Prayers from the Island An Ever-Burning Light

An Ever-Burning Light

The days grow shorter and shorter.  At supper’s end we turn on the lights, circles of brightness in the house.  The decks are dark now, empty of flowerpots.  Only the cacti receive illumination, light pooling outside the window.  From the deck stars seem numberless.  I watch as did the ancients, those who walked in darkness until they were given the light of hope.  Those people believed in a promise, but I have been given the light made flesh.  When I am surrounded by this deep darkness, I can better appreciate how precious the thought of light must have been.  Without streetlights or electricity, without flashlights or lanterns, their nights were black and unrelenting.  Shadows must have cast terrifying images against small fires that brought warmth and a ring of safety.  We have been given a light that continues to shine through the ages, a light born in Bethlehem and raised from a borrowed grave.  A light from Heaven returned to Heaven, a light that illuminates the past, present, and future.  Oh Lord, especially at this time of year, I thank you for the Light—a light that shines on my path here and now and leads me to a glorious future. Amen.

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Mine!Mine!

I watched a gull with a large fish in his mouth bent over at the edge of the beach.  He seemed worried that I would steal the fish from him, and so tried to pick it up and fly, but the weight made flight almost impossible.  Again and again, the fish fell from his beak, once almost slipping into the ocean and escaping.  I stopped my walk so the bird could eat the fish in peace, but he was convinced I would grab it, still trying to hurry it to safety.  I felt sorry for the gull; I didn’t want his fish and would have avoided him if I could.  Sadly, I am sometimes like that gull, so worried that others will take from me what is “mine”, that I risk losing it in the very act of protecting it!  In church I sing that all I have is a gift from God, and yet in my daily life I label “Mine!” too often, spending my energies, like the gull, protecting what is in no danger of loss and losing what is most valuable.  Forgive me, Lord, when I worry more about what is mine than about what is yours.  Help me share generously as you have so richly shared with me. Amen.

Sand EverywhereSand Everywhere

Sand!  There is sand everywhere in my house!  When I walk on the beach wearing shoes and socks, the sand finds its way to my bare feet, nestles between my toes, and sticks to my ankles.  If I’m barefooted, I try to wash off the sand before entering the house, but the stairs have their own sandy coating, so I replace one layer of sand with another.   My carpet sometimes looks pale beige, so evenly does a sand layer coat it.  I’m reminded of the Psalmist who found God everywhere he looked—in the deepest chasm or the highest clouds.  I can better appreciate that sense of omnipresence when I think of sand—blowing, filming adhering, and surrounding me–inescapable.  I thank you, Lord for your ability to penetrate my life at every level—wherever I look and touch, you are there. Amen.

 

LossLoss

A neighbor stopped by this morning with the sad news that there was a drowning yesterday on the island.  High winds and rip tides made the gulf water dangerous.  Apparently one person was in trouble, and another went out to assist but he was pulled into the waves and vanished.  How terribly sad!  What was obviously intended as a wonderful day of laughter and fun, of a picnic lunch and swimming turned into a day of tragedy and loss.  In the midst of life we are in death—suddenly the hours are robbed of their joy, only grief and sadness left in their wake.  We live in a broken world, a world where our human frailty Is most evident.  I think of this family whose lives will change because of this day; I think too of God who grieves with them, whose love for the lost individual exceeds their own.  My prayer, Lord, is for peace, comfort and strength in the days ahead.  May those who mourn feel your presence; may they, even in the midst of their loss, find reasons to celebrate a life filled with joyful times.  Only you, dear Lord, can bring them your peace and courage for the hours to come. Amen.