Saturday, March 21, 2009

A prayer for our library...

Here is the prayer I composed for the blessing of our local library. In 1909 the original Carnegie was built here in Lander - a big stone edifice like you see in many Western small towns. Today in 2009 we dedicated an addition and remodel of the old. Odd fact- the current mayor grew up in the house where the new addition now stands.

Prayer for the Fremont County Library in Lander

God of all creation, giver of knowledge, wisdom, and creativity, you spoke your Word and all things were brought into being. In the spirit of the creative power of words:

We offer prayers this day for our library:

For all who worked to bring it into being
For the support of the community of Lander, Fremont County and Wyoming
For the committed, ever welcoming and helpful librarians and staff
For all those who will use its resources

For children of all ages who find it a place to dream and wonder
For those who find it a place of refuge and support in their daily lives

For the connections it provides
between the history and cultures of the world
through books, magazines, and the Internet
in the sharing of our stories, the stories of our community and the stories of the world beyond our experience.
through performances and presentations of plays, films, music and art

May it be a place for the enlightenment of our minds and kindling of our imaginations.

May we receive the gift of intellectual courage to ask the tough questions, encounter the issues of our day, and to weigh critically all the answers suggested here.

May it be a safe place of gathering in the midst of our community
where all are welcome
where our diversity is honored
and respect is practiced.

May we become not only knowledgeable, but also wise.

We pray this day for hope, for understanding, for new vision, and for the courage to take risks for the sake of knowledge and for the wisdom to use these gifts in service of our community and the world. May those who come here encounter hope, grace, and love. May the Fremont County Library in Lander ever be a place of blessing in our community. Amen.

Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Lent

Readings are here.

This week's lessons seem to have a theme of being raised up for healing. In the wilderness Moses holds up the image of a snake to heal those who have been bitten by poisonous snakes. The letter to the Ephesians says:
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

And in the Gospel, Jesus says:
"Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

All of these are not raised up for themselves but for the sake of others. The raising up somehow transforms what might be a terrible thing into a healing thing.

I think how those who have been through suffering and death are more able to walk through these times with others. Henry Nouwen calls them wounded healers. AA and other 12-step programs are example of people having found healing who are able to guide others through the healing process.

Although terrible things should not happen to any of us and we pray that they will not - the example of Christ is one of how suffering can be redemptive. Dorothee Sollee says that our pain can be like a kidney stone - serving no purpose other than hurting. Or it can be like childbirth- bring new life to another.

Some others thoughts on the Serpent on the Pole here and here. Both having to do with the healing and lifegiving power of looking directly at death.

And a poem:

by Nicholas Samaras

Let the path beat me down.
Let the weather and no covering beat me down.
Let the sun be my undoing.
Let Ksenofondos Monastery shrink behind me, until I lose all
Let me lose the road to where I lose all hope.
Let this path diverge unto my ruin, and beat me down.
Let all the elements of the earth beat me down.
Let the manuscript of my sins beat me down.
Let God thunder and kingdom come to beat me down.
Let me uncover my shame and give over my life.
Let me repent until repentance breaks me.
Let this path beat me down.
Let me learn the word for water is the same as the word for
Let the path beat me down, as I lie on its body and give up
Let me let go of the bag I own, the book, the pen, the dry bottle.
Let me own none of it.
Let me own nothing of myself.
Let the dust of my footsteps be tracked over by the wolves.
Let me die on these rocks, and my body be discovered in days.
Let my hands be found bloody with climbing the scree.
Let the oblique ascension of stars slant over my body.
Let the solemn silence of night be my liturgy.
Let God thunder and beat me down.
Where is the monastic, and where the scribe?
Where is the wise to beat me down?
Let the path beat me down.
Let the path lead me to my other self.
Let the smell of water waken what I walked for.
Let my face be transformed.
Let my face be transfigured from my life.
Let the world be beaten down as I wobble up again.
Let me go back to my family changed.
Let the path beat me down.
Let this path beat me down.
Let the path break me as I come,
to be this broken, this blessed.