A Prayer for Our Times

God, who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life—

Honored to write and breathe a bilingual prayer in partnership with my Spirit-sister, Reverend Maria Teresa Jones.

God who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life,
your Spirit exhales
and fragrances us–
our communities,
our wounds,
our hiding places,
our bodies and souls
–with the honeyed aromas
of your mercy, justice, and grace.

Breathe on us now, O God.

Season us–
our footsteps
our words
our very beings
–so that in our living and working and worshiping,
we perfume your world with
your radical scent of justice-making,
your healing balm of kindness,
your life-restoring tincture of mercy.

Strengthen us for the journey ahead
so that we might be en-couraged–
have hearts expansive enough
and spirits wise enough
to breathe your radical love
into those too-much-with-us wounds
that expose and weaken
the world’s weary bones.

God who breathed into firstborn soil the breath of life–
here and there,
now and then,
against all odds,
may we encounter
in each other
your peace–
beyond all human understanding

Kiss us, O God, with that peace
and send us out
to kiss others–

In the name of Christ,
by the power of your Spirit.


Dios que respiro a su suelo primogénito el aliento de vida,
Tu aliento nos efranga
nuestras comunidades,
nuestras heridas,
nuestros escondites,
nuestros cuerpos y almas
–con el aroma de miel
de tu misericordia, justicia y gracia.

Respira sobre nosotros ahora, oh Dios.

nuestros pasos
nuestras palabras
nuestros propios seres
–para que en nuestro vivir, trabajo y adoración,
perfumemos tu mundo con
tu aroma radical de justicia,
tu bálsamo de sanamiento y bondad,
y tu tinta de misericordia que restaura la vida.

Fortalecenos para el sendero en adelante
A ser animados–
Y tener corazones suficientemente expansivos y espíritus suficientemente sabios para respirar tu amor radical
dentro de las heridas presente-con-nosotros que exponen y debilitan
los huesos cansados del mundo.

Dios que respiró en su suelo primogénito el aliento de vida–
aquí y allá,
ahora y de entonces
contra todo reto
que encontremos entre cada uno
tu paz–
sostenimiento de la vida
más allá de todo entendimiento humano

Bésanos oh Dios, con esa paz
y envianos hacia adelante
a besar a otros.

En el nombre de Cristo,
Y por el poder de tu Espíritu.


Free Listening

Change minds. Change hearts. Change actions.

During a week when many people are snapping their annual first day of school photos, another photo is seared into my heart’s eye. The headline? “Shooting of Jacob Blake reenergizes nationwide protests over police brutality.”

I want to know how to end white supremacy and stop the violence.

One conclusion I’ve reached is this. We–and in particular we white people–need to listen in a way we have never listened before. We need to listen to ourselves–to the biases and assumptions we carry into our everyday lives and to the voices of grace, love, peace, and justice within ourselves that we have neglected or ignored. More than that, we need to listen to the voices of those marginalized by white supremacy, muted by oppressive power dynamics, ignored by economic realities, and silenced by gunshots.

Seeing God’s glory

Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back. When I heard this story, I thought about the Exodus story where Moses asks to see God’s glory. God responds:

21And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’

Exodus 33

God only reveals God’s self to Moses by allowing Moses to see God’s back.

I hear in this story God’s prophetic call across the years to us today. God’s presence comes to us in ways we fail to hear, see, or imagine–even in another’s back–and face and hands, feet, and arms. If our first thought in encountering another person were that their bodies hold God’s glory, then perhaps…

Perhaps the pause that thought causes would be pause enough for us to change our minds, change our hearts, change our actions. And perhaps in the pause, we would listen and hear each other and the Spirit of God.

A few years ago at a protest in Charlotte, a clergy person on the frontlines of the protest was photographed carrying a sign. It said, “Free Listening.” We need to hear and see and care for each other and in particular for our communities’ most at risk others.

Free Listening

We can keep our distance
perhaps even be moved.
But if we want to be changed
stop the violence
of “shots fired” one more time?

You can’t know what story
the shell longs to tell of the sea
without holding it your ear.
And what of pulses that slow
as life flows out into uncaring streets
or hearts bruised and broken
that still flutter for justice?
Some truths whisper,
quiet as breath.
To hear them,
we must lean in close
and listen.
For free.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash