Thoughts Between Sundays

Some of what crosses my mind between Sundays

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Bedtime Prayer

it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
new joys,
new possibilities.
In your name we pray.

(From A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.184)

The daily prayer list for our church and a link to the lectionary can be found on our church website.


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Hopital Ste. Croix Update

Here is an update from John and Suzi Parker – -they are blogging now, and you can follow along on their adventures.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers as you pray for Haiti.

If you look at the pictures on the top of their blog, look at the photo on the right — they are the couple in the left of that photo.  John is in the white t-shirt, Suzi in the blue scrub top.

On Saturday as I was driving back from Nashville, I was wondering how many of the hygiene kits we made at family night, about a month ago in response to the Haiti earthquake may be on their way to Chile now or in the near future…

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It was Grace that started me thinking about this writing space — not Grace-with-a-capital-G-Jesus-Grace, but grace said before meals.  A specific meal.  The first Friendship Table dinner I worked at with the Deacons left me with thoughts that seemed worth sharing and a wondering where and how to share them.  Here we are, several months later, and as we prepare for another Friendship Table meal, I am thinking about grace, once again.

I had been told that the honor of saying grace before the Friendship Table meal is served is usually reserved for 2 of the guests who come each week.  It is one of those unwritten rules.  This week, neither of the men who usually offered grace were there; I asked one of the Deacons if I should offer to bless the meal.  She thought for a moment and said maybe we could see if anyone else would like to bless the food.  I welcomed our  visitors, and then extended the invitation to those waiting in line – -“would anyone like to bless the meal?”  There may have been the sounds of pins dropping, some crickets chirping, and then a man in an orange t-shirt raised his hand and said “I would.”  I asked his name, and he said “Tom*”

“Tom, please pray for us.”

I honestly do not remember the prayer he prayed.  You could tell it was one he had learned in childhood and had been saying all his life.  Maybe it was “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest” or “God is great, God is good.”  It was honest.  It was heartfelt.  A few minutes later, I passed by his table, and he waved me over.

“It’s been a long time since anyone asked me to say the blessing.  Thank you for the honor.”

The honor of saying the blessing.  Those words are words that are still making me think.  In my line of work I get asked to pray over a lot of meals. Sometimes, these prayers can feel routine – -the room quiets for a momentary pause in conversation and then the buzz continues right where it left off.  These prayers do not mean any less than the ones I pray in worship or in hospitals or at bedsides.  But it took someone in a bright orange t-shirt to remind me that it is an honor to thank God for the meal we are eating, to thank the one who created for us the seeds that grew the grain and the people who harvested it.  There are people who are never asked to say grace – maybe they are not seen as articulate enough, or holy enough.  There are people who refuse to say it when asked – -they worry their words for God are not good enough for everyone to hear.  The thought that either of these scenarios would be true breaks my heart, and yet they are.

I also have wondered if perhaps there are ways to extend this honor to more of you.  Sunday, I was asked to bless the brunch before worship, and it was not until just now (on Tuesday) that I thought, “I wonder if anyone else would have liked to have done that.”  I wonder what will happen if I just ask someone to say the blessing?

What I learned from Tom that day was that the words don’t have to be fancy, poetic, or long.  Just honest — and not always said by the ones we expect to say them.  I have seen the the most beautiful blessings said by the most unlikely people.  Sometimes the words from childhood are the ones that say the most:

God is great.

God is good.

And we thank God for our food

By God’s hands we all are fed

Thank you God for daily bread.


*Name changed