Prayers from the Island Dancing Circles

Dancing Circles

I love to watch shorebirds dance in pools of water left high on the beach.  They shuffle their feet, riling the water, hoping to disturb some bit of food.  When the ponds dry, their circles are still visible, disturbed round areas where their feet have produced a tiny tempest.  If I’m honest, I’ll admit I’m sometimes like those birds, disturbing the serenity around me, stirring up trouble with a bit of gossip, an inference, an unkind remark.  It seems so trivial at the moment, but I later may find I’ve created lasting scars, visible pain to someone else.  I don’t intend to be nasty; I only mean to ‘current’, but find I’ve hurt someone.  Forgive me, Lord, when I am unkind, and give me the strength and courage to ask forgiveness from those I’ve hurt.  Teach me also to forgive those who’ve left circles of pain in my life. Amen.

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Early one morning recently, I heard a collection of birds outside my window, each of them calling, one after the other.  I was able to trace the sound to a tree near my window when I discovered, to my shock, that all of these sounds were coming from one single bird!  I was being serenaded by a mockingbird and, true to his name, this bird was mocking or mimicking the sounds of other birds—and even insects.  How remarkable this is, to think one bird could so beautifully capture the calls and the sounds of so many other sources.  I thought of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus, giving each of them the gift of communication, each in his own language.  The word of God could be told in the local tongue, whatever that may be.  Like this bird, we are given the gift of communication; we can share the story of God’s love in our own language, and it will be heard by others in their tongue.  Thank you, God, for the ability to tell of your love in every language of the world. Amen.

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.

A Sand CanvasA Sand Canvas

The sand is an ideal canvas for designs. It reacts to wind and rain, to the sweep of sea oats and the smudge of wildflower pollen, to the imprint of animals and humans. This morning’s heavy, driving rain from the west made horizontal tunnels in the sand, like small borer holes. Draped over the beach or pulled so taut it ripples, the sand reveals all that has touched its surface. I can place my foot beside the footprint of a great blue heron and note the similarity in size or trace the path of a sea turtle laying eggs. Perhaps each person is like a sand canvas; we too reveal all that has touched us in our lives. Some may learn to camouflage their feelings, but usually we can read the designs etched in others, in their faces, their behavior, their speech. I need to be more careful of what I write in my life, what I say and do. Too often I’m careless and lash out unreasonably at others, when it is my impatience that speaks crossly. Please help me, Father, write beautiful designs in my life. Help me seek not only your forgiveness, but also that of those whom I have wronged. May the canvas of my life be a lovely testament to you. Amen.