return to the prayers

when I look at us
I almost have to laugh aloud.

St. Paul wrote to his Spiritual Family, that not many were wise, learned, wealthy.
Not many were powerful.

Well, Dear Lord,
look at us now.
If ever there were a parish of the crippled, poor, hungry, and despised
we are surely it.

The strongest of us is neglected and sneered at by those who might be expected to nurture and respect her. But having said that, Dear Beloved Lord, I consider, and look around, and ask myself, which of us is the weakest ? And I see that each of us is strong. Very strong, in you. For crippled as we are, we know how to nurture each other.

Why look!
We missed evening worship and the testimonies:
and here we may worship together
in the most beautiful places in Christendom.
We missed fellowship and testimonies,
and lifting each other up,
and you have given us
the company of a host of witnesses,
with angels, and archangels,
to share our prayers with the greatest of the saints,
prayers from the tongues of the wise of many nations,

We missed the voice of the preacher
and you gave us

We were stricken with poverty and rejection
and you gave us the voice of the poor.
You listened with our ears
to the cry of desolation,
and comforted the desperate,
with our tongues.
Because you were with us,
they knew you had not abandoned them,
they knew you had heard them,
and they gathered new heart.

We were ill, and you did not heal us.
We picked up the phone,  ministering still.
Our voices sang hope in the rooms of the lonely,
and your words entered our hearts.

Our hearts and our reins:
o Lord, they would give out in an hour in the church,
and our pain
embarrassed our friends.
We who would praise you!

Our hands were too knotted in pain
to lift a kettle to pour out tea at your fetes;
our heads were dizzy;
our minds were not sharp:
yet because of you,
we call out to each other
and are answered forthwith.

(Out of her own pain and concern
she answered, in the midst of distress
she heard anothers cry
and she made haste, she hurried to answer,
she did not delay her reply).

We visited prisons,
and are imprisoned ourselves.
You yourself are our visitor,
you yourself, share our cells.
We do not shift from our place
one day to the next
We keep watch, one over another
because of you,
one day, and the next.

Let one cry that lonely broken hearted cry
another will sit through the night to the dawn,
till the bird song breaks through the dark:
he is a word on a screen, a blur from the bed,
I am here.
With you, let me keep watch,

We are here.

One held in place by a brace,
looks out on your Galilee,
watches an hour,
watches an hour more.
Minute by minute, close by Your side,
hands wracked and gnarled like a claw.
He prays.
Not for his healing, he prays,
not to be spared.

One too old for a pulpit,
gathers a word for your week,
priest without altar
raises our earth with his prayers,
stroke slurred his voice
stroke skewed his words,
yet you hear him clear.

and we know it: We

we do not look upon the world:
but we share the hills that you loved
and the lake where you fished.
we walk no hills, nor dabble tired worn out feet in clean ponds
yet we're refreshed.

For you have given us each other,
with You.

Because you shut us in
We may be reached.

We can't reach out
but we can be reached.

You taught us, in the end,
to love you.
Whether you healed us or not,
Whether you lifted us up
or simply walked with us through
this valley of death.
Whether you gave us wisdom,
implanted a word,
or took every thought from our head.
yea, though you slay us,
we trust.


Yes, Lord,
when I look at us,
I almost laugh aloud.

Parish income: NIL
Bottoms on seats: not a lot.

Peace beyond understanding?
Full measure: pressed down, overflowing:
That's what Mercy is, I guess..

No wonder I can't help but
Praise You.


Look after us Lord,
your raggle taggle parish of my heart.