April 2020 Pastoral Prayers

Sunday, April 5, 2020
Melinda Bruno-Smith  

Standing in the center of the storm
Listening
to the news from all directions.
Fear, anger, confusion  swirl.
Daffodils are blooming, people are dying.
Each of us forced to stand alone.

In this moment, 
I seek stillness, quiet.
I breathe deeply and try to see clearly.

What is important now  during this storm?
What is essential?  The bare minimum necessities
Food,  Shelter,  Well Being.
I pray for guidance  to do the right thing.

In this moment,
The noise is amplified
As are thoughts, feelings, reflections
Inner voice and out voices seems to have the same volume.

In this liminal moment, this transitional moment,
as we ride the storm alone and together
What is important?

I try for kindness. 
I see my own resistance rise and  try to let go.
I connect to the inner voice that I know
will guide me holistically to the next place.
The voice of calm and compassion.  


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Meredith Jeremiah

Loving God, Spirit of Life, 

It is Easter Sunday, and we gather together this morning hungry, longing for ancient stories to bring new hope, to bring something we can cling to. For we gather here with weary hearts, some of us, hearts carrying the grief of the world within them. And some days it just feels too heavy. The extent of the death, the fear and the hurt can feel like too much to bear. We are a people seeking comfort, seeking hope, seeking something to carry us forward. What does the Easter story have to say when devastation surrounds us? 

Our circumstances right now have cut to the heart of the matter. In this time, the important things in life have become so clear. We long for human connection, for the touch of those we love, for the ability to gather as a community of faith. And the things that matter less, those have become clear to us too. Maybe we are to give thanks for the clarity that has come with this new way of living, this new way of being. Each time we open our eyes in the morning, each breath and beat of our heart becomes noteworthy. And with each breath we exhale thank you, thank you, thank you. We give thanks for our place in the interconnected web of all existence. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, life can be a prayer. 

The Easter story, if anything, is one of hope. For in the midst of suffering hope rises up. In the midst of our human despair, creation is ringing out with hope that rises from the ashes. Creation shows us that death, in fact, does not have the final word. In the daffodil, hope rises up. In the new baby, hope rises up. In the budding trees, hope rises up. In the bird song, hope rises up. All creation is ringing out with a song of hope this morning. Let us give back the song. 

Amen


Sunday, April 19, 2020
Melinda Bruno-Smith  

**A reading from Pema Chodron’s book: WHEN THINGS FALL APART: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.  PEMA CHODRON  is an American Buddhist nun.

Impermanence is a principle of harmony.  When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.  When impermanence presents itself in our lives, we can recognize it as impermanence. We don’t have to look for opportunities to do this.

When your pen runs out of ink in the middle of writing an important letter, recognize it as impermanence, part of the whole cycle of life.  When someone is born,  recognize it as impermanence.  When someone dies,  recognize it as impermanence.

When your car gets stolen, recognize it as impermanence.  When you fall in love,  recognize it as impermanence and let that intensify the preciousness.  When a relationship ends, recognize it as impermanence.

There are countless examples of impermanence in our lives everyday, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep, and even while we’re dreaming.
This is a 24 hour a day practice. 
Recognize impermanence as impermanence.


Sunday, April 26, 2020
Melinda Bruno-Smith

I feel the loss, as you do.
My heart aches for something to hold on to.
Comfort to ease the pain, the fear of not knowing.
 
It’s like a raft has pushed away
from the shore of my knowing
With me on it
And you are there too, six feet apart.
 
We are floating to a distant land,
alone and together.
What can I bring that is useful?
 
This letting go of what I have grown used to
Is so hard
There is an empty space now
that has taken its place
The center is dark, quiet, peaceful
All action suspended,  intensified.
 
What shall I let in to heal?
Light, music, beauty,
A smile, a virtual hug,
A prayer to carry me through to the next place.
 
I must have faith and trust
that the universe will provide me
with everything I need
for a safe and guided journey
Wherever the final strand may be.
 
I have no choice
but to be present to myself and
to all those around me,
To breathe deeply
Because I believe, the choices I make now
will be there to greet me at the next shore.