Prayers from the Island An Empty Island

An Empty Island

The weather is turning cooler now, as autumn has muted the island colors. What was once bright green is now gold, caught in the moment between 14-karat luster and nondescript tan. While holly and pine needles retain their jade color, sand and leaves blend and merge into a pattern of late fall. How empty the island seems during the period after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving! When we walk on the beach now, we see no one else. The roads are empty of leisure vehicles—rental bikes, mopeds, scooters, and golf carts. Ghost crabs have found dens below the sand’s surface, prepared to remain hidden during the coldest time of the year. At night rental houses are empty; only neighbors’ lights shine in the darkness, mirroring the stars above. It’s a time of year both serene and sad, as if summer dreams dissolved in the warm ocean water, leaving only disappearing sea foam. Both the year and I have aged, days passing in glorious beauty, but moving into a slower, more contemplative mode. Perhaps I too need to become more silent, turning for conversation to God, listening less to the summer noises that still echo. Please, lord, help me find joy in all seasons of the year. May your presence beside me provide reason to celebrate with quiet joy and peaceful harmony. Amen.

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Boat in a Lightning Storm

Rocky BoatRocky Boat

 A strong line of high winds and thunderstorms passed through last night in the deepest hours of darkness when the world seems most vulnerable and a house’s shell most fragile.  I lay awake, watching the flashes of lightning, hearing the thunderclaps, feeling the impact of wind and rain against my windows.  Living in a city provides a sense of protection with houses almost touching and wide paved areas impenetrable to rain.  Here on the island each of us is exposed, open expanses for sheets of water and wind to explore, wide windows and doors for branches to crash, pine cones that strike like missiles.

I can understand how the disciples must have felt in their storm-tossed boat on the sea, so fearful they woke Jesus.  He rose and quieted storm.  Sometimes I feel as if the boat of my life is rocking out of control, and I want to make certain Jesus isn’t sleeping, ignorant of my plight.  Please, Lord, quiet the storms in my life, both those that rage within and without.  Grant me the faith to outwait the storm, faith to know you are not asleep. Amen.

Boat in a Lightning Storm

Growing AnewGrowing Anew

Sometimes I see a live starfish on the beach that has lost one of its arms, perhaps in a skirmish, perhaps because of a fishing hook. A biological station nearby on the mainland is attempting to discover how starfish are able to reproduce missing appendages; what triggers in them the ability to generate nerve tissue so the new limb has full feeling? Obviously the research is vital for humans as well, since we lack the capacity to regrow arms and legs that have been amputated. When I see a starfish with a budding limb, newly forming, I appreciate the small miracle before me. But there are greater miracles than these, my faith tells me. Because of my deliberate refusal to obey God, to accept his role in my life, to live as He demands, I inhabit a body corrupted by sin. And yet, through God’s grace, I am continually reformed, reshaped, and reanimated, able to grow from a sinful past into a perfected state. I thank you, Lord, that you allow me to regrow my spirit and my faith, deepening, extending, and regenerating in me your presence and your grace. Amen.

Calming the SeaCalming the Sea

I read today the story of Jesus calming the storm when his disciples were frightened.  No wonder this miracle has such power to impress; certainly the power of the sea is undisputed.  Old maps identify sunken ships and divers try to unearth treasure buried under the sea’s sands.  Anyone who can control the sea possesses the ultimate power over the planet, which is mostly ocean.  How appropriate the same God who created the seas and who parted them to provide land is the God who can calm them or cause them to produce net-breaking loads of fish for his disciples.  Heavenly Father, sometimes I forget your sublime power because our relationship is so close and personal.  Forgive me for making you too small; help me appreciate your power, your grandeur and your glory—forever. Amen.