Of life in the still-Christian South (a retired cleric’s occasional reflections)…

More on public prayer

On each of the past two weekends, here, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens, Pontheolla and I have had the pleasure of hosting and housing a bride, her maid of honor and her bridesmaids.

On both occasions, on Saturday morning, in the serving of breakfast, whilst expeditiously ushering hot plates of freshly and lovingly (that is, Pontheolla-) prepared culinary fare to the table, I was brought to an abrupt and dutiful halt by the voice of prayer – the bride and her entourage, with hands joined and heads bowed, sharing in supplications to God…

On each occasion, though different the groups in nearly every ostensible social category, in their eloquent prayers, I found, I heard a striking similitude – if I had to (and I will!) characterize – of praise to God for being God, of thanksgiving to God, the Giver of all gifts, especially life and love, and of oblation to God in the offering of themselves in service to glorify God and to edify all whose lives they touched.

As both groups were 20-and-30-somethings, I offered to God a silent prayer of gratitude for the gift of renewed hope for the next generation, which these women, to a person, embodied.

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spring? – a Lenten prayer

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Cypress limbs –

fingers of nature’s hand,

long-lived and evergreen, like hope,

stretching alway upward,

searching heavenward

for the advent of spring…

Intercessory supplication

for all in winter’s fell clutch

of buffeting breath most rude and cold,

of wearying nights grieving light’s absence,

of despairing shadows, furthering ruthlessly, darkening souls and dimming spirits.

As hope – born in still-beating hearts’ invincible expectation –

is promise yet fulfilled,

so, as cypress, ever green, alway upward, my prayers ascend for spring.