Prayers from the Island Roots Exposed

Roots Exposed

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On the bay side of the island, trees stand on the beach near the water.  Their roots are exposed, spreading out below them as the dead branches fan out above them.  How secure they must have once seemed, their roots firmly planted in the earth, their trunks strong and mighty.  Now they stand lifeless, waiting to be toppled by heavy winds or high waves.  I wonder what truly is secure in my own life; sometimes things seem to be going well for me and I assume credit for my success, as if I were the shaper and ruler of my own life.  But I know, in my heart, that I am like those dead trees.  Unless I am grounded firmly in God, my roots are shallow and easily eroded.  Please, Lord, help me put my entire faith in you so I can withstand the storms of wind and waves. Help me to live my faith and my life deeply buried in you. Amen.

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Oysters TogetherOysters Together

When the tide is in, a walk on the bay can be difficult in places. Oyster shells unite and form aggregates—large collections of various sized shells cemented together. Where one shell might fall prey to a gull or another predator, these oyster sets are often so large they would be difficult to attack. Their heaped up presence at the edge of the bay water makes walking troublesome because they are so difficult to separate. Certainly the aggregate offers unique protection, incorporating even small oysters into a cemented family. I’m reminded of church families, how they also offer protection, encouragement, and guidance. When we are accepted into God’s family, we are as strong as the strongest link—God—and able to give additional strength to all weaker links. The lesson of the joined oysters is a valuable one for every congregation. Dear Lord, help me to unite others; may I bring peace, encouragement, guidance and prayer into the lives I touch. Amen.

Together By the SeaTogether By the Sea

As the island empties in the growing darkness of autumn, my mind considers other seashores, other ages, other lives. I think about the Sea of Galilee and what it must have been like for Christ to walk beside the sea in those days. We’re told he went up into the hills to pray and perhaps to gaze at the water. When he entered a boat to preach to the crowd that pressed against him, perhaps he was already familiar with the rocking of the waves, balancing himself so he wouldn’t fall. He must have felt comfortable with fishermen, able to approach and chat with them, connecting with them enough to make several his disciples. Boats were his transportation in many instances, taking him to new preaching healing sites. It was in a boat that his power to calm a storm was displayed and from a boat he guided Peter to walk on the water. Much of Christ’s life centered on the sea and water was often used as a metaphor for his presence. As I walk beside the sea, dear Lord, help me draw close to you; help me feel your presence as those people did so long ago, and help me find your place in my life today. Amen.

Fire Alert!Fire Alert!

We desperately need rain on the island. Each day the fire danger increases, and at night I smell wisps of smoke from fires burning on the mainland. Neighbors have bushwhacked their property, hoping to eliminate dry brush before a fire approaches. Warning signs are posted everywhere and the evening news carries reports on fire status. And yet, this morning as I drove to the grocery store, I saw a driver ahead of me toss a lighted cigarette from his car, oblivious of the danger. My first inclination was incredulous anger, but then I wondered about my own behavior. Do I carelessly toss burning embers when I gossip and criticize, when I fail to uplift and support others in their search for faith? Do I fan smoking tinder when I rush to identify others’ weaknesses and feel gleeful at their failures? Do I offer them temptation under the guise of “It’s only a small piece” or “Surely one more won’t hurt”. Am I more concerned about being liked than about being God’s? Am I responsible for human fires that rage in my wake because I have led others into temptation? Forgive me, Father, when I am careless with the lives of others. Please help me control my own behavior and act always with patient, forgiving love. Amen.