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Prayer


Things My Grandmothers Taught Me That Are Helping Right Now

It is perfectly acceptable to save .02 ounces of macaroni and cheese in a Cool Whip container with a tin foil top. There’s nothing wrong with constantly having a pound cake in the house. There’s nothing wrong with elastic waisted pants. Children can watch hours of television and still feel loved if you offer them […]

Faith of Our Mothers

We’re living in unprecedented times. At least that’s what everyone is saying. And it’s true. There’s never been a time in our history when this many people have been using Zoom to make conference calls. But this is not the only time that people have faced catastrophic circumstances. The world has been a scary place […]

I’m a Believer…But Not Yet

The anxieties of the week weighed on me until I could take no more. I parked the car on my lunch break and climbed to the top of an observation hill, a spot where you can get an almost panoramic view of the city. As I took in the picturesque vista of the skyline and […]

Join Us for Morning Prayer

For those whose churches aren’t meeting for worship this morning, we at Christ Church in Charlottesville taped our planned Morning Prayer service, which you can follow along with by downloading the service bulletin here. Paul Walker presided, I preached, Sam Bush did the music, and Amanda McMillen did the readings.

Christ Episcopal Church Sunday Prayer Service March 15th 2020 from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

People I Am Praying for Right Now

  • A pregnant friend who had to cancel her trip to Disney World.
  • My asthmatic dad.
  • All of the older people who are coming to church.
  • All of the older people who are not coming to church.
  • Children in the third ward of Houston who depend on school for food.
  • Their parents.
  • Anyone making decisions about whether or not to close schools.
  • Everyone in our city who just has allergies but believes that their spouse in a bathrobe might be the grim reaper.
  • The grim reaper. This is a tough season for her.
  • Teenagers who are in love. We need that kind of madness and hope right now. Keep it up, kids.

(c) Bob Eckstein: https://www.weeklyhumorist.com/cartoon-new-coronavirus-mascot/

  • The young woman who took a job at CVS to get herself through college. And now gets yelled at about the lack of Purell. Hourly.
  • My Asian doctor who told me how racist people have been to her.
  • Lonely people.
  • People who wanted to spend less time on social media and now are spending three times as much time on social media.
  • Flight attendants.
  • Anyone with OCD.
  • People who have recently been told they only have months left to live. I pray that they can take advantage of cheap cruises. Seriously.
  • People who are really scared.
  • People who feel the need to be critical of people who are scared.
  • Myself. That I can remember that God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus. And that He did not come to condemn the world but that He came to save it. He said so Himself.


Pissed-Off Prayers

This one comes to us from Nathan Hoff. The god of my own imagining used to prefer edited prayers. Knee-deep in the psalter these days, I have greater appreciation for full-blown imprecation, even as a Christian. Imprecatory psalms—the ones that curse enemies—are that category that never gets read in public worship. They don’t fit with […]

Gravy: A Prayer for You at Year’s End

I preached a funeral for a friend a few weeks back — ironically, a day before Thanksgiving. I was under strict instructions not to speak the name of the disease that had ended her earthly life (hint: it starts with “c”; a six-letter word that acts more like a four-letter word). I couldn’t ignore that word’s presence altogether, since it had surely been a contributing writer on the screenplay of her life. But I never uttered the word and did my best to give Jesus top billing.

Raymond Carver managed to accomplish something similar in one of his final poems, “Gravy.” He looked back over the last sober decade – the love he experienced from Tess Gallagher, the vital work of writing and teaching and living. It is a mere 125 words. And not to nag you like your 10th grade English teacher or anything, but I do believe it would reward the time you spend reading it:

“Gravy” by Raymond Carver

No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.

May I pray this prayer for us?

Lord Jesus, another year is gone, and only you know what awaits us. For those things we fear are “building up” and “breaking down,” we pray for healing and endurance in the days to come. And as we reflect on 2019, Lord, focus our minds on the gravy — the moments we weren’t promised, the work that kept us “alive,” the remarkable disasters we mysteriously avoided, and most importantly, the grace that raised us up when we were “going nowhere but down.”

Gravy. Pure gravy. Please pass the gravy. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer as Portrait of Jesus

I rarely said the Lord’s Prayer growing up. My ministers, suspicious of any swish of ritual, took it as a template and taught me to ad lib to Our Father. I’ve learned to value that emphasis on spontaneous communication and individual requests. Although I now recite Jesus’ formula more often, I decided to do so […]

All the Life We Cannot See (and All the Death We Should Be Doing)

Recently my four-year-old son has become obsessed with all things Hamilton: the musical, the person, the coffee table book I bought my husband and repurposed as a spontaneous gift for my boy, who flips through it daily and asks me to sing him the songs. He’s turned his older brother onto the soundtrack, which means […]

Welcome to Your Foxhole

I listen to a lot of sad music.  As an Enneagram Four, I am drawn to what Ian Morgan Cron calls “delicious melancholy”. I have several playlists on my Spotify dedicated to songs that are guaranteed to make me cry or at least fit the gray mood I often find myself in. This proclivity towards […]

A Litany for the DMV

O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works doth proceed, come, we pray, to the DMV. Make your presence known and lead us away from all temptation. For the supervisor of the waiting room who repeats the same instructions all day every day, vainly hoping for a preponderance of […]

One Year Later: Still Processing the Willow Creek Crash

The first time I went to Willow Creek Community Church, circa 1994, I didn’t want to be there. My new pastor and boss was a fan of Pastor Bill Hybels, and our church staff flew to Chicago to attend a conference together. I feared that any church that large must be suspect. Still, as I […]