The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

God, we meet you embodied: wherever we are, you meet us with these hands, these feet, this breath, this body, our very selves bound up in your presence. And so we seek a blessing today for these hands, these feet, this breath, this body, that within us and between us you might be made known, you might heal, you might mend, you might notice, you might be our ever constant guide and anchor.

We too notice this place, its scent, its delight, its ordinary-ness and affinity for your presence, the way over and over again, you have been moved to mercy here, our overlapping lives tangibly renewed. We breathe in the breath of life we exhale every worry. We breathe in the gift of this day we exhale in trust that more life will come. We lean together at the boundary of hope. We let life fall slowly back together, barely able to contain the thrill of summer, friendship, reunion, so filled with the power of your Holy Spirit are we. We watch as you descend among us like a dove. We welcome your deep abiding presence because we know that some of us find ourselves beside still waters, and others, out in the wilderness where the valley of the shadow of death is near. We ask that you might unite us anyway, so that one might be balm for the other, and together we might embody your healing, your comfort, your love. Be with those for whom grief lingers near. Let healing come for those in need. Make way for the tenderness and strength of what lies ahead. Be, O God. Make way.

And let us find ourselves under the canopy of “unexpected astonishment” (poet Jeffrey Harrison) at this oversized day, warmth, cloud, summer sun, knowing that if we drove far enough north or sailed far enough east, we might see tonight where the “shifting constellations” (Jeffrey Harrison) can point us to our magnified smallness in this dazzling galaxy. And yet even here, exactly where we are, we know that “above me the day-blind stars” (Wendell Berry) echo the long whispers of your presence, proclaimed across the centuries. Give us O God, the gift of this day, as we lift up to you, our very lives. Amen.

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