Prayers from the Island Beach Butterflies

Beach Butterflies

When the tide is just right, I can draw my foot in an arc at the water’s edge and sometimes reveal an array of coquina shells.  How beautiful they are, each like half a butterfly in an amazing assortment of colors.  Some are all one shade, others are striped, and others appear almost mottled.  Exposed to the light and the air, they quickly dig themselves back into the sand, almost too quickly for me to observe, using invisible feet to displace the sand.  When I find their shells open on the beach, they resemble a whole butterfly, each half duplicating the shape of a butterfly’s wing.  One of my cookbooks suggests I could boil these coquina and make a seafood broth, but I prefer to appreciate them with my eyes.  Thank you, Lord, for your bounty and your beauty.  You give us both a visible and a hidden world whose beauty is staggering.  Help me walk through the world in your company, thanking you daily for your gifts. Amen.

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Appearances are DeceivingAppearances are Deceiving

I walked today on the beach with a friend who wears shoes because of foot problems. When a cliff began to line the water’s edge and the tide was rising, she tried to climb the sand to stay dry. The sand collapsed and she fell forward. While she wasn’t hurt, my friend was shocked. “ I thought the sand would hold me!” she said in surprise as she dusted the sand from herself. “ It looked so solid!” I thought to myself of all the worldly foundations that look solid, foundations which appear to offer security and safety. Possessions, money, social standing, professional skills, intelligence—all these appear to be strong and sturdy. We rely on them so quickly and easily, until we find ourselves, like my friend, flat on the ground. I thank you, Lord, for the security and safety of your love, your promises, and your continued presence in my life. Please help me place my trust in your shore foundation. Amen.

Nourishing RootsNourishing Roots

A sign beside the beach access reminds everyone that it’s against the law to pick sea oats.  Their importance to the dune system can’t be over-emphasized, for it is the root system of the sea oats that helps form, shape, and stabilize the dunes.  This barrier repels the on-rushing water, protecting roads and homes when hurricane floods surge forward.  I think about my own root system of faith; how does God plant the seeds that help stabilize my faith when the waters of crisis roll over me?  Certainly my Bible reading helps, as does prayer that allows me time to converse and commune with God.  The sacrament of Holy Communion and the fellowship of those who share my faith also help me to nurture my faith’s roots.  I thank you, Lord that you have given me ways to strengthen my faith.  Please help me be diligent in protecting and nourishing the faith dunes that keep me safe when hard times wash over me. Amen.

Not Me!Not Me!

Oh no!  This morning a seagull flew over my head and I felt a very large splat land on my bare arm.  At first I was angry and then a bit amused, but most of all I wondered, “Why me?”  Why should that seagull choose my arm and then fly away, laughing his raucous laugh?  But then I wondered, “Why not me?”  Why should these things happen to nameless others, why should I expect to be spared when others experience pain, why do I assume I should be kept safe when others have to endure hardship?  Certainly Christ knew pain and suffering; his awareness in Gethsemane of the ordeal ahead is painfully apparent when He prayed and sweated drops of blood.  I want to be a safe Christian, someone never tested or tried, someone whose religion is pleasant and comfortable.  In my heart I want that seagull to find someone else, leave me untouched.  Forgive me, Lord, when I see safety rather than the risk of a deepening relationship with you.  Help me grow through all the experiences of life, and keep me aware that regardless of what happens, I am always in your presence. Amen.