Prayers from the Island Sand on My Toes

Sand on My Toes

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How wonderful the sand feels on my toes!  I can choose the texture—slippery, squeaky sand near the boardwalk, firm sand farther from the water’s edge, rippled and damp sand where pools have subsided, crunchy sand where shells lie just underfoot, and soft, sinking sand at the water’s edge.  My toes grip the grains and curl against their weight.  When I was a child, I ran barefoot all summer long, hating the feeling autumn brought when my feet had to fit once again into school shoes.  God’s world is an incredible gift—even the sand on the beach becomes part of my daily joy.  I thank you, Lord, for the sand of the seashore, for its variety and treasures, and for the gift of feeling that allows me to appreciate its sensation. Amen.

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Beautiful Music from Broken ShellsBeautiful Music from Broken Shells

The waves were very high today, causing the seashells just off the shore to rub and jostle one another.  They make a pleasant sound, almost musical as they bump and mingle, tumbling together.  Most are broken fragments, but that only adds to their song; in fact, those shells that are perfect and whole seem to produce less melody.  I think of God’s church, broken people coming together, letting God’s power wash over them, creating beautiful music in the process.  We touch one another with hugs or handshakes; we support one another with gifts of cooked meals, notes, emails, and phone calls.  We pray for one another and celebrate successes.  I thank you, Lord, that you have given us a church where the broken in spirit can join to create your beautiful music and harmony. Amen.


A Perfect ShellA Perfect Shell

In many of the island shops, there are bins and baskets of seashells, beautiful specimens, most collected elsewhere, shipped here, and offered for sale.  I examine them carefully, noting they are sometimes much larger and more perfect than the shells I find on this island beach.  But then I wonder—is the shell really separate from the experience and joy I felt when I discovered it?  When I brought it home and displayed it proudly?  I wonder about faith too.  I pray that those whom I love will come to believe, but I know too that the discovery of faith, like the discovery of a shell, is a personal commitment and can’t be made on behalf of another.  I can’t buy faith for them, nor can I believe for them.  I pray, Lord, that those who have not yet accepted your place in their lives may make that perfect discovery, and come to know the joy of belief. Amen.

The Voice of the SeaThe Voice of the Sea

The Italians call it “Voce del Mare” or the Voice of the Sea.  I suppose everyone who comes to an island listens to the voice of the sea, recognizes the changing tone, the altered pitch, the varying frequency.  As I walk along the shore or wade in the foam, I wonder about the voice and what it says to me.  Perhaps God speaks to me also through the sea, reminding me of his constancy and power.  The waves may lap gently or may rush in surges, but always they move toward the land, faithful in their approach.  Perhaps in the voice of the sea I can recognize and accept that I am always walking in God’s presence, his guidance and help washing over me. Thank you, Lord, for letting me hear you in the voice of the sea, recognizing always your nearness. Amen.