Spirituality seems to be somewhere hardwired into us. Studies have shown that having faith in something beyond oneself has reduced stress, lengthened lives and made people generally happier. Religion, however, has failed to keep up with our human need for spirituality by creating unnecessary barriers to access of the divine. By this I mean that religion, for an increasing number of people, has become an impediment to the search for spirituality that is part of human existence.
This is why I work to achieve spiritual experience using the tools, phrases, images and traditions of organized religion without imposing religious dogma. Make no mistake, I love religion – it is usually the most interesting and powerful expression of any culture. Religion is responsible for the world’s finest art, music and theater. Sadly, it is also responsible for the world’s greatest discord, hatred and war.
For couples who seek a bridge between their own views and the views of their guests I offer my services. Beginning with my basic ceremony, we create an event where you and your guests step away enhanced by your love for one another.
This morning I am taking a moment to thank you for one of your most impressive collaborations with man – COFFEE!
There are so many ways to drink it. It embodies the artss by fueling artists and even providing a palate at times.
You make us better through the very scent of this incredible friend to psyche and mood.
Though it may seem frivolous, thank you, Grace, for coffee. It gathers friends, families, professionals and even brain cells.
In Spring the world wakes up with song and color. There is a manic call to CREATE!
Sometimes in this cacophony it feels impossible to be still and hear my own thoughts!
I find myself getting carried away with flights of fancy. While these are a wonderful way to energize my dreams, they can be a precarious way of life.
Help to to remember to keep my feet on the ground and BREATHE so that I am able to fully connect with you.
So be it/Amen/Thank You
So many of our hours are filled with questions about you.
“What are you? Where do you come from? Why did you create us? Did you create us? Do you even exist?”
As I begin this commitment of correspondence with you, i ask that you guide me to the truest answers to these questions.
For my part, I promise to be open to your truth knowing that there may be no simple answers.
Oh Grace, enlighten me and give me the words to inspire others.
Thank you/Amen/So Be It
I call on you to walk me through the struggle between my immediate needs and my long-term needs.
When I am tempted to complain, reliving the negativity in my life, I call on you to silence me and show me all of my life’s good.
When I am tempted to skip meals due to forgetfulness or inconvenience, I call on you to make me stop and eat!
When tempted by unhealthy food and drink, I call on you to help me choose alternatives.
Grace, remind me that immediate satisfaction is fleeting.
Only by playing the long game may I feed my soul.
Amen/So be it!
I want to thank all of you who have joined me on my Lenten Prayer adventure! One note: I realized that my Easter Prayer and my Thursday Prayer were the same. So I wrote a ‘Maundy Thursday’ prayer and updated the blog this morning. Feel free to check it out!
So where do we go from here? An excellent question! For those of you who know me personally you know that I have spoken a lot about how I feel many people are missing a spiritual practice simply because they are not religious. Weekday Spirit on FB, Insta and Twitter were created to help remind others of the joy of spirit in the mundane. I’d say that looking for ‘spirit’ everywhere is the largest part of my spiritual practice.
However, it struck me while re-posting the prayers I wrote for Lent that writing prayers makes me feel closer to spirit. So it will now be a part of my ‘practice’.
Most of what you will find in this blog will be prayers, but I do expect to write a post or two like this one on the nature of spirit and spiritual practice as opposed to ‘religion’. This post is ‘step one’.
Step One: To whom/what will I address these prayers? Above all else, I strive to create prayers that are ‘universal’. But ‘Dear Universe’ sounds too cosmic and huge to me. I feel that spirit is near when I pray. So that appellation doesn’t work for me. (But it may be the perfect word for many people reading this – so please do!)
The obvious choice is ‘Dear Spirit’. However, I can’t get beyond the connotations of ghosts, angels or fairies, who deserve to be called by their specific names. (If a prayer fits one of these entities – by all means, name them and pray the prayer to them.) The othe reason ‘Spirit’ doesn’t work for me is that I see the word as alienating for those who are agnostic – or even atheist – but still spiritual and seeking a simple practice.
So, I have arrived at ‘Dear Grace’. Here’s Miriam’s definition – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace (just in case you love etymologies as much as I do:)
For me Grace defines the respect, gratitude, and love that I have for spirit as well as the divine presence itself. Yes, there are Christian ties – Amazing Grace – but the etymology shows Latin roots, which ties the word to the Gratiae also known as the ‘Graces’. ‘Dear Grace’ also feels like starting a letter to a beloved aunt.
Thank you for loving us so much that you gave us your son.
For offering through him the lessons for meaningful lives.
For giving us a mirror to hold up to ourselves.
For giving us the phrase ‘what would Jesus do?’
May we never stop asking the question.
Brightest blessings be on all your children today, Lord.
This is the day before the light.
This is the darkest night of night.
Remind me, oh Lord that in darkness there is power, love and grace as much as there ever is in light.
In the darkness you are more present for me than you are in the light. Maybe it’s the constant activity of today’s world. It’s so vibrant with messaging that we may have trouble feeling you.
While we sit together now, show me ways to see you better in the light of day.
Today is about sacrifice.
The sacrifice made in order to cleanse our sins.
The sacrifice we make to honor you.
The word ‘sacrifice’ means ‘to make sacred.’
This is what the season of Lent is about.
We make ourselves sacred for you in honor of the greatest of miracles.
Blessings on us all as we spend a moment to remember the significance of this day.
Today we remember your son’s final words to us on this earth;
‘Love one another as I have loved you’ being among them.
How have we forgotten this so easily?
Every day good people practice exclusion of those in need, and I am among them.
Though I try to live each day not judging others, I also live each day turning my head from others’ suffering.
It is true that we cannot help everyone and often the only help we know to give is not actual help.
But never let me ‘not see’ the suffering. If walking in Jesus’ admonition as he washed his disciples’ feet can mean acknowledgement, then let me always acknowledge others.
Let me always consider then and send them on with a prayer when they shock me or lash out at me. While it may not be my path to heal their wounds, let me not add to them.