Sunday Morning Offering!

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza 

Because I'll be on retreat this week - and posting only Night Prayer each day - I'm anticipating what would have been tomorrow's Monday Morning Offering...

On the church calendar, a new "year of grace" begins on the first Sunday of Advent as once again, over the course of a year, we unfold the mystery of Jesus: in history, in word and sacrament,  and in our own lives in faith. Happy New Year, then - and thus this Morning Offering...

Good morning, good God!

With Advent comes a new year of grace,
grace that's yours alone to give and mine to receive...

In this new year I want to offer you
an open door to my heart
for you to enter and make your home there...

I offer you the corners of my heart's garden
where I let the weeds grow wild:
help me weed out and prune away
whatever fails to nourish my spirit, my soul...

I offer you the closets of my heart,
stuffed with old grudges and resentments:
Lord, help me discard anything
that fails to help me heal and grow...

I offer you my heart's boxes of wasted time,
bags of foolishness
and suitcases of misspent effort:
Lord, help me clear out the trash of my mistakes
and give me a new beginning...

I offer you the cellar of my heart, Lord,
where a locked trunk of hurt and anger
aches to be opened with the key of your healing grace:
unlock what keeps me prisoner
to my memories and disappointments...

I offer you my heart's hopes and dreams, Lord,
for this new year of grace:
my pledge to pray more regularly;
my desire to grow in your love;
my need to rely on your wisdom and word;
my promise to ask for your help each day;
my hope to be more forgiving of those who offend me,
more faithful in serving others' needs
and more welcoming of those who are alone...

I offer you this new year of grace, Lord,
and ask for the strength and resolve I need to live it
as one worthy of the name Christian,
ready for the work of a disciple,
confident of your presence in everything I do
and in all I meet and know...

I offer you the new year ahead, Lord
- one day at a time -
and I pray for the serenity and grace
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference...








NIGHT PRAYER: On the eve of Advent

At sundown today we began to celebrate the season of Advent: a season of joyful expectation of Christmas; a season for renewing our hearts as a dwelling place for Christ today; and a season for contemplating Christ's coming again at the end of time... Each Saturday night in this season, Night Prayer will focus on lighting one or more candles on the Advent wreath..

If you have an Advent Wreath at home, pray for peace this week
   as you light the first candle each day.
If you don't have an Advent Wreath
   - light any candle and pray for peace.
If you have no candle,
   simply stay right here with the virtual candle above and pray for peace...
This prayer is for each time you light the candle on your wreath this week...

Let us pray for peace... 
Let us pray for an end to war,
    terrorism, violence and bloodshed...
Let us pray for the safe return of those who are in harm's way
    especially those far from home, family and friends...
Let us pray for peace at our nation's borders 
   and at the borders of nations around the world...
Let us pray for racial peace and harmony in our nation...
Let us pray for peace and an end to the violence of mass shootings...
Let us pray for political peace and unity in America... 

Let us pray for those who have died in war 
   and for their loved ones who grieve their loss... 
Let us pray for our enemies...  
Let us pray for the poor who suffer war's hardships... 
 Let us pray for the peace the world cannot give or make for itself,
   the peace that only the Lord can give...
Let us pray for peace in the Church... 
Let us pray for healing peace in the hearts and minds and souls
   of those who have been abused by the Church and her ministers...
Let us pray for the peace
   of truth, honesty and transparency in the Church...
Let us pray for peace among those divided
   by theological and liturgical differences...
Let us pray for the unity of all who believe in Christ...

Let us pray for peace among the people of God...
And let us pray for an end to the wars we wage (large and small)
    in our own families and neighborhoods, 
        at work, at school and in our parishes... 
Let us pray for peace and safety
   of all who live with domestic violence...
Let us pray for those we make our personal enemies... 
   and those who make enemies of us...
Let us pray for an end to the wars we fight within ourselves... 
Let us pray for healing peace in the minds and hearts
   of all who live with anxiety, fear and depression... 
Let us pray for peace in those secret places in our hearts
    where only God and we know how great is the need for peace...
Let us pray for the peace we cannot give or make for ourselves... 
Let us pray for the peace that only the Lord can give...
Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...


If a widget doesn't appear below, click here!

Peace by Dan Loewen


The waters are raging, the storm clouds are near 
How long till this chaos will cease 
Come silence the waves of our worry and fear 
Will you come, will you come, bring us peace 
Come O Come Emmanuel 
Come O Come Emmanuel 
The waves would obey you 
If you just speak the word 
So we wait in the silence 
For your peace here on earth




Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 11/27

Image source

The church year always begins with the First Sunday of Advent,
this year on Sunday, November 28.  Each "year of grace" presents
and celebrates the mystery of Jesus, beginning with his birth at
Christmas and the season of Advent to prepare for that feast.  So,
today is the day of the Year of Grace 2021 and tomorrow begins 
the Year of Grace 2022...

Advent begins a new "year of grace,"
another year, Lord,
when you'll do everything you can
    to turn my head,
    catch my eye
    have my ear,
    shape my thoughts, 
    illumine my imagination,
    direct my attention,
    and take my hand,
    to lead and guide me
    closer to you, 
    to your Word,
    to your will
    and to your love...

A year of grace...

Where will you lead me, Lord?

In what direction will you guide me,
    in this new year?

What challenges
    lie before me?

What graces will there be,
    poured from your heart and hand into mine,
to help me face those challenges,
    and my fears and difficulties?

How will your grace help me, Lord:
    to do what I think I cannot do?
    to deal with what I'm afraid to face?
    to accept the things I cannot change?
    to love my neighbor as myself?
    to love what is good and do what is just?
    to endure what I think I won't survive?
    to achieve what I think beyond is my reach?

A new year of grace...

Lord, how will your grace amaze me
    in the year ahead?

A new year of grace:
    may it be a graceful year, Lord...

May it be a year when your grace:
    makes lighter my burdens,
    steadier my step,
    more confident my hope,
    wiser my decisions,
    more trusting my faith,
    stronger my choices,
    deeper my love,
    and closer my heart
    to yours, Lord...

Fill me with your grace, Lord,
    your wonderful, healing, saving, amazing grace
in this new year of grace,
    the year that lies before me...






NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 11/26


Where I live, Lord
the temperature is dropping
day by day - and night by night!
A few days ago 
I searched my bureau, my closet
and the trunk of my car 
for wool hats, warm gloves and scarves
to wrap me up and keep me warm
against the cold that shivers in my limbs...
But only prayer, Lord, melts the chill
that settles in my soul
when hope in frosted darkness fades
at this lonely time of year...

Hold me close, Lord - swaddle me -
in the warmth of your embrace
until my soul's aglow with heat
from the furnace of your heart...
Bundle me up in your grace, Lord, 
and warm me for the work of wrapping the homeless
in the comfort of thick blankets
and woolen hats and glove and scarves
to protect them from the elements
and the cold death 
of being forgotten...

Clothe your people in your love, Lord,
that we might warm each other 
in the warmth you share with us...

Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...


If a video doesn't appear below, click here!









ADVENT - in two minutes!

Not exactly sure what ADVENT is all about?
Here's a quick video Intro to Advent 101 in just two minutes!
This weekend, November 28, is the First Sunday of Advent!
(If a video doesn't appear below, click here!)






Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 11/26

Image source

The day after Thanksgiving...

Forgive us, Lord,
any over-indulgence at yesterday's table
and teach us not to waste the plenty that we have
or hoard the goods that others need so much...

As we plan and shop for Christmas
make us grateful for what's already ours
and keep us mindful of others' basic needs...

Tempt us to be more than generous
in opening our hearts and wallets
to those who truly need a share
of all we have in such abundance...

Help us find the deeper meaning
in the days that lie ahead:
    what's holy, healing, helpful, 
    what makes us truly happy 
    in the gift you are for us,
    in our giving of ourselves...





NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 11/25


This is the tenth year I'm pleased to post this Thanksgiving piece by teacher, singer, poet and friend, John Fitzsimmons, along with his reading of it accompanied by the sound of his guitar.


I am surprised sometimes
by the suddenness of November:
beauty abruptly shed
to a common nakedness--
grasses deadened
by hoarfrost,
persistent memories
of people I've lost.

It is left to those of us
dressed in the hard
barky skin of experience
to insist on a decorum
that rises to the greatness
of a true Thanksgiving.

This is not a game
against a badly scheduled team,
an uneven match on an uneven pitch.

This is Life.
This is Life.
This is Life.

Not politely mumbled phrases,
murmured with a practiced and meticulous earnestness.

Thanksgiving was born a breech-birth,
a screaming appreciation for being alive--
for not being one of the many
who didn't make it--
who couldn't moil through
another hardscrabble year
on tubers and scarce fowl.

Thanksgiving is for being you.
There are no thanks without you.

You are the power of hopeful promise;
you are the balky soil turning upon itself;
you are bursting forth in your experience.

You are not the person next to you--
not an image or an expectation.
You are the infinite and eternal you--
blessed, and loved, and consoled
by the utter commonness
and community of our souls.

We cry and we're held.
We love and we hold.

We are the harvest of God,
constantly renewed,
constantly awakened
to a new thanksgiving.
Protect us, Lord, this Thanksgiving night
and be with us when we fall asleep,
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...


If a video doesn't appear below, click here!



1. Day is done, but love unfailing dwells ever here.
Shadows fall, but hope prevailing, calms ev'ry fear.
Loving Father, none forsaking,
Take our hearts, of love's own making,
Watch our sleeping, guard our waking,
Be always near.

2. Dark descends, but light unending shines through our night;
You are with us, ever lending new strength to sight:
One in love, your truth confessing,
One in hope of heaven's blessing,
May we see, in love's possessing,
Love's endless light!

3. Eyes will close, but you, unsleeping, watch by our side
Death may come, in love's safekeeping still we abide.
God of love, all evil quelling
Sin forgiving, fear dispelling
Stay with us, our hearts indwelling,
This eventide.  




Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 11/25

TWO prayers this morning!
1) Not sure how to pray before dinner today? Here's a Grace Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner if you're the one who's called upon to lead your family and friends in prayer...

2) Are you missing a loved one who's no longer at your Thanksgiving table?  I'm posting again my Prayer at an Empty Chair for those whose hearts bear some measure of grief today...

Grace Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation!   

Through your goodness  we have so much
    for which to give you thanks and praise...

Make us grateful for all you've given us;
    may our desire for having more (and more)
    not blind us to all we have...

Make us grateful for all who love us:
    may no grudge or anger keep us distant
    from family and friends,
    neighbors and colleagues... 

Make us grateful for those who are with us:
    may no resentment isolate us
    from their loving embrace...

Make us grateful for the good work we've done:
    may our mistakes and failures
    not weigh us down or blind us to your mercy... 

Make us grateful for the freedom we enjoy:
    may we never take it for granted...

Make us grateful for the peace we find in you:
    let no other cause or victory take its place...

Make us grateful for our dreams:
    let no disappointment keep us from hope... 

Make us grateful for our faith in you:
    let no doubt cloud our trusting in your love...

Make us grateful
    for the meal we are about to share
and mindful
    of any and all who have so much less... 

Nourish and strengthen us
    to change what keeps so many hungry
while others, like ourselves,
    have much more than we'll ever need...

Give us grateful hearts, O God,
to praise and thank you:
    in good times and in bad,
    in sickness and in health,
    in plenty and in want,
    in sorrow and in joy...

This is the day that you made, Lord:
    let us be glad and rejoice in it
    and give you thanks and praise! 


 Praying with an empty chair at the table...

Prayer at an Empty Chair 

This Thanksgiving, Lord,
there’ll be an empty chair at our table,
an ache in our hearts and tears on our cheeks...

We might try and even succeed
in shielding our grief from others
- but we cannot hide from you...

So, we pray for (name your loved ones) 
whose loving presence we'll miss
at this homecoming time...

Help us remember and tell again the stories
of all we shared with the very ones 
we miss so much...

Open our hearts to joyful memories
of the times and love we knew
with those who've gone before us...

And with your gentle touch, Lord,
smooth and mend any ragged, broken edges
still in need of your merciful healing...

May the bonds you forged grow stronger
in our remembering those
who've now gone home to you…

Help us trust in faith that those we miss so much
have a place now in your heart
and a seat at your table in heaven...

Deepen and strengthen our hope
that one day we'll see them once again
and enjoy their company and love...

Teach us, Lord, to lean on those around us
for the help and support we need
when our spirits flag and fail us…

Open our hearts and souls, Lord,
to the warmth of your presence,
within us and among us...

Be with us to console us and,
just as you embrace the ones we miss:
hold us, too, along with them,
in your everlasting arms...

Give us moments of quiet prayer today:
time to share with you
our memories and our losses,
our feelings, thoughts, and tears...

Even in our grief, Lord, help us remember
that this is the day that you have made:
help us rejoice in the peace you've promised us,
the peace we pray you share even now
with those who've gone before us...

We pray then, Lord, for all who know
the burdens this day brings:
we trust you'll hear and answer us
who give you thanks and praise...






NIGHT PRAYER: Wednesday 11/24

Tonight, Lord, Thanksgiving Eve, 
I'm grateful for the gift of faith:
    that strength, power and source within
    showing me the way,
    guiding me in the dark,
    making sure my faltering step,
    giving light for finding truth
    and hope for living gracefully
    through all my trials and troubles..
Tonight, Lord,  I'm grateful for the gift of your Church:
    that wounded, rag-tag, joyful company of saints and sinners
    whose faith is my strength, binding us together,
    brothers and sisters all, in you and in your love...
Tonight, I'm grateful for the people in my life:
    the ones who've helped to make me the person I've become;
    those who've loved me in ways too many to know or to imagine;
    those who've loved me though I've failed to love them in return;
    those who've pardoned and forgiven me with mercy and with grace;
    those who've shared their joy with me, who fill my heart with peace,
    who've helped me trust and know with hope
    that you are always by my side... 
Tonight, Lord, I'm grateful for the mystery of your presence:
    in everyone I know and meet;
    in the simple joys of ordinary days    ;
    and in the quiet stillness
    of the time I spend with you in prayer...
And tonight, Lord, I'm grateful for...
    Take some time right now to tell the Lord 
        what YOU'RE most grateful for this evening...*

Tonight I praise and thank you
for you're my Lord, you're my God
from whom all blessings flow...

Protect me, Lord while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
* Tonight's music is instrumental, meant to provide
a lush background for the time you spend naming the
people and the gifts you're grateful for in your life...

If a widget doesn't appear below, click here! 
Song at the End of the Day by Secret Garden