Trinity B: Come, This Way

Trinity (Celtic)OLD TESTAMENT: Isaiah 6: 1-8

To read the Old Testament Lectionary Passage, click here

The year that this was probably written was around 742 BCE (dated by the death of King Uzziah). King Uzziah, also known as Azariah, had ruled for about 45 years and then when he contracted leprosy, it was necessary to appoint a regent to rule in his place. Essentially, the kingdom was in chaos. The air is full of uncertainty. Assyria is expanding its borders and so the northern kingdom, Israel, is trying to coerce Judah into a military alliance against the Assyrian threat. In the midst of this, the prophet Isaiah has a vision of God enthroned in a heavenly court. The vocation of the heavenly court is to continuously sing praises to God. The prophet sees only the hem of God’s robe. (Because remember, it was believed that if one actually saw God, it would mean death.)

God is surrounded by seraphs, part of the heavenly court, hovering over God, guarding. One pair of wings cover their faces in the awesome presence of God (so they won’t see God) and a second pair cover their genitals (feet is a euphemism, since it was wrong to speak of genitalia). This is a sign of commitment to purity. Isaiah feels inadequate in God’s presence. He feels unclean, unfit to stand before God, yet he sees God. But he is made clean by one of the seraphs. This is the technical language of the rite of forgiveness of the temple, symbolized by refinement through fire. Isaiah accepts his calling as prophet to Judah. He has been forgiven and has seen God.

The vision is one of grandeur that lies outside the scope of what we see and know, outside the boundaries of normal human experience. It is believing in the unbelievable. Isaiah is brought to the ultimate realization that he is lacking in the face of this magnificence. He has “unclean lips” and his life is lacking. And yet, he offers himself, presents himself for the cleansing by God that he now sees that he needs. He knows that he cannot do it himself.

And so the nation enters a transition from a time of power and prosperity to one of desolation. But Isaiah knows that God is carrying the people through this time. Once again, one must empty oneself to see and truly experience God. It is his call to ministry. But it was a call that Isaiah could not hear without some preparation. And yet, he goes willingly, almost as if he could not do anything but. But this is not a call to preach comfort and joy. Remember, it is a time of desolation and destruction. Isaiah, then, is called to preach words that will finally convince the people to listen, to turn from the destructive path that they are on. These are people that think they are living out the will of God but who are actually far from that. It is time to hear a different tune.

What the prophet is called to speak will not make their lives easier, their road smoother, or their pathway plainer. In fact, it will actually be more confusing and less certain. It will, instead, be a journey of faith, rather than certainty. (In fact, just a few verses after the ones we read, Isaiah’s “here am I’ turns into “How long, O Lord?”) But maybe God’s wisdom is to choose those who continually question themselves and their mission so that they will look to God for direction. In a commentary on this passage, Dr. John Holbert says:

By all means, call your people to follow the Lord, bid them give their lives for God’s service. It is what we do! But to follow God rightly does not always lead to great congregations, vast religious campuses, and budgets that rival those of small nations. What we are called to say to our world is that the last are first, the least are greatest, and the greatest among us is a servant. Such two thousand year old words have regularly been met by dull ears, sightless eyes, and clouded minds; all of which have led again and again to wasted cities and empty lands, ravaged by wars and famines and hopelessness.

Another hymn rises to mind: “The Voice of God is Calling,” John Haynes Holmes’ 1913 poem. “From ease and plenty save us,” begins the fourth verse, and it ends, “Speak, and behold! we answer; command and we obey!”1  By all means, respond to the call of God. But be careful to know that the call is never easy, never simple to grasp, never designed for ready comfort and success.  Just ask Isaiah(From “Preaching This Week”, by Dr. John Holbert, 06/07/2009, available at,  accessed 30 May, 2012.)


  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. What parallels do you see with today?
  3. What do you think Isaiah really saw in this God-experience?
  4. What images of God does this bring about for you?
  5. What calling do you think God has for us in this time?



NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 8: 12-17

To read the Lectionary Epistle passage, click here

Put very simply, Paul is contrasting two ways of living—the way that we are tempted to live in this world and the way that God calls us to live. He plays with notions of slavery and freedom—slavery to the perils of this world or freedom in God through Christ. Slavery meant fear. Slavery meant having no rights of inheritance. Slavery means no hope. In this first century Roman world, unwanted children were frequently sold into slavery. (And, sadly, that practice still exists today in our world.) Freedom, then, means to belong to a family and to have the rights to an inheritance. We have been adopted by Christ and will share in the inheritance that God provides. When we realize we need God, then we also realize that we are children of God.

But this also means that we share in suffering with Christ as well. Faith is not always a perfectly-paved road, as we know. But this, too, is part of God’s promise of the renewal of all of Creation. It is a hope that we cannot see on our own but are rather empowered to see through the Spirit of God. Here, there’s more to being a Christian than just knowing the right stuff and doing the right things. To be Christian, you must open yourself up and invite God’s Spirit to enter your life. That is the way that you will be glorified through Christ in God. That is the way that you truly become a child of God.

Life is not about things going well or about figuring it all out; life is about hope. That’s what moves us beyond where we are. Slavery and fear move us backwards or leaves us standing here glued to our own inventions. But freedom and hope propels us forward. We all hope for a happy ending. It is the stuff that makes great fairy tales. We all look for that vision that God holds. But hope is not just some futuristic condition. Our hope for today manifests in our belief that God is here, pulling us or prodding us or dragging us out of the mire in which we sometimes find ourselves. It’s happened before. It’s called resurrection. Maybe that’s Paul’s whole point. Hope is illumined by both hope itself and a perception of hopelessness. And a life of faith is one that is lived both actively working for change and patiently waiting for the change to emerge. Hope is about balancing both persistence and patience.


  1. How does this passage speak to you?
  2. What does the “adoption” language mean to you?
  3. What images of God does this bring about for you?
  4. How do you depict hope?
  5. What do hope and patience have to do with each other?

GOSPEL: John 3: 1-17

To read the Lectionary Gospel passage, click here

Nicodemus was having trouble getting it, even though he was a leader of the Jews. The passage says that he came to Jesus by night, as if he was trying to hide the fact that he was having trouble understanding it all from the rest of the community. So Nicodemus came looking for answers. He wanted Jesus to get rid of all the doubts that Nicodemus had. He wanted Jesus to make it all perfectly clear for him so that he could go on imparting that knowledge to the rest of the community. Part of the problem may have been semantics. After all, he did believe what Jesus had done, what Jesus had told him. He knew that Jesus had done numerous miracles. He had seen it with his own eyes. So he knew that Jesus was good, he knew that Jesus was worthy as a teacher. And yet, Jesus seemed to talk in circles. He preached that one had to be born from above. But how can one be born unless he or she re-enters the mother’s womb? He preached that one must be born in the Spirit, and yet admitted that the place from which the Spirit blew was unknown and unknowable. How can this be? And he preached that one must believe. Nicodemus believed what Jesus said. What was Jesus talking about, then?

When you read this, you do sense that Nicodemus must have been a good teacher. He was astute and knew what questions to ask. He was diligent as he studied and explored to get to the truth. But how could he believe this circular reasoning that Jesus was espousing?   Part of the problem, it seemed, was that Nicodemus and Jesus had completely different understandings of what “believe” was. Nicodemus had, after all, accepted Jesus’ propositions. He had probably even taught it. But Jesus was not asking for people to believe what he did or believe what he said. There is a difference between believing Christ and believing IN Christ. Believing IN means that you enter into relationship, that you trust with everything that you are, with everything that is your life. It is much more visceral than Nicodemus was really read to accept. Nicodemus wanted to understand it within the intellectual understanding of God that he had. But Jesus was telling him that there was a different way. Jesus was inviting, indeed almost daring, Nicodemus to believe in this new way, to turn his life, his doubts, his heart, and even his very learned mind over to God.

“How can this be?” Those are Nicodemus’ last words in this passage, which sort of makes him a patron saint for all of us who from time to time get stuck at the foot of the mountain, weighed down by our own understandings of who God is, without the faintest idea of how to begin to ascend. But there’s Jesus. “Watch me. Put your hand here. Now your foot. Don’t think about it so hard. Just do as I do. Believe in me. And follow me….this way!


My Take on the Trinity:


In the beginning was God.  God created everything that was and everything that is and laid out a vision for what it would become.  But we didn’t really get it.  So God tried and tried again to explain it.  God sent us Abraham and Moses and Judges and Kings and Prophets.  But we still didn’t get it.  God wove a vision of what Creation was meant to be and what we were meant to be as God’s children through poetry and songs and beautiful writings of wisdom.  But we still didn’t get it.

“So,” God thought, “there is only one thing left to do.  I’ll show you.  I’ll show you the way to who I am and who I desire you to be.  I will walk with you.”  So God came, Emmanuel, God-with-us, and was born just like we were with controversy and labor pains and all those very human conceptions of what life is.  Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, was the Incarnation of a universal truth, a universal path, the embodiment of the way to God and the vision that God holds for all of Creation.  But we still didn’t get it.  We fought and we argued and we held on to our own human-contrived understandings of who God is.  And it didn’t make sense to us.  This image of God did not fit into our carefully-constructed boxes.  And so, as we humans have done so many times before and so many times since, we destroyed that which got in the way of our understanding.  There…it was finished…we could go back to the way it was before.

But God loves us too much to allow us to lose our way.  And so God promised to be with us forever.  Because now you have seen me; now you know what it is I intended; now you know the way.  And so I will always be with you, always inside of you, always surrounding you, always ahead of you, and always behind you.  There will always be a part of me in you.  Come, follow me, this way.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who set out to discover the meaning of life.  She read and studied but she just didn’t get it.  So she set off to search for it.  She went to South America.  She went to India.  And everywhere she went, she heard the same thing.  They didn’t know but they had heard of a man who did, a man deep in the Himalayas in a tiny little hut perched on the side of a mountain.   So she traveled and traveled and then climbed and climbed to reach his door.  She knocked.  When the door opened, she hastily said, “I have come halfway around the world to ask you one question:  What IS the meaning of life?”  “Come in,” the man responded, “and have some tea.”  “No,” she replied, “I didn’t come for tea.  I came for an answer.  What IS the meaning of life?”

“We shall have tea,” the old man said, so she gave up and came inside. While he was brewing the tea she caught her breath and began telling him about all the books she had read, all the people she had met, all the places she had been. The old man listened (which was just as well, since his visitor did not leave any room for him to reply), and as she talked he placed a fragile tea cup in her hand. Then he began to pour the tea. She was so busy talking that she did not notice when the tea cup was full, so the old man just kept pouring until the tea ran over the sides of the cup and spilled to the floor in a steaming waterfall. “What are you doing?!” she yelled when the tea burned her hand. “It’s full, can’t you see that? Stop! There’s no more room!” “Just so,” the old man said to her. “You come here wanting something from me, but what am I to do? There is no more room in your cup. Come back when it is empty and then we will talk.”

You see, God cannot be defined in our terms. We have to somehow let those go. God is God—still immeasurable, unprovable, unsearchable, and unknowable. But for those of us who believe…God is also Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, our Source, our Savior, and our Sustenance of life. And as we come closer to knowing God, closer to approaching the center that is God, we are more and more aware of the vastness and limitlessness that is God. God cannot be defined in human terms; it is we who must redefine ourselves in “God” terms, to place ourselves within that Trinity. The Trinity calls us to a new spirituality, a new humanity, and a new community. The Trinity calls us to become a part of this unlimited God. But we are not alone; God is always present leading us on the journey and when we get a little lost, God will be there to show us, “Come, this way….”


  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What does “believing” mean to you?
  3. What does the Trinity mean for you and how does it depict God for you?


Some Quotes for Further Reflection:


I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” (Ann Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)


Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions. (Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926))


To know God is to know one cannot speak adequately about God; it is to know the impossibility of describing God in any compete way; it is to know that every theological statement falls short…We must speak, but not to capture God, not to master God…we speak in response to our having been spoken to. (Thomas Langford)





If you want to understand the body of Christ,

listen to the apostle telling the faithful,

“You though, are the body of Christ and its members.”

So if it’s you that are the body of Christ and its members,

            it’s the mystery meaning you that has been placed

on the Lord’s table;

                                    What you receive is the mystery that means you.

                                    It is to what you are that you reply “Amen”

And by so replying you express your assent.

                                    What you hear is “the Body of Christ”

And you answer, “Amen.”

                                    So be a member of the body of Christ in order to make that

“Amen” true.   (St. Augustine)

Pentecost B: Breathed Into

PentecostFIRST READING: Acts 2:1-21

To read the Lectionary passage from Acts, click here

This passage completes the succession from Jesus to the disciples and is made complete with the arrival of God’s promised Spirit. This is the moment that had been predicted by both John the Baptist and Jesus and the passage is written to reflect that earlier prophecy. This passage has probably received more attention than any other in the Book of Acts. Certain faith traditions draw on it because of the experiential presence of faith and others use it to frame the season of Pentecost, when the church and its community are renewed and reborn by the power of God’s Spirit.

According to the passage, the entire community is baptized into the realm of the Spirit. The word for Pentecost (literally, “fiftieth day”) was used by Jews for a harvest festival more commonly known as the “Feast of Weeks”. The image of “tongues of fire” and the flames that are often used to symbolize Pentecost (as well as our own denomination) echoes the fire that was frequently used in Jewish and Greco-Roman writings as a metaphor for the experiences of prophetic inspiration.

The “gift of tongues” should not be confused with the spiritual gift of glossolalia that concerns Paul in 1 Corinthians 12-14. The Pauline meaning denotes a special language given to a few believers by the Spirit in order to edify the whole congregation. For the writer of Acts, though, this Spirit came upon all, rather than merely a chosen few. In many ways, the Pentecost experience of “tongues” has more to do with hearing and understanding than with speaking. It has to do with rhythm—that underlying rhythm that is part of us all, the rhythm that is God, our Source and Sustainer. So, the Pentecost story is about unity.

So God’s Spirit is poured out upon a community of believers. The Holy Spirit is not a “personal” gift from God. There is nothing personal or private (and certainly not restrictive) about it. The church has always tended to be comfortable with worshiping the Father and the Son but often the Holy Spirit is seen as a sort of marginal, misunderstood entity. But it is clear from this story that the arrival of the Holy Spirit is not hidden from view. The Spirit’s arrival is a noisy affair with special effects that draw an interested public “from every nation” to the community.

This arrival of the Spirit completes the picture—God created, redeemed, and is now empowering the people of God to be who God created them to be. This is the way that God sustains us in this world and the next. The Spirit does not imply a ghostly-type image. Talking about Spirit is talking about God. The Hebrew word for it is ruah–God in power like the force of wind or in intimacy like breath, the very essence and being of God. This is not speaking of bits and pieces of God. This is the fullness of God. This is God’s Kingdom coming. Pentecost is hope at its deepest level and the promise that everyone can be ignited by the Spirit in order to live out their God-called life. Nothing but fire kindles fire.

Pentecost did not create a church. This is not merely the church’s birthday. Pentecost is the point at which God’s very Spirit was breathed into the world and equipped us for work. Last week, we read of Christ’s Ascension, that holiest of absences that left a veritable void in the Gospel story. And so we waited. What Pentecost tells us is that we are the ones for which we’ve been waiting. It is not meant to be a feel-good, warm-fuzzy kind of day. The Holy Spirit is risky and sometimes painful, bringing about change and out and out revolution. The Holy Spirit invites failure rather than promises success, compels discomfort, rather than consolation. The Holy Spirit is not something that we just try on for size; it is tongues of fire that consumes us and leaves nothing behind except what was supposed to be in the first place—the ones for which we’ve been waiting.   In a 2007 commencement speech, Richard Lederer said “Let there be no distance between who you are and what you do.” That is our calling; that is what Pentecost is about—shrinking the distance between how we live and who we are called to be. So, get started…

Several years ago, I had an experience that, for me, gave life to this Pentecost story. I was traveling through Hungary as part of a church choir tour and one of our singing opportunities was the Sunday morning worship service of a small, extremely poor Protestant church on the Pest side of the city. No one in the small congregation spoke any English. We, of course, did not speak Hungarian either. You have to understand that the Hungarian language is usually grouped closely with Finnish because of its syntax, but it has so many words and sounds that are borrowed from Turkish as well as centuries of various gypsy languages that it has no real commonality with any language. So, our communication was limited to hand signals, nods, and smiles. The entire worship service was in this language that was more unfamiliar than anything that I had ever heard. We went through about an hour of unfamiliar songs, foreign liturgy, and a 30-minute sermon that meant absolutely nothing to us.

At one point I looked around and realized that they had their heads down and were speaking what must have been a common prayer. We put our heads down. As I sat there, praying my own prayer along with them, I was suddenly aware that something had changed. I still, of course, could not understand the words but somewhere in there I had heard something inherently familiar. I looked at the person next to me and said, “That’s the Lord’s Prayer.” I started with the second petition of the familiar prayer and slowly those around me began to join in. When we came to the end, there was sort of a stunned silence around us. We had all finished at the same time.

This was not a case of my somehow miraculously understanding a language that I did not know. It was, instead, a hearing of an incredible rhythm that runs beneath all language and connects us all. That rhythm is the Spirit of God. I realized at that moment that the point of the Biblical Pentecost story was not the speaking, but the hearing and the understanding.   Regardless of our differences, there is one common voice that connects us all, if we will only listen. (Shelli Williams)      

  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. What is your image of the Pentecost experience?
  3. What lessons could we learn from the Pentecost experience?
  4. What is your response to the Lederer quote about the distance between who we are and what we do?


 NEW TESTAMENT: Romans 8: 22-27

To read the Lectionary Epistle passage, click here

This passage is a well-known depiction of God’s ongoing Creation. Like labor, both church and Creation long for the new life to arrive in its fullness. But it is not an “either / or” notion—Creation is ongoing, the coming of God’s Kingdom is both already and not yet. In fact, Creation is groaning through the birth of what it is to be even now. We understand that. Our own groans about what is wrong with the world, what is wrong with our country, what is wrong with the United Methodist Church are heard even now. What if we thought of those groans as the rumbling of the Holy Spirit as it is poured into our lives?

But God, as loving parent of all Creation, puts a mighty arm under the fractured Creation, not merely preserving it and protecting it, but setting it free to be. (This flies in the face of dualistic understandings of earth and heaven or mind and spirit. It does not speak of “rescuing” or even “saving from”, but adoption, redemption, freedom.) It is not God turning away from what is wrong with the world but picking it up and pulling it into being. In Feasting on the Word, Clayton J. Schmidt refers to Peter Storey’s notion of this “great nevertheless of God.” Schmidt says that “at first glance, [the world] seems full of angst: groaning and travail, unfulfilled longing, unseen hope, concerns too deep for words. But the hope here can be put in terms of what Peter Storey has called “the great nevertheless of God.” [Storey] developed this idea while serving as bishop of the Methodist Church in South Africa during the struggle against apartheid. Even while surrounded by the strong-armed agents of repression, Storey knew that the Holy Spirit was active in his nation. The government had all the power; nevertheless, God was with the poor in South Africa. The South African regime did not hesitate to use force in order to stop rebellion; nevertheless, Storey, along with Desmond Tutu and others, led the black South Africans in a peaceful revolution. The odds were heavily against the peaceful revolution; nevertheless, with God on their side, they were victorious. In the end, there was strong temptation to retaliate; nevertheless, God gave them a means of forgiving enemies and forming a reconciled nation. No matter what the odds, if God is in something, no obstacle can block the great nevertheless of God.”

Paul’s Letter to the Romans is considered his masterpiece. In it, he contends that all those who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit are shaped for that eternal glory that is already theirs in Christ. We are not alone. No matter how difficult life gets, we are supported by God’s Spirit. The Spirit teaches us and reaches for us even in our weakness. The phrase “we do not know what we ought to pray” is often used to support the notion of speaking in tongues, but it is more likely that Paul is just trying to make the point that life is difficult, full of limitations, and that no matter what, we remain secure in the Lord. Instead, God knows our mind, knows what we pray, knows what we need, if we are just open to what God provides us. Marjorie Thompson says of prayer, “Perhaps our real task in prayer is to attune ourselves to the conversation already going on deep in our hearts. Then we may align our conscious intentions with the desire of God being expressed at our core.”


  1. How does this passage speak to you?
  2. What images of Creation does this passage bring about?
  3. What does this say to you about prayer?
  4. What does this say to you about how we should look at the way the world is and our part in it?

GOSPEL: John 15: 26-27; 16: 4b-15

To read the Lectionary Gospel passage, click here

The word for “Spirit” here is “parakletos”, or paraclete. It has a range of meaning that includes advocate, encourager, comforter, helper. A paraclete was a patron or a sponsor that would speak and advocate on behalf of another. In other words, the Spirit, parakletos, advocates on behalf of Christ and on behalf of that for which Christ stood and taught and died. So the Spirit will enable the disciples to grasp what they had not gotten before, to grasp what Jesus was all about. The Spirit is a way of talking about God not as an other-worldly being, but as our companion. It is a redefining of truth.

Keep in mind that when Jesus returned, he did not find the disciples out doing what needed to be done. Instead, he found them huddled in a room, scared to death at the prospect of what might happen to them. So this is the promise that they are not alone, that God will see that they are equipped and empowered to do what needs to be done in the world. But it won’t happen unless Jesus leaves. Otherwise, they’ll just stay shut away from the world waiting for Jesus to show up and fix things.

But empowered by the Spirit, we are to make a case for Jesus in the world. Jesus is both fully absent and fully present. That is our mission—to become the hands and feet and voice and life of Christ in the world. It entails exposing sin as the killing of love, or God in Christ. It means exposing Jesus for the way Jesus was. Spirituality, then, is a way of advocating for God in the world, entering the advocacy and comforter that is God. God so loved the world. Human beings did not recognize that love. They killed it. God reaffirmed it. We can receive it, share it, and ourselves become advocates for that same love and life in the world, accompanied by the Holy Spirit. It’s not a matter of knowing everything to do; it’s a matter of knowing where to look for the strength that you need to be the change that you hope to see in the world.


  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What does the Holy Spirit mean for you?
  3. So what makes us uneasy about the concept of the Holy Spirit?
  4. What does it mean to you to talk about Jesus as both fully absent and fully present?
  5. What do you feel that you are empowered to advocate in the world?


“The celebration of Pentecost beckons us to keep breathing. It challenges us to keep ourselves open to the Spirit who seeks us. The Spirit that, in the beginning, brooded over the chaos and brought forth creation; the Spirit that drenched the community with fire and breath on the day of Pentecost: this same Spirit desires to dwell within us and among us.” (From Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook, available at, (Pentecost A) accessed 7 May 2008.)


Some Quotes for Further Reflection:

God creates us, Jesus leads us, and the Holy Spirit shows us ways that are not always in the book. (Joan Chittister, In Search of Belief, p. 161)


Try, with God’s help, to perceive the connection—even physical and natural—which binds your labor with the building of the Kingdom of Heaven; try to realize that heaven itself smiles upon you and, through your works, draw you to itself; then, as you leave church for the noisy streets, you will remain with only one feeling, that of continuing to immerse yourself in God. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955))


The Spirit of God is like our breath. God’s Spirit is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves. We might not often be aware of it, but without it we cannot live a “spiritual life.” It is the Holy Spirit of God who prays in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy. It is the Holy Spirit who offers us the life that death cannot destroy. Let us always pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, come.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)





Spark of God, Spirit of Life! I remember and celebrate your dwelling within me.


Divine Fire, you never waver in your faithful presence. Amid the seasons of life, you are my inner illumination.


Ever-present Light, the spark of your inspiration has been with me in every moment of my life, always available to lead and guide me.


Eternal Joy, the dancing flames of your joy are reflected in my happiness and in the many ways that I delight in life.


Spirit of God, your fiery presence gives me passion for what is vital and deserving of my enthusiasm.


Blazing Love, the radiant glow of your compassion fills me with awareness, kindness, and understanding.


Purifying Flame, your refining fire transforms me as I experience life’s sorrow, pain, and discouragement.


Radiant Presence, your steady flame of unconditional love kindles my faithful and enduring relationships.


Luminous One, you breathed Love into me at my birthing and your love will be with me as I breathe my last. Thank you for being a shining Spark of Life within me. Amen.


(Joyce Rupp, in Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season, p. 199)