Monday, February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

Trailing clouds of glory do come from God,
who is our home.
Those shadowy recollections,
be they what they may,
are yet the fountain light of all our day.

I love those words from William Wordsworth. Trailing clouds remind me of prayer, the way the feeling from prayer can follow us all day.

Here is an idea for Lent: let’s pray each day, at a different time each week. Each week I will send you a prayer for a different part of the day. At Easter you may put them together and frame the whole day in words of prayer.

For this week: on first waking.

Deliver this day
into your gentle hands
that I may stop
fretting the dawn away
like a few extra pounds or another errand.

Open this day
in your gentle breath
that I may greet
the surprises and routine of today,
present. Amen.

Blessings on you, as you feel God’s trailing clouds around you.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

A few weeks ago I decided to keep my To Do list on my phone. My phone is usually in my purse, so it’s right at hand. There’s a convenient little program called Notes where I can jot things and delete them when I get them done. Completed, finished, over and done.

I started with my Christmas list: very satisfying. Except I kept forgetting the items I had already deleted.

I kept another To Do list: groceries, phone calls and errands. Delete, delete, delete. I lost track. All I could see was what still needed to be done. It became a little discouraging.

The Bible readings we are hearing these days in church are about miracles. Jesus stills the storm. He heals a paralytic, cleanses a leper, cures a woman’s fever. Yet around me I see people who are sick, others who have survived their home burning down, war in Syria and arguments about the pipeline to the west coast. There is still a lot that needs to be done. That can be discouraging.

But back to my To Do list. What I was missing was the record of what I had accomplished. What I couldn’t see was the vision of things completed. When I looked for the things God had already accomplished, it heartened me for the rest.

I see people living full lives despite addictions. I see enemies coming to know one another and learning courage for mutual respect. I see people living with care for the earth. Yes, I have a full To Do list. But I also want to pause and acknowledge what has already been done, and to give God thanks for that.

Blessings on you, as you see God’s accomplishments around you.

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 2, 2012

Today I cleaned off my desk. I write from a Queen Anne partners’ desk: it looks like a table but for the long drawers and my reading and writing piled on top.

I have been longing to clear this space so I would feel my mind was clear, too. Important activities claimed my time – appropriately – and now I have had a moment to draw a breath and sort it. It was tempting to toss the papers in a box! I thought I might put them in a drawer until I needed them. But it was better to look them over, deal with or file them, and recycle the excess paper.

My desk looks great.

Is your life like that at all? Does it seem that events and responsibilities pile up until you can’t see a clear space to even jot a note?

Do you ever think that if you could clear it all away - really get it in order - that you would be free?

I think the life of faith is like that. Sometimes there are things that need to be cleaned up. We need to ask for forgiveness. Or we ought to reclaim an old friendship. Maybe we are waiting to tell someone we love them, but the longer we put it off, the more things seem to get in the way, and it starts to feel difficult and unnatural.  

Don’t you breathe more deeply after it’s done? God is such a great companion, giving us the fortitude we need to attend to our relationships. God always gives us the courage to look at the mess, and the strength to begin.

Blessings as you see what needs to be done,

The Rev. Dr. Catherine Faith MacLean