One of my amazing pastors growing up in Port Lavaca, Texas was Rev. James L. Mayfield, United Methodist clergy. Rev. Mayfield continues to influence my life in profound ways. He recently shared with me and others a Labor Day sermon he preached years ago. It ended with this beautiful pastoral prayer that I wanted to pass along. Blessings on this Labor Day. Melody
Pastoral Prayer: God, on this Labor Day weekend, we thank you for those whose labor provides us food and clothing and shelter. For those who labor to provide us not only with the education we need to earn a wage but also with an education that teaches us to think, for all those whose labor expands the boundaries of human knowledge and for those whose labor in the arts expands our sensitivity, we are grateful.
We give you thanks for those whose labor brings us laughter and entertainment, and we thank you for those who labor to keep society safe from harm and for all who work to change what is wrong, to preserve what is right and to make justice possible for all persons. We are grateful for those who work to bring healing to body and mind and for those who labor to bring healing in relationships. We thank you for those who labor to keep garbage from burying us, for those who do the essential work of cleaning that protects us from disease.
For all those who are willing to carry the burdens that come with trying to serve the public and whose labor contributes to our well-being and the well being of our society, we give you thanks. For all those whose labor serves us in some way, we are grateful.
All this we pray in the awareness of Christ and his labor of love on our behalf. Amen.
A dear friend of mine recently sent me a posting on Love by the renowned author and priest, Henri Nouwen. It resonated with me, and continues to be on my mind, especially on this July 4th Eve. My hope and prayer is that all political leaders around the world will make decisions based on love, tolerance, support for diversity, and compassion. Certainly we need that in our country, especially as we celebrate freedom and the many men, women and families that have sacrificed in so many ways for our country. My thinking is that only love will ultimately bring our troops home.
Perhaps you will enjoy the Nouwen piece which is also posted below.
May your 4th of July, and beyond, be full of love.
from Henri Nouwen:
Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.
In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God’s unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within us.
New Year’s blessings to all. Just recently I was reminded of a wonderful Eskimo proverb that I read many years ago, and which spoke to me again at the start of this New Year. Perhaps this proverb will speak to you in this New Year of hopeful rebirth, honest and meaningful transactions, and much-needed system changes that ultimately reduce injustices in our world.
May you find many New Beginnings and Heavenly Openings in 2018 and beyond. Melody
“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us
to let us know they are happy.“
Today is All Saints’ Day, a time we especially remember those who have gone before us, as we do on so many ordinary days as well. Today I am thinking profoundly of my mother-in-law who died recently after a wonderfully long life of nearly 100 years. I am also thinking of a nephew, who died way too soon at age 52. And I am thinking of so many others, including my own parents. How I miss them all!!
Author and minister Jan Richardson writes about thin places, where earth and heaven meet. May we all have many, many thin places in our lives on All Saints’ Day and every day.
Back in 2015, my husband and I were privileged to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual pilgrimage for people of all ages and backgrounds. In 2016, I returned to walk the final part of the Camino with strangers who became fast friends. The experience was simply magnificent and life changing. Today one of the pilgrims, now a dear friend with whom I walked in 2016, sent me this posting. It struck a chord with me and I wanted to pass it along.
Blessings to all,
Spirit of the Camino
Live in the moment
Welcome each new day – its pleasures and its challenges
Make others feel welcome
Feel the spirit of those who have gone before you
Imagine those who will follow you
Appreciate those who walk with you today
As we start the 2017 New Year, here is a prayer from today’s church bulletin that resonated with me. Happy New Year!! Melody
God of Time and Space, you are not bound by calendars, day timers, and watches; teach us to not be bound by them either.
God of the stars, the heavens, the planets and their orbits, you sent a star to guide the Magi on their journey to the Christ Child. Send your star to guide us on journeys of faith.
May your word still speak to us today. May your son still be the light in our worlds of darkness.
And just as the Magi brought gifts to the Christ Child, may we bring our gifts to the Christ Child again.
These past few weeks I’ve been visiting cathedrals, and other interesting sites, in Spain and Portugal. The cathedrals, most especially, combine the Moorish and Spanish influences in such unique and historical ways. Now that I am back in the United States, I am hoping and praying even more fervently that all people and cultures of our world can come together and live in peaceful, loving ways. God expects that of us. In particular, on this Labor Day weekend in our young country, I am praying that our work will have true meaning and value, and that all workers in our world will be treated fairly and with respect and dignity.
Giving up on these hopes and expectations is simply not an option. Melody