Monday, November 29, 2010

Watching 11

More watching over Thanksgiving weekend—in person this time, not long distance. Miscellaneous reflections:
On asking for forgiveness: Romans 3:23. We're all assholes.

Our tragedy is the hospice nurses' job. What is for us a massive disruption, a giant rip in the fabric of our lives, is for them one stop in their daily routine.

I hate the metaphor of "fighting." Terminal illness isn't a war to be won; it's a natural process taking its course. Why should she be made to feel that she needs to be "a fighter"? That she needs to "be brave"?

You stay up watching because it makes you feel like you're doing something when you know in fact there's nothing you can do.

Watching makes me a witness—the connection is right there, in the visual metaphor. But to whom am I witnessing? And what for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Watching 10

God answered me in the day of my distress,
and was with me in the way I went.
(Genesis 35:3)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Watching 9

Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I
when my heart is overwhelmed.
From the end of the earth
I will cry to you,
for you have been my shelter.
I will trust in the covert of your wing.
(from Psalm 61)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watching 8

I will send you the Comforter,
which shall teach you the way
whither you should go.
Therefore, fear not.
(D&C 79:2, 4)

Watching 7

Remember the promises that were made to you:
that God would extend his arm and support you,
and be with you in every time of trouble.
(D&C 3:5, 8)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Watching 6

The life of my servant will be in my hand.
I will go before you, and I will be your rearward.
(3 Nephi 21:10, 29)


God of life and death—

It seems that a crisis has passed,
but we are all still waiting for the end.
I don't know whether to ask you to take her,
so that her suffering will end,
or for you to give her the time
to do whatever she still desires to do.

I'm understanding why silence can be prayerful—
real honest-to-God silence,
not talking to you voicelessly in my head and calling it silence.

So I'm silent.
That is my prayer.

In Christ's name, amen.

Watching 5

I will go before you and be your rearward.
(D&C 49:27)

I will bear you up as on eagle's wings.
(D&C 124:18)

Watching 4

He is above all things,
and in all things,
and through all things,
and round about all things,
forever and ever.
(D&C 88:41)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Watching 3

I am the Lord your God
and will be with you
even to the end of the world
and through all eternity.
(D&C 132:49)

I am the same who leads you to all good.
(Ether 4:12)

Watching 2

O Lord,
according to their faith,
which is in you,
give them strength.
(1 Ne. 7:17)

Watching 1

He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee.
He began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
He said to them:
My soul is extremely sorrowful,
to the point of death.
Stay here, and watch with me.
(Matt. 26:37-38)

When they came to the place call Calvary,
they crucified him . . .
And the women who followed him from Galilee,
stood at a distance, watching.
(Luke 23:33, 49)


You wanted people to watch with you at the end.
I am watching and praying, from a distance,
because apart from that—
and apart from letting them know that I am doing it—
there is nothing else I can do.

I pray that she will feel your presence accompanying her.
I pray that her pain will be controlled.
I pray that he will have the strength and discernment he needs.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taize service, November

I led the usual first-Friday Taize service this weekend. Here are the scriptural readings I rendered and the prayers I composed for the occasion. The service was oriented toward the feast of All Saints and therefore toward remembering all those who have served God.

Next month's service will fall in Advent. I'm working on preparing a service that will focus on Christ as the Son of Mary. Christ doesn't just drop out of heaven into the manger: he grows in a womb, he enters the world by way of a birth canal. In other words, Christ enters the world through Mary. I hope this won't prove too abstract a connection, but I want to create a service that will invite reflection on the people and communities through whom Christ enters our lives, and the ways in which God calls us to be instruments through whom Christ enters the lives of others—through whom Christ is born in the lives of others.



All your creatures give thanks to you, Holy One!
All your saints extol you!
They proclaim the glory of your reign
and tell of your power.

Your people make known to all your mighty deeds
and the splendor of your rule.
Your reign is everlasting,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

To all your promises, you are faithful, Holy One,
and all your deeds reveal your kindness.
You catch all who stumble;
you lift all who struggle under heavy loads.

All your creatures look to you
to feed them in due season.
You open your hand,
and their hunger is satisfied.

All your ways are just, Holy One;
all your deeds are done in love.
All who call to you from their hearts
will find you there beside them.

You hear the yearnings of all who worship you;
you hear their cries and take action.
For this I will praise you!
I will join with all your creatures in blessing your holy name forever!



I pray that God,
by a spirit of wisdom and revelation,
will illuminate your heart
with a vision of the hope to which you are called—
a vision of the abounding glories
which God has promised to the saints.

May you glimpse the immeasurable greatness
of the power with which God works on our behalf!
It is the same power
by which Christ was raised from the dead
and elevated to sit at God’s right hand,
far above every other authority on earth or in heaven.

For our sake,
God has placed Christ above all things.
Christ is the head; we are the body.
Christ fills all—and we are that fullness.


LUKE 6:20-23, 27-28

Jesus said:

To be poor is a blessing—
you have God’s kingdom for your inheritance!

To be hungry now is a blessing—
later you will eat your fill!

To grieve now is a blessing—
later you will laugh for joy!

It is a blessing to be hated,
excluded, reviled, or defamed
for the sake of the Promised One.
Be glad when that happens! . . .
They used to treat the prophets the same way.

But listen:
Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who mistreat you.



Holy One, we praise you for all your saints—
for all those in whom your righteousness shines.

For all who provide care to others—we praise you.
For all who speak and work for justice—we praise you.
For all who promote peace and break down walls of separation—we praise you.
For all who teach words of life and proclaim good news—we praise you.
For all who provide models of prayer and contemplation—we praise you.
For all who labor in tedious or thankless causes for good—we praise you.
For all who have been instruments of your love in our lives—we praise you.

For the grace to serve you in compassion, courage, and power,
we pray to you, Christ our God.



Christ our light,
your grace shines
in holy lives and holy labors;
and as far as the light reaches,
the flame of your love
is kindled in human hearts.