Prayers from the Island Temptation’s Tug

Temptation’s Tug

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 When I walk close to the water’s edge, I can feel the tidal pull of the ocean.  It seems to draw me closer with an invisible hand, summoning me somehow.  What is it, I wonder, that lures me so to the water, making me feel as if I might stumble into its foam when the waves retreat?  It’s nothing I can see, but I recognize it as a force that tugs at me.  I assume what I feel is the tide’s force, but I can’t be certain.  Sin is like that too; it exerts on me a tempting pull, drawing me in with invisible cords.  I can sometimes feel the tug at my spirit, urging me “ just this once” or “you’re too tired to pray tonight,”  “too tired to read the Bible, to make amends with someone you’ve hurt—too tired”.  Steady me, I pray Lord.  Keep your hand in mine and pull me from the water’s edge when I feel myself being drawn in.  Hold me fast, I pray. Amen.

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Noise AlertNoise Alert

We are approaching a holiday weekend, and the island throngs with visitors. At one of the nearby rental houses, a very loud party took place, music throbbing, voices shouting rather than talking, and occasionally an obscenity or curse cutting the air. Even with all the windows closed, the deep bass sounds of music penetrated our house, reverberating in the afternoon’s quiet. I assume someone must have summoned the police, because two patrol cars eventually arrived and the mood shifted. So much noise! Noise that drown out conversations, noise that displaces the sounds of nature, noise that offends neighbors. Do I have too much noise in my life? Do I stay busy so I won’t have to listen to my inner voices? Do I shut out the needs of others with activity and projects, hoping to avoid responsibility and involvement? Does God sometimes come into my life and remind me that I need to reshuffle my priorities. Forgive me, lord , when I try to use noise to keep you from being close. Help me invite you into the stillness of my heart. Amen.

Jumbled MusicJumbled Music

Last night the wind blew so hard it battered my bamboo wind chimes, scattering bamboo lengths all over the yard below.  I thought during the night I could hear the jumbled sounds, but blithely rolled over and resumed my sleep.   Now we’ll have to collect, restring and realign the chimes if they’re to make music once again.   Sometimes I think I ignore too much jumbled music; people call me mentioning problems that overwhelm them.  I learn that someone in my neighborhood has fallen and been hurt, I’m told there is an urgent need for volunteers at the local hospital—I hear all of this, but choose instead to roll over and resume my own peaceful sleep, my own peaceful days.  Forgive me, Father, when I ignore the cries of those in need.  With careful attention, we can repair the wind chime, but broken spirits can’t be so easily put right.  Please help me to respond to all the jumbled music so I too can help put things right with your help. 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.