Prayers from the Island Morning Glory

Morning Glory

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In a dune of pure white sand, a wild morning glory flourishes.  Tightly coiled bud, full blossom and spent flower—it is a perfect picture of life’s stages.  I wonder how it receives nourishment in the sand, or how it can find enough water to sustain life.  And yet it blooms happily, sending roots deep into the sand, finding somewhere within a layer of nutrients, and thriving on the few drops of moisture the morning’s dew produces.  The conditions seem so hostile, and yet the morning glory celebrates life.  What about me?  Do I send roots deep enough, do I collect the dewdrops, do I celebrate life despite the conditions in which I’m placed?  Forgive me, Lord, when I complain and whine.  Help me, like this morning glory, to send deep roots of faith and to be grateful for your gift of life.  Help me bloom with love where you have placed me. Amen.

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Sometimes I wonder why my world on the island seems so dense with connections. Things I see, hear, taste, touch, or smell remind me of other things, and my life becomes a metaphor. When I was a child, I often kept these comparisons unspoken, afraid others would think me strange. But when I began to study the Bible, I realized Christ routinely used comparisons to help his listeners understand his message. I remember how often He began, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like….” or how often in his parables He used everyday images to convey an abstract doctrine. Perhaps comparisons are a way of looking at the world and perceiving God’s intervention in all things—both physical and abstract. We are his children and need to have explained to us the concepts that structure our faith. Like children, we learn best when ideas are connected to everyday events and behavior. Dear Father, please help me fathom your revelations which daily connect met to you. May I learn to witness your presence in my routine life, and may the lessons I glean from those connections enrich my spirit and yield acts of love.

Dunes and ChurchesDunes and Churches

Absent of their greenery, the dune fences become more visible now. They help stabilize the beach, capturing blowing grains of sand and piling them as a barrier to flood surges. Like small picket fences, they are strategically placed to align perpendicularly to the prevailing winds, maximizing their ability to retain the sand whipped by gusts of wind and waves. These dunes have been deliberately placed; they are not natural features on the landscape. If they do their job properly, they will disappear, buried under the loads of sand they have accumulated. Perhaps the church service I attend serves much the same function. It is designed to help me see myself clearly, to help me accumulate both the knowledge of my own failings and the good news of God’s grace. During the week individual bits and pieces of the service may be buried, but the work they have performed should be visible in the way I choose to live. Like the dune fences, the parts of the service work to stabilize my faith, to surround me with the extended body of Christ, to protect me when a flood surge of troubles assails me. I thank you, Dear Father, that you have given me this place of worship where I can shore up my faith and draw nearer to you. Amen.

A Mother’s Day PrayerA Mother’s Day Prayer

By Sandy Ratliff

Dear Heavenly Father–There are many similarities between St. Mary and most mothers. She had high expectations for her child’s success, she worried about His ‘disobedience’ when He remained at the temple, she questioned when He would begin his real ministry, she was concerned about His circle of friends, and she suffered agony at His death.

However, perhaps the most revealing sentence in the Bible that connects Mary with all mothers is this—“Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Yes—from the moment a woman discovers her pregnancy until the final breath she draws, she is never entirely without the awareness of being a mother. It is inevitable that motherhood never ends despite age or distance.

For all those mothers and mother figures who taught us our prayers, who guided us into God’s ways, and particularly who brought us to this church on such a special day—we give thanks.

May we find in their love a sample of the love God so richly heaps upon us—guiding, disciplining, encouraging and forgiving. Thank God for mothers and mother figures who deserve our praise and our gratitude on this special day. Amen.