Category Archives: holy

Early Mornings, Sunday Mornings

Dear God,

As you know, I’m not much of a morning person. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the morning in one sense – the freshness of the day is a wonder to behold. I just wind up staying up so late enjoying the evening. I’ve always loved the stars, and I get such little time to wonder at them (in many ways).

So it is funny to me – is it funny to you? – that Sunday mornings, no matter how late I stayed up, I am almost always up by 5am thinking about the people, the words I will say and pray and preach, the work God is already doing. It’s such holy time for me.

Could this be a piece of other mornings, too? Would you wake me so we can share this time together? I mean, maybe not 5am every day when so often I’m up til 1… but I guess maybe I’m praying a request for help, for intervention. Help me to sleep and help me to wake in ways that open up more holy time like this with you.

Amen.

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Overwhelmed

Dear God,

I know I gripe a lot.  You’re probably really tired of hearing me tell work stories lately, especially since I’m supposedly doing “your work”.  I feel like you must be pretty tired of hearing people call so much pithy and relatively pointless stuff your work and your will.

You’re probably going to roll your eyes at this one, but I was watching a movie tonight.  Alone.  At my house which is a mess (though the floors are really clean).  Sitting on my butt.  Doing nothing to help people have a better life and know your love.

And for some strange reason, while reading facebook status updates about General Conference and people making decisions about “your church” hundreds of miles away, I got really overwhelmed.  With life.  Even though nothing has really happened yet at GC and probably very little will happen that can truly count as your will being done (I have a feeling you don’t really give a crap about Robert’s Rules of Order when there are children dying everywhere tonight).

I don’t know.  That dumb movie.  It’s not the first time, you know that.  I pretty much decided to study history in college because of a fictional movie about a piece of WWII that I knew nothing about prior to watching.  It was a love story, and I felt a shift in my heart and mind about the world for some reason.  And I got a degree.

But tonight, I don’t know.  That dumb movie.  It wasn’t as good as the book (I’m sure you know that and you sort of think that on a macrocosmic level all the time).  But I’m sitting on my bed crying.  I’m thinking about how this world is full of so much good.  And I just wish with all my heart tonight that I could make more good for you.  I don’t know that I can ever really stop the bad, the hurt, the sorrow, the alone, the really really really unfair.  But I want to make more good, more love, more warm, more sweet, more peace.  For you.

In The Secret Life of Bees, May is overwhelmed with her empathy for the sad things of the world, and she ends up drowning herself.  I don’t know how it happened tonight, in my dumb, empty house, on a dumb, lonely Tuesday… but I feel overwhelmed with my empathy, and with my gratefulness for the good things.  That all come from you.  And I feel overwhelmed for your sake, with just a small imagining of what you might think or feel or want.  And I don’t want to drown, I want to live.  For you.

Thank you for holy moments on dumb Tuesday nights.  Please don’t judge me for finding my breath during dumb movies.  Help me to make more good for your world.  To not get overwhelmed by the bad.  To love.  Endlessly.

Amen.

saints

Dear God,

For all the saints, I thank you.  Saints are kind of funny, you know?  I mean, in the sense that we’ve taken the noun and turned it into something that can be an adjective – saintly – and what does that mean?  Were all the saints actually “saintly”?  Or should saintly be informed by the reality of who the saints have been in their lives?  I’m thinking of some of the oldest saints, like father Jacob.  He’s not exactly saintly, you know?  But then neither am I.  So I look to him as a hope for me, as an example of how you are so incredible, God, to stand by us “saints” who are less than saintly.  It’s you who makes us holy, not us.

I also think about the saints of my life, the ones who are resting from their labors, and it’s still funny to me.  My grandfather, for instance, John Phillip Ruth, was not a saint in his life.  But in my memory, my Pawpee was perfect.  He was a saint.  He was the funniest, the most full of life, the friendliest, the biggest, the best at everything, the one who could fix anything, the fullest laugh, the greatest Pawpee there could’ve been.  The one all other Pawpees should model themselves on.  He made me feel beautiful.  He made me feel special.  He did that for a lot of people.

But I know he wasn’t a saint, too.  He was mean to others, to his own children.  He was a grouch sometimes.  He didn’t believe in paying taxes for education while he didn’t have children in school, which is something I react severely to in my adulthood.  I didn’t know these things about my Pawpee when he was here on earth with me.  And I guess I think that we get wrapped up in this idea of saints like St. Francis, surrounded by his animal friends like a Disney Princess to the Nth degree, and his beautiful prayers, his ascetic discipline, and I think ‘how could I ever do that?’ How could I ever be that saintly?  But instead, I have to remember the saints you’ve given me are still saints and they’re always saints in the first place because of you.  How will I be a saint in this life (and in the life to come, for that matter)?  By your grace.  By your grace.  By your grace.

For all the saints – let your name be praised.  Because it’s you who made them “saintly.”  For all the saints, by your grace, have helped form me, inform me, and remind me that it’s not about me.  I may not be saintly, but by your grace, God, I can become a saint despite it all.

So let me pray a prayer of one of the saints before me, knowing it is you who forms me, you who is holy, you who is in control:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it’s in giving that we receive.
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.