Everyday we are given more than enough. (Even in those words I am aware of how privileged I am. I’m thinking about words and so many are hungry today and thirsty today and without shelter today and without healthcare today and without hope today. Forgive me for brushing past those truths so quickly, too quickly.)
Everyday we are given more words and images than we can take in and process and wonder and pray about. More than enough. Perhaps it’s our 24/7 news cycles. Pictures and stories flash across our TV sets. And if that wasn’t enough there are constant sub-stories running beneath them.
Today (October 2nd) is Day #2 of our Government Shut-Down and words seem not nearly enough to express deep frustration, shared desperation, and anger at the leaders of our nation. The separation between the “have” and “have nots” only grows wider. And the ones who we have trusted to lead us…talk on and on and on.
In my lifetime we’ve gone from three channels: ABC,NBC, and CBS and now have hundreds. It’s so easy to “surf” the night away and go to bed so very weary. When I do this at night, I wonder hours later when I’m turning out the light, “what was I looking for?”
Friday, October 4th is the day set aside to celebrate St. Francis of Assisi. The one quoted as saying, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words, " is said to have to have turned away from the weights of the world and turned toward a new way of being in the world. It is said that his life began in opulent wealth and was lived out with a dedication to the poor. He was said to have been known to seek out and bless the animals.
He is given credit for a prayer for peace:
O! Signore, fa di me uno strumento della tua Pace:
Dove è odio, fa ch'io porti l'Amore
Dove è offesa, ch'io porti il Perdono.
Dove è discordia, ch'io porti l'Unione.
Dove è dubbio, ch'io porti la Fede.
Dove è errore, ch'io porti la Verità.
Dove è disperazione, ch'io porti la Speranza.
Dove è tristezza, ch'io porti la Gioia.
Dove sono le tenebre, ch'io porti la Luce.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the tr
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
There’s a balance in this life I am seeking. I don’t want to stick my head in the sand and turn off and away from all the events that are happening. AND I don’t want to stay tethered to a box that becomes my strongest connection to the world.
Maybe this day marking St. Francis would be a good day to stretch beyond what I’ve always done and try something I’ve yet to do…like praying in Italian. Maybe this day is the perfect day to begin line-by-line to pray the prayer of St. Francis in his language. Something beyond what’s comfortable and ordinary. Old wines in a new wineskin. That’ll preach.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.