodigal son so many times in my life, help me when I wander along that path to be reminded that in your company even the least of us has a greater place than where we are. When I find myself as the older brother, disappointed that I didn’t get the return I thought I deserved, to recognize how truly blessed I am with the inheritance I already have been given and what is ahead for me. And when I find myself as the father who has watched his children in both places be thankful for the return of what was lost and grateful to those who stayed while I was so challenged by the fear of that which might be lost. Help me be thankful for a God that wants us to follow him, return to him when wayward, and be forgiven and fully reunited with him. Amen
August 5 2020
Beirut has always been a special place for me. When I joined the Army I chose Arabic as my language because of the bombing of the Marine Barracks, thinking I would get to go to the Middle East (that plan was flawed, I got as far as New Jersey). I dreamed of visiting Lebanon from the first time I heard of it at the Defense Language Institute when my Lebanese professors spoke of its beauty. In the summer of 2017, I got the chance to visit Beirut as a part of my Sabbatical and it was the trip of a lifetime. I am so thankful I went and was crushed yesterday to hear of the blast that killed and injured so many. I have been close to those places. It is a country that has had such an important role in our world’s civilization and I pray for all those affected by this blast and that it was truly an accident and not an attack to bring war back to the region.
O Lord our God, so often you speak of the Cedars of Lebanon, and the country has been throughout most of its history one where people of varied religious beliefs lived in peace. I am grateful to have seen its beauty, history and people, first hand. We who have grown up when that peace was shattered and never knew its previous glory, pray for peace. We pray that the beauty and wonder of what was once known as the Riviera of the Middle East may return so that people may once again understand the importance of Lebanon in history. May we one day see and celebrate the Jeita Grottos, Ruins of several civilizations and religious history built upon each other, the glory of the Cedars and the phenomenal people who have endured so much. May all those who have been affected by violence and the most recent event be comforted and protected. May we as a world stand up to support all places of conflict in ways that bring peace and prosperity. May your love shine through the challenges that are ahead for the city and people of Beirut and may they feel the power of our prayers for them. All this I ask in the name of the God who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies. Amen
August 6 2020
I am thankful when I am given the gift of seeing God in what someone is doing around me. I have watched people throughout this season of COVID make the choice to be a blessing to others. I am grateful that we still have people who are more interested in keeping others safe, fed and with a roof over their head. May we, as we continue to struggle through figuring out what God is calling us to do, remember that we are at our best when we serve people unconditionally not worrying about whether they merit it, and living into the love to which began early in our scriptures with the story of Ruth. A Moabite princess who having been widowed still stood beside Naomi and showing what faith through a time of pain and struggle brings us at the other end into new and wonderful opportunities. She was willing to follow her mother-in-law and said, “your people will be my people, your God will be my God, and where you die, I will die.” May we become one in love for another. AMEN
August 7 2020
Lord God, this morning I am thinking about the many who are affected by the times in which we find ourselves. The many small businesses who are carrying inventory that normally would have sold by now who are wondering what to do next. The people who are living paycheck to paycheck trying to figure out how to live on much less. The landlords who aren’t getting income who don’t want to lose tenants but also can’t afford to not receive their income. The families of those caring for us in hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities who are worried about those workers. I pray that this pandemic and all the other fallout from it may end. AMEN
August 8 2020
You, O God, are a God that wants us to be in relationship with you.
We are a people that want that relationship to be on our terms.
We would prefer if you made what we want happen soon
One who will support our expectations and preconceived notions of right and wrong
You, however, make us see that we need to see the world much more broadly
You want us to see the world as something we should improve for others
You expect us to love those we struggle to even like
You are a God that challenges us to become better each day.
We would rather not be challenged
We would like to remain comfortable
For many of us the status quo feels better than taking the chance to change
You, instead, would have us rise to those challenges
You want us to do more than we can ask or imagine because of You
When we live like that, we will begin to become the world you intend for us. Amen
August 9 2020
My former Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson, would often use the word “Beloved” when he preached. He used that word in a way that gave it so much power and grace. Every time I use or hear that word I get a sense of what God was saying to Jesus and by extension to us, “You are my son, the Beloved. With you I am well pleased” Mark 1:11 NRSV. I find it comforting to see myself as a beloved child of God.
Lord God, I know that you see us a beloved.
May I be worthy of that title in my thoughts and actions
May I treat others as beloved children of God.
May that sense of Beloved-ness shine through this day.
Lord God, I know that you want our joy to be complete.
May I be joyful throughout this day
May my joy infect others and give them strength
May the joy you desire permeate this day.
Lord God, help us to live our lives recognizing ourselves as beloved.
August 10 2020
Sometimes I struggle to pray
It is not that I don’t have an avenue for prayer, it is that I search for the words I think will most let you know how I feel.
It is always less about what I want, and more about me feeling your presence. I have long ago understood that simply being thankful for and asking for recognition of your presence has given me so much more than any time I have asked for a specific response.
I have found that you move mountains in my prayers and often ones far greater and more important than the ones I expected to be moved. The glory of those moves inspire me to look for your miracles in ways I never imagined.
What I know is that when I am searching for the right words, I know I should just be silent and wait for what you have in store for me, and when I have the words to express them with all the emotion I have so that I have honored the passion you have given me.
Help us all to find our prayer avenue. Amen.
August 11, 2020
Mold us into who you would have us be
Help us to build upon the work of those who have gone before
May we be willing to give up some of our comfort in order that others may be made whole and well.
Let us become agents of change who work to bring about the jubilee that we have never been able to obtain.
May we make it so that all of your creation is fed, housed and given the opportunity succeed.
Allow us live fully into the commandment to love one another as you love us.
Give us the strength to stand up for those who are oppressed. Help us to see you in the people we meet, and especially those who for some reason we find ourselves uncomfortable or scared.
Make us a new creation today. AMEN
August 12 2020
Dear God, I am looking at the past few months that I have been deliberately praying and writing down those prayers and am somehow grateful for how this pandemic has changed me. Previously, my prayer life was more focused on living my life as prayer and not trying to find any deeper meaning or more personal deliberate prayer life. I have always known you were there and have never doubted that you knew where I was. I often struggled to find the words to say what I needed to say to you and would instead celebrate that my handy BCP (Book of Common Prayer for you non-Episcopalians) would provide the words I needed. I am truly grateful for what that book gave me over the years, and am even more thankful that this time has given me words of my own. Thank you God for all you give us in the time when we most need it. Amen
August 13 2020
Lord God, during this time of COVID, it has been easy to forget people dealing with all the other illnesses, cancers and surgeries and other medical procedures that are more regular challenges in our lives. While we have focused our attention on all the people struggling with the present pandemic, there have been many others who have been either going through treatments or having had them postponed. Today I want to focus on them, O God. May I remember the ones who have finished, begun, or waited for radiation, chemo, surgeries. Help the people who have had surgeries when no one from the family could enter the hospital to be comforted. For those who have ”rung the bell” congratulations, well done. I cannot imagine the additional anxiety that the virus has put on them and their families. I pray that they know we all are aware of the additional burden they are carrying and that they are truly feeling the prayers we have for them. Be with them and help them to feel the presence of your Holy Spirit. Amen
Artichokes are perhaps one of my favorite things to eat. It is in the thistle family, and it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I first saw one in bloom. The deep purple of the choke is like looking at an sea anemone, stunningly beautiful.
Lord God, you show your beauty in ways that surprise us. Your creation is full of surprises that feed our imaginations. May I let the ideas and experiences of this day blossom. May I be patient enough to see things through. Let me revel in the speed with which you would have me live this day and not be rushed to the next thing on my to do list, and instead live my day as fully as possible. Make me aware of the beauty around me and let me enjoy the journey this day has in store for me. Amen
August 15 2020
Lord God, I am remembering my teachers today for some reason. I remember my second grade teacher Miss Paragalini (sp) and so many others who fed the passions that were developing in me. I am thankful for Nancy Meyers, who saw this completely distracted kid that would not disrupt the class if you gave him a book. She somehow saw that I could be dually engaged in class and whatever book she gave me. For Dave Bean who gave me a passion for history and for Tad Lasonczyk and Mrs Wimmer who helped me truly love music. For Kawther Hakim whose sarcasm and passion for Arabic taught me to have fun with the young people I get to work with. There are so many others, and this prayer would be incredibly long if I named them all. I am truly sorry for the teachers who hoped to get me passionate about math. They were incredible teachers. As we begin this new school year, O God, continue to endow the teachers with the passion and awareness to help students be as blessed as I was. Amen.
August 16 2020
It is the dawn of a new day. Help me to see the beauty of the sunrise and anticipate all the wondrous things that will happen today. May I see with joy the opportunities before me and respond in love to those I meet today. When challenges are before me, let me see them for what they are. Let me defer judgment when I am tempted to get frustrated or angry and instead see ways to learn from whatever is distressing me. As my day goes on, help me to see the changing colors of the day as ways to refocus on the great things that are before me. And when the day ends may I see the sunset in it’s glory celebrating a day we lived. AMEN
August 17 2020
O Lord our God, Creator of the Universe I thank you for giving us our senses. So often the one that dominates my day is visual. Today let me use all of my other senses. May I listen fully, paying attention to the sounds of your creation, the dog’s bark, the bird’s song and all the myriad voices. Let me take in the aromas of the day, the flowers, the food cooking, even the ones that challenge me, and understand the gift of smell. May I taste in every way possible. Let me somehow find in this day a smorgasbord of flavors. Lastly may I recognize the power of touch. Let me feel the textures of the day, when I pet the many dogs in my life may I recognize how different they are from the Bloodhound all the way down to the Chihuahua mix puppy, the beauty of the morning kiss and all that help us feel close to one another. Again, thank you for giving us so many ways to experience the variety of your creation. Amen
August 18, 2020
O Lord our God,One of our adopted Daughters is experiencing her first day as a college freshman. She moved in yesterday and it was hard for her. It is so hard that first day when you are truly on your own. I remember how it felt to be suddenly on my own. Be with her this day. Help her to feel the presence of you this day. May the anxiety of being suddenly on her own become a way for her to truly express who she intends to be in life. Let her feel the presence of the prayers of those who love her. May she know that she is never alone. God be with you Miss Savannah. Know we love and support the little girl who looked over our fence waiting to meet your chosen sisters and additional parents who are there for you. Amen
August 19 2020
Redeemer God, guide me this day and help me to look at those with whom I interact as beautiful children of God needing to feel your love. May I be present to them and give them the attention and love they need. If I interact with someone who is anxious help me to be a calming influence to them. If I am meeting with a group help me to ensure every voice is heard and may we make decisions that are true to your commandment to love one another as you love us. Amen
August 20 2020
Lord God, today our school, Mead Hall, is welcoming our students back to campus for the first time since March. Be with each student, teacher, coach, staff and parent as we gather again. Help us to to follow the guidelines we have put in place to protect each other. May we be patient with each other as we begin this school year. We ask that you guide us, protect us, and if we fall ill to heal us. Thank you for all the work our faculty and staff have done in preparing for this year. Be with those who are being called to do so much more to protect our students. All this we as in the name of our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Amen
August 21 2020
I am grateful for my friends today. For the ones that I see regularly, thank you for your presence. For the one’s that I see only online, or in posts, thank you for sharing your life with me. For those with whom I have lost contact, may we find a way to reconnect. For those who I will never see again, know that I am living a better life for having had you as a part of it and I will cherish the gift to the time we spent together. For the friends I have yet to meet, I look forward to the gift that your friendship will be. May God’s blessing be with all of you. Amen.
August 22 2020
O Lord our God, thank you for the families you have given us. The ones we were born with and the ones who have been added to our lives through choice and second marriages. Those of us who have lived through divorce and the challenges of creating new understandings of family know that it was not quite perfect. We did not know how to act, yet when we were at our best we became family. Be with all of us as we look to our families blood related and chosen. Help us to recognize the gift that they are and celebrate it. All this we ask in your name. Amen.
August 23 2020
On this day in 1984, 36 years ago, I entered the Army.
O Lord our God, be with all the young men and women who have committed their lives in service to our country. Protect them from the dangers that are all about them. Help them to know that we appreciate the commitment they have made. May they serve our country knowing that we support and love them and their families. Let us as the people benefiting form their service honor them. Be with all the Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force Service Members, Marines and Coast Guard Members as they do the work to protect our country. Help them to feel your presence as they follow a very high calling. All this we ask in your name. Amen
August 24 2020
Today, like everyday, is an opportunity to start anew. May I this day restart those things that I have put to the side or ignored. May I once again try to complete or devote the attention to projects that I want done, but for some reason have not finished. If I have been avoiding beginning something help me to make that a focus this day. Make this day also one where I can be honest enough to release the things I am never going to accomplish and either find someone who will complete it, or discard it from causing me anxiety. Lord God be with me as I go through this day. Amen
August 25 2020
I am praying today for the incredible people I have never seen face to face, but have become important to me because of how our world has become smaller from social media, from Victor Acguaye who has so reignited the idea of communion within the Anglican Communion by contacting so many of us, to the many Bishops, Priest, Deacons and Laypeople who have become my friends. Your faith and expression of it has fed me in ways I cannot appreciate enough. What I know is that there are some very great things that have happened by us being able to communicate with the world in ways we could not have imagined and that they can be used for good or evil. I choose to focus on the good and celebrate that I know more people who have so much to offer the world. I know that you O God will let it outshine what evil might do with it. Amen.
August 26 2020
Today I am praying for those who own and work at the small businesses in our communities. They are one of the most important parts of our local economy. I pray that we will support them with our purchases, and simply by visiting them to know that they are an important part of making our community what makes it special. May they make it through this time of challenge that we are all facing and may what they bring to our community continue for the years to come. All this we ask in your name. Amen
August 27 2020
O Lord our God, keep those people in harms way safe today. We ask that you protect all those in the path of the hurricane. May the damage be minimal. Be with the first responders who will be working to keep people safe. Be with the utility workers and clean up crews who will work hard to bring things back after the storm. Allow us to be patient as we either stay in place, or are evacuated. May the places to which people evacuate be welcoming and follow as many of the precautions as we can during this time where we are dealing with a natural disaster and a pandemic at once. May everyone feel your presence this day and every day. Amen.
August 28 2020
I feel the need for a pep talk today. As I begin this day O God, let me be ready for what it has in store for me. May I greet it with strength and passion. May I look at the challenges as ways to grow. Let me be willing to learn from everyone I meet. When I have to wait today, may I be patient and see it as a time for introspection. When I feel rushed, let me be willing to slow down and not miss the details I often miss. And if I am confronted with a challenge, may I respond in a way that is filled with love and compassion. All this I ask in the name of God. Amen.
August 29 2020
O Lord God, Creator of the Universe, be with us this day and every day. We know that the world is imperfect and we want to do our part to make it better. Let us be understand that others are not experiencing this day as we are. Some of us are having an easier time than others and we don’t always recognize that others aren’t as blessed as we are. Help us to be empathetic to them, and give us the ability to look to ways for them to find similar blessings as our own. Give people who are beginning to lose hope the mustard seed of hope that will allow them to blossom into something far greater than they can imagine. Let me, personally, be better at finding those times when I can lift people up in my actions this day and every day. Amen.
August 30 2020
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. As we bring a part of our church family back into church for the first Sunday since March, let us celebrate the gift that is and follow all the precautions that we are asked to follow. May we hum along even though we want to sing, may we remember all the people lost in this pandemic and honor their memories. Help us to continue to do things that will help us stem the tide of this virus. May we continue to follow you in loving our neighbor as ourselves. All this we as in the name of our Healing God. Amen
August 31 2020
Lord God, today the public schools in our town are beginning their school year, we know that it will be hard for them. I pray for them, and all schools, teachers and administrators as they attempt to provide for the needs of the students they serve. May the parents and teachers be given extra patience as they try to create an environment where learning can happen. Our educators are being asked to stretch themselves in ways that we ask very few people. They are being called to attempt to teach both remotely and live in-class learning at the same time. Help us to appreciate all they are doing. Be with the students who have to learn in ways that none of us expected. And help all of them to be protected from the virus that has caused so much damage to our lives. All this we as in your name. Amen.