Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Achingly beautiful...

Did I mention last night that I stopped yesterday at the used Christian bookstore in town? They'd called to let me know that they'd tracked down a book I'd requested, so I stopped to pick it up. While I was there I browsed the usual sections I wander through, pulling a simple book of poetic prayers off the shelf because I recognized the name of the author.

I'll admit it - sometimes I judge a book by it's cover. And this particular book had all the right ingredients on the cover. A lovely looking picture. A great title, and the name of an author I like and respect. I read two or three lines from the inside, glanced at the price ($6.00!!!) and made the rather immediate decision to purchase the book.

I closed the day yesterday by reading several of the prayers contained in this book. And I marveled at their beauty. A beauty that made my heart ache, and long for so much more.

I'm tired this morning, after another night of restless tossing and turning. I'm frustrated by my body's inability to sleep, as I was sleeping deeply, and well through most of the last several weeks. I'm struggling with some health issues again, trying to wait them out, and feeling less than well in the midst of that. And quite frankly, I'm feeling just a bit tired of myself right now.

So, rather than begin this day by whining, let me share one of the achingly beautiful prayers that the book contained.

At the Dawn

Our first glimpse of reality this day - everyday - is your fidelity.
We are dazzled by the ways you remain constant among us,
in season, out of season,
for better, for worse,
in sickness and in health.
You are there in watchfulness as we fall asleep;
You are there in alertness when we awaken...and we are glad.
Before the day ends, we will have occasion
to flag your absence in indifference...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will think more than once
that we need a better deal from you...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Before the day ends, we will look away from you and
relish our own fidelity and our virtue in mercy...
but not now, not at the dawn.
Now, at the dawn, our eyes are fixed on you in gladness.
We ask only that your faithfulness
permeate every troubled place we are able to name,
that your mercy
move against the hurts to make new,
that your steadfastness
hold firmly what is too fragile on its own.
And we begin the day in joy, in hope, and in deep gladness. Amen.

(From "Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Bruggemann")