A Teacher’s Prayer on the First Day of School

Lord Jesus,
merciful and patient, grant us grace, I beseech thee,
ever to teach in a teachable spirit;
learning along with those we teach,
and learning from them whenever thou so pleasest. 
Word of God, speak to us,
speak by us us, what thou wilt. 
Wisdom of God, instruct us,
instruct by us, if and whom thou wilt. 
Eternal truth, reveal thyself to us, in whatever measure thou wilt;
that we and they may all be taught of God.

Christina Rossetti

Father in Heaven, this day always brings with it internal quivers and questions.  Give me strength, I pray, for the task ahead.  Help me to work hard and to finish well.  Help me “not to hinder our children from growing in faith and love towards thee”.  Remove my selfishness and restore to me the joy of my salvation.  Keep us from distractions.  Help me to love physics, O Lord, and I will give you the glory.  Make me a blessing to my family.  Thank you for the gifts you have given.  You are my King.  Amen.

After the Diagnosis

A friend of a friend was just diagnosed with recurring cancer. 

After fumbling with words, I went to my old faithful Lutheran prayer book. 

It is a wonder how just the act of praying can calm and comfort.  Prayer reorients us.  I remember the time a girlfriend was in crisis, leaving our house in the morning on her way to the unknown.  She was trembling, shaking, heaving, sobbing.  I hurt, but felt so helpless and ineffectual.  Curt gathered us into a three person huddle; he prayed with strong, manly tones.  My friend was bestilled, becalmed, bequieted. 

Divine Savior, Shepherd of our souls,
embrace me with Thy love and protect me throughout this day.

I need Thee, for I am wounded and bruised,
sick at heart and in trouble and distress.

To Thee I come.

Forgive me all my sins in Thy mercy
and love and uphold me amid these trials and tribulations.

Strengthen my faith.

Take every doubt out of my heart and lead me into Thy Word,
which promises that Thou wilt be with me always in every situation in life.

Calm my nerves.

Make me hopeful and patient.

O Christ, have mercy upon me.
O Christ, be Thou with me now and forevermore.

Amen.

Support of All Just Measures

Most Fridays I receive an email from a friend in Zimbabwe, sharing her news and musings.  Whenever I see her email in my inbox I rejoice.   When we don’t hear from her we intensely pray for her safety and security. This morning the email began,

“I haven’t written in a few weeks largely because I didn’t know what to write. What’s to be said? That we have suspended democracy?” 

Sandy of Maple Grove and I are exchanging news we receive from our brothers and sisters in Zim. Our church is also praying for a congregation and orphanage in a section badly hit in Myanmar.  Lord, have mercy.

Prayer In a National Crisis

King of kings and Lord of lords,
Thou Lord of life and death,
protect [Zimbabwe][Myanmar] in its great need.

Let men use this great trial to turn to Thee for strength
and to find in Jesus their peace with Thee.

Let wise counsel, calm thinking, unselfish aims prevail.
Grant unity to the land and support of all just measures.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

(from the Lutheran Book of Prayer)

Keep Us Standing

from the Prayer Book this morning:

Open our understanding
that we may find joy and delight in Thy Word,
which alone can sanctify our hearts and minds.

Keep us from temptation
and let sin have no power over us.

Bless everything that we do,
that by honest labor and work
we may obtain our daily bread.

Bless our food,
our lives,
and our home
and keep us standing in Thy grace;
through Christ Jesus, our All in all.

Amen.

picture taken on Sandpoint trip

The Gift of Gavin

I remember the moment you were born, dear little Gavin. 

Your Grammy and I were sitting in the background, your Daddy holding Mama’s hand and your beloved ZhaZha (Aunt Jackie) holding her other hand.  The hospital was short-staffed; they only had time to swaddle you and set you in the warm bassinet.  The doctor and nurse needed to help your Mama. The doctor barked, “The baby needs a nurse!” to the unresponsive air.  I walked over and stood next to you, watched your little pulse.

Now I watch you pulse as you listen to music, both the sounds we all hear on the CD player and the tune that is running through your head, which only you can hear.  You are so occupied when you play alone and hold some fine conversations with yourself; and yet you are very social, poised and articulate around others.  

I know what you want, dear boy.  It is a gift from God, and I pray that He will give us that gift soon…even this year.   While we wait we are thankful – so very, very thankful – for your smile, your hugs, your kisses, your exuberance, your strong arms and legs, your precious soul. 

Happy Birthday Three Year Old!


 

Wholly Given

photo by my son Carson on the coast of California

Give Yourself Wholly
Rafael Arevalo Martinez

Fly kites with your children,
cultivate your philosophies;
give women your tenderness
and men your energy.

And at every moment, valiant, sincere,
at every moment of all your days,
give yourself wholly!

Say: “I shape always
with equal care
my clay or my gold.”
And at midday when the sun burns brightest,
like a good workman–like a good workman!
And at evenfall
play with your children, feel yourself lightened;

and at night’s coming
sleep wholly.

Give yourself wholly
until you fall motionless
in the final moment;
and when death comes,
give yourself wholly!

~ from Like A River Glorious

They who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true

from the Lutheran Book of Prayer

Lord, make me mindful
of the temptations of sinful care,
sluggish selfishness,
and impure desire,
which beset me on every side and from within.


Fishing on Boxing Day

Feather-weight snowflake-nuggets are slowing floating down from the sky.
Snow whitens.
Snow beautifies.
Snow covers.
Snow insulates.

Snow outside = cozy inside.

It would be a perfect day to snuggle up with a good book.
But I’m working on my fishing skills.
Specifically my casting.
As in, “Cast all your cares on Him for He careth for you.”

Because snow is a hazard maker.
There is much traveling for loved ones today and in the week to come.
The tally today: two flat tires, one flight caught at the last minute,
one son stranded in the snow *unstuck, hooray*, waiting for safe arrivals,
and planning for safe departures.

This adapted from the Sailor’s Prayer, LBP:

When dangerous storms arise,
hold Thy guarding hand
over our ship and its entire crew,

and dispel all fear and terror by the knowledge
that Thou art mightier than the mightiest snowstorm [waves],
and that Thou canst protect Thy children
in the raging wind and frozen ice [billows].

May Thy peace keep my whole spirit,
that my soul and body be preserved blameless
unto the great day of Thy coming,
my Redeemer and Lord.
Amen.

While casting is a good fishing skill, patience is a prerequisite.
Patience, perspective and proportion.
Snows, like fish, come and go.
The Word of the Lord remains sure and steady.

He That Is Mighty Hath Done Great Things to Me


Study for an Annunciation by Lorenzo di Credi

My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
    for behold from henceforth
    all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me;
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
    to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm:
    he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
    and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
    and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant,
     being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers,
     to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

                         ~ Song of Mary

We are learning to sing the Magnificat set to Thomas Tallis’ Dorian Service.  It is so foreign to our ears, so difficult to get the right notes even remotely at the right time.  It will be beautiful when we are on the far side of the learning curve. 

I chose this study because the pencil strokes and homely stained paper capture some of the mystery in what is one of the most mysterious, astonishing, mind-boggling events in history.  

Evacuation



While the air in southern California was choked and mucked up with smoke, charred chunks, whirling dirt, and other corruptions, the Lord saw fit to give us these blue skies yesterday.  And while half a million–a number one can barely comprehend–half a million people were evacuated, we saw the aftermath of evacuation in our little corner of the world. 

My husband, who sheriffs the front lawn for unwelcome piles, gave us a little lesson on scatology yesterday. 

Deer leave tiny little pebbles.

This thick one here is from a bear – see all the seeds in it?  Yep, we have a resident bear in the neighborhood.

I thought about taking a picture (how often do you see bear doo in your yard?) but it was too gross. 

*     *     *     *     *

Prayer for those suffering loss of homes
(taken from Lutheran Prayer Book “In Business Reverses”)

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.

O my heavenly Father, I, Thy poor, harassed child,
come to Thee for comfort, for peace, and for aid.

Thou knowest even better than I
the worries and anxious forebodings
that are troubling my heart and mind.

Whither shall I flee in my distress but to Thee,
my gracious, omnipotent Father?

Let these losses teach me the fleetingness
and vanity of all earthly riches.
Create in me that godliness
and contentment which is great gain.

Strengthen Thou me that I may remain
firmly clinging to the word of Thy promise,
Fear not, for I will never leave thee
nor forsake thee.