God of Mercy, open my eyes to your goodness. Open my eyes to the other stuff, too. Keep me aware of the injustice that is around me, the signs of oppression, the victims of hate. Keep me always mindful that I am capable of evil. Help me be honest about my complicity in systems that blame, exploit, dehumanize or exclude people. Rather than say “Never again!”—as if it lies the future— help me be aware of the present moment and how I can stand today with the vulnerable, and against injustice. Each moment is a choice. Be with me in my choosing.
“Follow me, and I will have you fish for people.” —Matthew 4.19
What net might I cast into the sea of my life that would make me a fisher of people? Only love. Not my desires and expectations, not my being right. Only experiencing their belovedness will draw them to God. Regard them all, friend, enemy and stranger, with the infinite gentleness and respect of Christ, the delight and compassion of God. A great multitude, all of Creation, is held in that gleaming net.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the realm of heaven. —Matthew 5.3
Eternal God, I humbly confess my riches, illusory as they are, to which I cling: that I am right, that I am acceptable, or ought to be, that I have reason to be beloved, or to be abandoned. I have hoarded worthiness and unworthiness. I have kept account.
I am sorry, and I renounce my whole account, and all to which I cling. I repent of the wealth of what I think and what I fear and what I want.
O I am truly poor; I have nothing but this one breath, and its release, and my openness to you.
Bereft as air, I await the song of your grace to fill me, bless me, redeem me.
Keep me free, and sustain my blessed poverty, an open hand, reaching out in this present moment, to your open hand.
The universe will not applaud you for astonishing accomplishments. Angels won’t go around talking about you for your notable achievements. God doesn’t care if you succeed.
What gives the Beloved joy is that—even in your limited circumstances, with only the gifts the Spirit gives you, without notice, reward or acclaim— you act justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with God. That really is all God asks. That is enough to give God deep joy, deep joy.
When you’re young, and your heart falls for that special one, you daydream about them, don’t you? You notice them out of the whole crowd. You watch, you know their routine. You plant yourself, casually as you can right where you know they come out of class, or go to work, right up that sidewalk as they come the other way— you do it more than once— so you can just happen to bump into them, even for a fleeting conversation, and maybe more, oh you hope, a little more.
So the Beloved haunts your ways, hoping for a brief encounter, hoping, oh, hoping for maybe a little more.