Monday Morning Offering: July 24

Good morning, good God!

I’ve been noticing, Lord,
how many good people,
really good people,
are part of my life…

This morning, for them,
I offer thanks and praise,
for all the good people
I know in my life:
generous people
who selflessly give…

those who are kind
without pretense or guile…

folks who forgive,
whose pardon is healing…

the ones who are holy
and don’t even know it…

folks who are gentle,
never harsh, rough or coarse…

those who are strong,
whose help lifts me up…

the ones who are pure
in thought, word and deed…

those of conviction
whose zeal never flags…

friends who are faithful
whose love never fades…

those who are happy
with genuine joy…

the honest ones, Lord,
whose truth is a gift…

folks of compassion
with patience unending…
the imprisoned whose freedom
frees my soul...
friends who are loyal
when you need them the most…

those who are help
before anyone asks…

people of prayer
whose presence is peace…
Good people, Lord,
so many good people
there are in my life…

They’re more generous and kind,
forgiving and holy,
gentler, stronger and purer by far,
more deeply convicted, faithful and joyful,
more honest, compassionate, loyal and helpful,
more thoughtful and prayerful
- than I…

Make me grateful for them
and teach me their ways,
these people and friends
whose goodness is yours...

This morning, for them,
I offer thanks and I offer praise
for these very good people
who bless my life...



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Audio for today's seeds homily

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Technical difficulties prevented my posting the audio for my weekend homily.  For those who prefer to listen (or to listen and read along) here it is:


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Homily for July 23: What's that seed you're sowing?

Homily for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

(Tech problems with audio, I may be able to post it later today)
If, in your own back yard you’re dealing with
crabgrass  or dandelions or ragweed or poison ivy
you not only know what are nuisance these are
but you also know what Jesus is talking about in this parable.

Of course, Jesus is referring to something worse
than anything you might control with Roundup or Weed-B-Gon.
Jesus is comparing the life-giving seeds he sows
with the invasive and destructive seeds sown by - the evil one.
You wanna see some nasty weeds?
Check out what the evil one is sowing all around us today.
His deadly, choking harvest of weeds was in all the papers this morning
- and all over social media and on the radio and TV.
And it was there yesterday, too, and the week before
and it will be there again tomorrow and next week, too.

Weeds are sown and grown in our back yards,
in our neighborhoods, in our parish,  in our town,
and across the Commonwealth, in our nation and all around the world.
Today’s gospel calls us not only to accountability
for how we deal with weeds we find all around us,
but Jesus’s words also call us to be, like him, sowers of good seed,
taking care not to sow more weeds in the world around us,
making the problem even worse.
I have an online friend whom I’ve never met.
His name is Alden Solovy.
Alden is Jewish and, like me, writes a blog on spirituality and prayer.
Today’s gospel reminded me of one of Alden’s prayers,
one I especially liked.

It’s titled Planting Seeds and it reads:

Every act is a seed:
(every thought, word and deed of ours is a seed)*
Every laugh, every smile. 
Every song, every dance.
Every outstretched arm 
And every open heart:
A seed of holiness. 
A seed of redemption. 
A seed of grace.

Every act is a seed:
(every thought, word and deed of ours is a seed)*
Every frown, every angry word. 
Every dislike, every disdain.
Every closed fist
And every hardened heart.
A seed of loneliness. 
A seed of isolation. 
A seed of despair.

How many seeds have I planted, God of Old,
Seeds that hurt, 
Seeds that heal?
How many seeds have I yet to plant,
Seeds that hurt,
Seeds that heal?

Ancient One, 
Grant me the discernment And the skill
To plant seeds of wonder and awe
In my life and the world.
Let me be a source of wholeness,
Let me be a source of thanksgiving,
So that my life yields
A garden of blessings
In service to Your Holy Name.


Every act of ours,
every thought, word and deed of ours - is a seed.
Our minds and hearts, our words and deeds are the seed bag
from which we sow our selves in the lives of those around us,
in the world around us and in our own lives, too.

If your seed bag is anything like mine,
it holds seeds for a good harvest and it holds seeds for weeds.
It holds the seeds of my good will, my good intentions
and my desire to lives as I know God calls me to live.
And my seed bag also holds the seeds of my jealousy, my anger,
and my selfishness

Jesus calls each of us to take great care in what we sow,
lest we plant weeds that choke and cut short
the growth and life of all around us.

So we might ask ourselves, using my friend Alden’s words:
In the week just past, how many seeds, O God, have I planted:
how many seeds that hurt,  how many seeds that heal?

And in the week ahead, Lord, how many seeds will I plant:
how many seeds that hurt, how many seeds that heal?

Jesus allowed himself to be the seed that dies
that others might have life.
He allowed himself to be, sown, planted in the earth
that he might raise up in a harvest of God’s grace and peace, for us.
And that harvest is what he shares with us at this altar in the Eucharist:
the harvest of wheat, become bread, become his Body for us;
the harvest of grapes, become wine, become his Blood for us.

May the seeds of grace Jesus plants in our minds and hearts today
yield a harvest of grace,
a garden of blessings,
leading each of us to sow the seeds of life
and to reap the harvest the Lord desires.

*For my homiletic purpose, I added this interpolation.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 7/23

Today's Pause for Prayer is a musical offering - a song I'm sure you know and one I hope you like as much as I do.

no matter what's going in the world right now,
morning will break
and the sun that shone at the dawn of creation
will shine on me...

no matter what's going on in my life right now,
in my mind and heart, in my hopes and dreams,
morning will break
and the sun that warmed the earth when it began
will warm me today...

no matter how confused and anxious I might be today,
whatever my troubles and trials,
morning will break
and as sure as the sun does shine so surely
will you rise in my heart...

Mine is the sunlight, Lord, mine is the morning,
born of the one light Eden saw play;
I praise with elation, praise every morning
your recreation of a new day...



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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 7/22

Sometimes, Lord,
the simplest things protect me:
   a visored cap
   the truth told
   sun tan lotion
   a neighbor's care
   my word given
   a strong arm
   mercy shared
   traffic lights
   a second chance
   good advice
   a helping hand
   your grace and peace
   a band-aid 
   a watchful eye 
   a promise kept
   an umbrella's dome
   a friend's embrace
   a warm coat
   a wise word
   a hand to hold
   a pause for prayer
      reminding me you're near, Lord,
         reminding me you're here...

Sometimes, Lord,
the simplest things protect me:
  for all these simple things
  I give you thanks and praise...


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 7/21

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In the cold of winter
I longed for your warmth, Lord,
and now that it's here -
I'm tempted to run from its embrace....

Dare I say your warmth
comes too late,
the heat of your presence comes to call
at an inconvenient time?

I dare not prefer the cold to your warmth
so teach me, Lord, to bask in your heat
whenever, however it envelops me...

Teach me to long for the burn of your presence,
searing and sealing me with your love
til my heart is tanned with the the warm glow,
the bronze hue, the touch 
of your branding hand...

Teach me, Lord, 
to soak in your love on any day,
your grace seeping deep inside
through the pores of my soul,
open and sweating the sweet anointing
of your heat, your warmth, your light...



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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 7/20

Lord, sometimes I look back upon the last few days, the week just past, and catch a glimpse or two (or more) of how your grace has brought me to this day, through trials and troubles that seemed, just yesterday, impossible, irreparable, impassable...

But, here I am, Lord, and with your help I made it through the dark of night and to the dawn of this new day.   I made it, Lord - but only by your grace... 

I so often miss your helping hand, the ways you reach out to encourage and support me: to lift me up when I am down, to lead me on when I hang back, to draw me out of my resentment and self-pity...

I let myself get in the way, Lord:  I look down instead of up, I look in instead of out, I think the worst and not the best, I give up hope when hope's just what I need the most...

I get in the way and close my eyes and ears, my mind and heart to all the ways you're there, right by my side to guard and guide me...

I get in my own way, Lord, and trip myself on disappointment, fear and worry.  I get in my own way and fail to see you're there for me in just the ways I need you.  I get in my own way, Lord, and miss the many ways you call for me to wake up, get up, shape up, grow up, step up, face up to the challenges before me...

One day at a time is all you ask of me and every day is just how often you reach out to me to bring me through the troubles and trials that seemed, just yesterday, impossible, impassable, irreparable...

Lord, sometimes I look back upon the last few days, the week just past, and catch a glimpse or two (or more) of how your grace has brought me safe thus far. Give me glimpses today, Lord, of your presence and the grace you offer me: each day, every day, one day at a time...

Keep me out of my own way, Lord: help me follow on the path where your love helps and heals and lifts me up. 


Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 7/19

no matter how young or old I am,
I've got a lot of growing left to do
 - and maybe even some growing up!

I know I have a ways to go
in becoming the person I was made to be,
the person you call me to be,
the person I truly want to be...

Help me see what holds me back
and help me see what helps me grow
and help me leave behind
what keeps me from becoming
who I was made to be...

I believe you and I
both want the same thing here
- so let's talk...

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10 years ago today was a rainy day...

July 18, 2007 was a rainy day and for me - a day off.  Having mused for some time about starting a blog I took the occasion of the weather and my free time to poke around online to see how one begins to blog.  I followed the directions I found and, to my amazement, within a few hours I had a blog online and I wrote these words as my first post:
I have often thought of starting a blog and this rainy afternoon has provided an opportunity for me to give it a try. I don't know if I have or can make the time to keep this fresh but I do know that if it becomes stale, it will disappear. (I'm not even sure I'll be able to set this thing up and get it online!)
So, let's see how this goes...
Well, 10 years have passed and I've posted at least once every day for a total of 7,560 posts.  Yes, this takes time but writing this page is one of the joys of my life and ministry: I always look forward to it and it never feels like work. I thank God for the opportunity to do this, for the Holy Spirit's help and for all of you who come here to pause for prayer in your daily lives.  If reading this blog is as much a help in your prayer life as writing this page is in mine, then I am very grateful, indeed.

Many of you come directly to my blog and many arrive here through FaceBook and Twitter.  Readers often write and ask if it's all right to forward or share my posts with others.  My answer is always the same: YES!  If you find something here worth sharing with others, please do!  I'm always grateful for your help in this regard. (Just be sure to supply a link back here so that others will be able to find my page...)

So, trusting that I've kept this effort fresh, please keep me in your prayers as I begin the 11th year of A Concord Pastor Comments.


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 7/18

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Be my strength, Lord, 
   when I'm weak and tired, 
   when I'm listless and drowsy:
      be the strength in my arms and keep me faithful to my work;
      be the strength in my body when I want to flee to sleep;
      be the strength in my soul when self-pity's got its hold on me;
      be the strength in my spirit when "I Don't Care" is how I feel...

Be my fortress, Lord,
   when I feel besieged on every side, 
   when it seems there's no place left to go,
   when I need a place that's safe from harm, 
   when I look for shelter for my heart:
      be my fortress, Lord, protecting me from what and whom I fear;
      be my fortress, Lord, a place to go when I'm not sure where home is;
      be my fortress, Lord, my  shield lest any harm might touch my soul;
      be my fortress, Lord, and keep me close within your saving arms...

Deliver me, Lord, from sin and from temptation...

Deliver me, Lord, from thoughts and words and deeds 
      that have no business being in my mind, my speech, my life...

Deliver me, Lord, from anyone and anything 
   that fails to bring me closer to your way, your word, your wisdom...

Deliver me, Lord, from the hold my possessions have on me:
   deliver me from all the things, the toys and stuff
      that spend my time and waste my mind, that drain my soul of spirit
         and bring no good to me or to my neighbor...

Help me know how weak I am so I might know the times
    I need your power to hold me up and help me to go on...
Help me know how vulnerable I am so I might know the times
   when your presence is my only refuge, my safe haven...

Help me know how lost I often am so I might know the times
   I need your wisdom to guide me and your love to save me...
I love you, Lord:
   my strength, 
      my fortress, 
         and my deliverer...
In the quiet of my prayer, Lord, show me
   how much I need your strength,
   how often I need to rest in the fortress of your arms,
   how deeply I need for you to rescue me 
      from harm, from foolishness and even from myself...

In the stillness of my prayer,
   strengthen my faith in your love for me, Lord,
   be the place where my heart finds its peace
   and deliver me from danger, however it might come my way...

Quiet my anxious heart and help me be still
   that I might know that you're my God,
      that you are near,
         that you are here with me...

I love you, Lord:
   my strength, 
      my fortress, 
         and my deliverer...


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