I REMEMBER A TIME of horrible confusion when I did not know whom or what I could trust. In a moment of despair, I confided in my father that I no longer knew what the truth was. he replied without skipping a breath, “The only truth there is, is God’s love.”
An illuminative experience opens us to God’s truth. We know in those few minutes of transcending grace more than we knew only moments before. More than just head knowledge, it is knowing with the heart and with every cell of the body. We never forget this kind of knowledge because the memory attaches into our DNA. With the power of a religious conversion, an illuminative experience changes the way we perceive life. Nothing will ever be the same; nor do we want it to be.
GOD CALLS TO OUR SOULS in ways that words cannot — through a moving song, a dramatic dance, the smile of a friend, or the kiss of the sun. From the vivid shades of autumn to the intricacy of a spider’s web, God made the earth and everything in it.
We, too, are expressions of God’s creative beauty and attention to detail. Our spirit flows out of God, who created us and gave us life. God’s fingerprints are all over us, and each of us is imprinted with the likeness of our Creator. No matter what life brings, God’s love will continue to create and to color our lives and our world.
MAY THE GOD of the heavens
and of the earth
enter into the place within you
that holds the keenest chaos,
the deepest mystery,
the most intense darkness
may the God of
sun and moon
stars and seasons
breathe the words
that will bring forth
a new world.
O GIVER OF LIFE, neither wealth nor status can rescue us. We cannot affect the outcome of our lives. We can only rest in you, who blesses us so that we might bless others. Give us a heart that longs not for wealth but for you and your upside-down kingdom alone. Amen
THANK YOU, GOD, for having a plan far greater
than anything we can imagine.
You bring down walls of injustice that we build.
You loosen chains of addiction with
which we shackle ourselves.
You turn our setbacks into comebacks.
For that, we are grateful.
Even as we trust in your will, Lord,
we confess that we cannot always make sense
of diseases that burden us;
we can’t make sense of extreme wealth
while people die in poverty;
we don’t always know why bad things
happen to those we love.
We confess that it is not always well with our souls.
Sometimes the yoke feels too heavy to bear.
But we believe in resurrection, Lord.
We see it with every flower that breaks through
a wintered ground
and with every rainbow that greets us in a storm.
We have experienced resurrection through your Son’s powerful story.
Heal us; heal this world, we pray.
Heal us within your powerful will.
FOR MUCH OF OUR LIVES, our prayer is a solitary thing. And well it should be.
We find a time and a place in the course of our days that we give over to our practice of being in the presence of God. It is formal or not so formal; and it includes scripture, perhaps, or readings from the saints and other wise ones. It includes the petitions and intercessions that we make for those we love and those who have been given to us. …
We have been taught, and rightly so, that our ongoing conversation with God requires this solitary attention to prayer. Our models are drawn from the life of Christ himself. “Go into your closet to pray, and the One who sees you in secret will hear you in secret,” he himself reminded us. We remember the stories of his going apart to pray, leaving even his closest friends on occasion to do so. We recall his admonition to be wary of those who pray in public places, lest pride enter in.
And yet, there is another side to our prayer. It is the part of our life of prayer that recognizes that we are not really alone when we pray. The side of our prayer that links us to all who have gone before and who will come after us. The part of our prayer that joins our voices with “angels and archangels who forever sing the hymns of praise.” It is the prayer that we say in unison, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, with the whole church.
And nowhere is that prayer more in evidence than when we gather up on the day of the Lord. And nowhere is such prayer so often unnoticed and unremarked. It slips past us in a way, and with it perhaps there slips past us a way to change the way that we live our lives.
FIND IT HELPFUL each night to think of some experience of difficulty that happened during the day and to visualize Jesus putting healing hands on that moment, transforming it. In this way, hurts and wounds do not accumulate.
As for memories longer past, I don’t feel that I have to move through a special memory each day. But I try not to let a week go by without a deliberate turning to a healing experience of a wound. Sometimes a memory will arise spontaneously. Sometimes I have to search a bit. Sometimes I ask God to summon forth a memory whose time for healing has come, and often I am surprised at what surfaces. …
It is important to remember that we are not creating God’s healing love for our inner self because we are now praying about it. This love has always been around us, embracing us. Rather, by such prayers we are claiming it, internalizing it, allowing its transforming power to intensify in our lives.