Prayer of Ruth

In the midst of this ruthless world
we live in:

Help us bond with the disconsolate Naomi.

Hear our prayers for the homeward bound Orpah.

Bless today’s gleaning
so it is enough for our daily bread.

And may we never forget
our eternal kinsman-redeemer.

Like Father, Like Son (Family Tradition)

Exodus 16/John 6:1-15; 22-42

Just like His Dad did
in the wilderness,
Out of love and compassion
The Son fed the people.

And just like His Dad did
in the wilderness.
The food came out of nothing
and from nowhere.

In the wilderness,
The Father’s manna was only good
for the day.
And all that was left of the Son’s meal
were baskets of bones and crumbs.

And just like His Dad
The Son learned as well
Miracles don’t generate faith
They get requests for encores.

“More food!”
The Chosen complained.
“More miracles!”
The Gentiles pleaded.

So the holy kitchens shut their doors.
The Select wandered around
Searching for the Land of Milk and Honey.
And the World wonders about
the Bread which satisfies every hunger.

Ruth 3:5

All that thou sayest unto me I will do.
Ruth 3:5

The story's strange.
For once, God wasn't talking,
Busy with some sacrifice or slaughter
Somewhere else. No plague, cloud, gushing water,
Dream, omen, whirlwind. Just two women, walking
The dusty road from Moab to Judea,
One, the younger, having told the other
(Not her own, but her dead husband's mother)
That she would never leave her. But they flee a
Famine for what, at first, seems something worse:
To come as widows to a crowded city,
To men’s appraising stares, and women’s pity.
Ruth, the pagan, heard Naomi curse,
Cringed and scanned the sky. No fire or stone
Came crashing downward. They were on their own.
Catherine Tufariello’s No Angel

Boaz Asleep

Boaz, overcome with weariness, by torchlight
made his pallet on the threshing floor
where all day he had worked, and now he slept
among the bushels of threshed wheat.

The old man owned wheatfields and barley,
and though he was rich, he was still fair-minded.
No filth soured the sweetness of his well.
No hot iron of torture whitened in his forge.

His beard was silver as a brook in April.
He bound sheaves without the strain of hate
or envy. He saw gleaners pass, and said,
Let handfuls of the fat ears fall to them.

The man's mind, clear of untoward feeling,
clothed itself in candor. He wore clean robes.
His heaped granaries spilled over always
toward the poor, no less than public fountains.

Boaz did well by his workers and by kinsmen.
He was generous, and moderate. Women held him
worthier than younger men, for youth is handsome,
but to him in his old age came greatness.

An old man, nearing his first source, may find
the timelessness beyond times of trouble.
And though fire burned in young men's eyes,
to Ruth the eyes of Boaz shone clear light.
**Victor Hugo (translator unknown)

What a Wonderful World

(Genesis 1)

The noise of the animals is a low roar.
The waves continually kissing the shore.
The breezes making the trees dance.
The humans are inventing romance.
There’s no such thing as zombies.
Creation is a just a big ole party.

The light of the stars are set on low.
The night creatures come late to the show.
The birds are singing with Eve.
God looks at all He achieved.
That’s the first Saturday night story.
Creation is a just a big ole party.

Asher Yatzar / Blessing for the Body

(Blessing upon going to the bathroom.)

Blessed are You, Adonai, source of all being,
who formed the human body with wisdom
and created within us various openings and closings.

It is known before Your throne of glory
that if one of these were to be open where it should be closed,
or closed where it should be opened,
we would not be able to stand before You and offer praise.

Blessed are You, Adonai,
healer of all flesh and worker of miracles!

Found at: Velveteen Rabbi

Percy Speaks While I am Doing Taxes

First of all, I do not want to be doing this.

Second of all, Percy does not want me
to be doing this.

Hanging over my desk like a besieged person
with a dull pencil and innumerable lists of numbers.

Outside the water is blue, the sky is clear,
the tide rising.

Percy, I say, this has to be done. This is essential.
I'll be finished eventually.

Keep me in your thoughts, he replies.
Just because
I can't count to ten doesn't mean
I don't remember yesterday, or anticipate today.

I give you one more hour, then we step out
into the beautiful, money-deaf gift of the world
and run.

**Mary Oliver


By Susan Osborn

If I am deaf and cannot hear
And if I am blind and cannot see
If I am mute and cannot speak
If all of my senses are numb and dull
Will I be saved?

Is the soul impoverished in any way?
Or does the utter silence ring
with the Truth?
Does Love care
what the words are
that lead us home?

God retreats

In the beginning
it was sudden --
the world

that wasn't
all at once

out of formless void --

of the infinite
into pieces -- God

to make way
for perfect human


**Rachel Tzvia Back

I've looked at love from both sides now

(I really don't know love at all)

Love your neighbor
          Love your enemies 1

If you love those who love you, 2
           Any run-of-the-mill sinner can do that. 3

Anyone who loves their son or daughter
                     more than Me
                                 is not worthy of Me. 4

Whoever has been forgiven little
            loves little. 5

Anyone who loves Me
               will obey my teaching.
                           My Father will love them,
                                 and we will come to them
                                          and make our home with them.6
1- Matthew 5:43-44
2- Matthew 5:46
3- Matthew 5:47 (Message)
4- Matthew 10:37
5- Luke 7:47b
6- John 14:23

Sportscenter (At the Hunger Games)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness,
 faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23
Coming up on Sportscenter …..

Porn defeated love
Misery destroyed joy
War handed peace another loss
Rush to judgment shut down patience

Selfishness beat kindness
Evil had its way with goodness
Indifference upset faithfulness
Gentleness was manhandled by violence
And Decadence laughed self-control off the field.

Later, our panel will discuss the question:
“When will these fruit of the Spirit teams
mature into winners?”
It’s all coming up next.

Blown by the Spirit… We Know Not Where

***Walter Brueggemann Prayers for a Privileged People

We hear the story of the wind at Pentecost,
Holy wind that dismantles what was,
Holy wind that evokes what is to be,
Holy wind that overrides barriers and causes communication,
Holy wind that signals your rule even among us.

We are dazzled, but then – reverting to type -
We wonder how to harness the wind,
how to manage the wind by our technology,
how to turn the wind to our usefulness,
how to make ourselves managers of the wind

Partly we do not believe such an odd tale
because we are not religious freaks;
Partly we resist such a story,
because it surges beyond our categories;
Partly we had imagined you to be more ordered
and reliable than that.

So we listen, depart, and return to our ordered existence:
we depart with only a little curiosity
But not yielding;
we return to how it was before,
unconvinced but wistful, slightly praying for wind,
craving for newness,
wishing to have it all available to us.
We pray toward the wind and wait, unconvinced but wistful.

An Anxious World

An anxious world seeks moments of happiness
instead of a life of joy.

An anxious world desires an understandable calm
instead of a peace that surpasses understanding.

An anxious world can’t wait for the next big thing
instead of patiently enduring the situation at hand

An anxious world wants to destroy those who disagree
instead of being kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (Luke 6:35)

An anxious world anticipates integrity to be corrupted
instead of goodness as our unblemished standard.

An anxious world searches everywhere for answers
instead of being true to the ones taught by the Master.

An anxious world believes might makes right
instead of a gentleness that brings righteousness.

An anxious world is chained in excess
instead of being free in disciplines
of prayer, charity and worship.

O anxious world!
Abandon what the world is selling.
Embrace what the Lord has given -
The Holy Spirit.


And after it rains
There's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same
Back in my little town
**Paul Simon

Luke 4:16-30

Oh Jesus!
You can have a baptism.
like no other.
Deal with devil
on your terms.
Heal the
troubled, bleeding and hurting.

But back home
The carpenter’s kid.
The undiscipled Rabbi.
None of the other kids
are like You.

You became like the prodigal.
Left your town behind
began to reveal who God is.

Then came home
a people who
wanted to have a feast and celebrate.
Bring us the Lamb and kill it.
For His own good.
(and ours as well)


By Billy Collins
I have a feeling that it is much worse
than shopping for a mattress at a mall,
of greater duration without question,
and there is no random pitch forking here,
no licking flames to fear,
only this cavernous store with its maze of bedding.

Yet wandering past the jovial kings,
the more sensible queens,
and the cheerless singles
no scarlet sheet will ever cover,

I am thinking of a passage from the Inferno
which I could fully bring to mind
and recite in English or even Italian

if the salesman who has been following us—
a crumpled pack of Newports
visible in the pocket of his short sleeve shirt—
would stop insisting for a moment
that we test this one, then this softer one,

which we do by lying down side by side,
arms rigid, figures on a tomb,
powerless to imagine what it would be like
to sleep or love this way
under the punishing rows of fluorescent lights,
which Dante might have included
had he been able to lie on his back between us here today.

“If I confide my secrets to you in a bar…”

Omar Khayyam
Rubaiyat (262)

If I confide my secrets
to you in a bar,
it is far better than to pray
without you in
a house of worship.

You are the alpha and omega;
without you everything is nothing.
If you wish, you can
sentence us to hell,
and if you wish, you can
decide to cherish us.

Translated by Juan Cole

Remove the chains

Set him free
from his madness.
Hear his plea.
Speak the word.
Remove the chains
set him free.
Set her free
from her disease.
Feel her faith,
Locate the touch.
Remove the chains
set her free.
I am so used to my chains.
Comfortable but binding.
I have no need to change.
There’s no reason to cry out in distress.
or care about anybody else’s shackles.
I don’t have to lunge
for the hem of His garment
here in the land of the free.

I Hear the Rolling Thunder

Mark 4:35-41

If it’s true that the gods do not sleep,
perhaps it was Jesus’ most fully human condition.

Remembering Eve, Abraham and Israel
Dreaming of angels, Abba and peace
A blessed rest after doing His Father’s will.
But in the midst of Nirvana
He was hijacked to
the world He created.
Drenched in water and the screams of
“Don’t you care if we drown?”

He thought
He was having His first nightmare.
So He played the hero.
He spoke to the cosmic snooze button.
Calmed the wind.
Stopped the waves.

And then
mumbled to the crew
before going back to sleep:
“Why so little faith,
when you’re traveling with the King?”

Spirit Twins ** Henri Nouwen

Spirit Twins ** Henri Nouwen
Two babies are in uterus confined to the wall of their mother’s womb, and they are having a conversation. For the sake of clarity we’ll call these twins Soul and Spirit.

Spirit says to Soul, “I know you are going to find this difficult to accept, but I truly believe there is life after birth.”

Soul responds, “Don’t be ridiculous. Look around you. This is all there is. Why must you always be thinking about something beyond this reality? Accept your lot in life. Make yourself comfortable and forget about all this life-after-birth nonsense.”

Spirit quiets down for a while, but her inner voice won’t allow her to remain silent any longer. “Soul, now don’t get mad, but I have something else to say. I also believe that there is a Mother.”

“A Mother!” Soul guffaws. “How can you be so absurd? You’ve never seen a Mother. Why can’t you accept that this is all there is? The idea of a Mother is crazy. You are here alone with me. This is your reality. Now grab hold of that cord. Go into your corner and stop being so silly. Trust me, there is no Mother.”

Spirit reluctantly stops her conversation with Soul, but her restlessness soon gets the better of her. “Soul,” she implores, “please listen without rejecting my idea. Somehow I think that those constant pressures we both feel, those movements that make us so uncomfortable at times, that continual repositioning and all of that closing in that seems to be taking place as we keep growing, is getting us ready for a place of glowing light, and we will experience it very soon.”

“Now I know you are absolutely insane,” replies Soul. “All you’ve ever known is darkness. You’ve never seen the light. How can you even contemplate such an idea? Those movements and pressures you feel are your reality. You are a distinct separate being. This is your journey and you’re on your own. Darkness and pressures and a closed-in feeling are what life is all about. You’ll have to fight it as long as you live. Now grab your cord and please stay still.

Spirit relaxes for a while, but finally she can contain herself no longer. “Soul, I have only one more thing to say, and then I’ll never bother you again.”

“Go ahead,” Soul responds impatiently.

“I believe all of these pressures and all of this discomfort is not only going to bring us to a new celestial light, but when we experience it, we are going to meet Mother face-to-face and know an ecstasy that is beyond anything we have ever experienced up until now.”

“You really are crazy, Spirit. Now I’m truly convinced of it.”


Our trust in the high-heaped table

Rabbi, we Gadarenes
Are not ascetics; we are fond of wealth and possessions.
Love, as You call it, we obviate by means
Of the planned release of aggressions.

We have deep faith in prosperity.
Soon, it is hoped, we will reach our full potential.
In the light of our gross product, the practice of charity
Is palpably non-essential.

It is true that we go insane;
That for no good reason we are possessed by devils;
That we suffer, despite the amenities which obtain
At all but the lowest levels.

We shall not, however, resign
Our trust in the high-heaped table and the full trough.
If You cannot cure us without destroying our swine,
We had rather You shoved off.
Richard Wilbur

Perhaps I am stronger than I think.

Perhaps I am stronger than I think.
Perhaps I am even afraid of my strength,
and turn it against myself, thus making myself weak.
Making myself secure. Making myself guilty.
Perhaps I am most afraid of the strength of God in me.
Perhaps I would rather be guilty and weak in myself,
than strong in Him whom I cannot understand.
- Thomas Merton