What Do You Expect?

Our daughter is expecting. She is large with child, “all baby,” obviously waiting for something to happen. The clothes, diapers, and crib are ready, expecting to be used. The older siblings are ready, expecting to hold this wee one who has made them “Big Brother” and “Big Sister.” We are ready, expecting a successful labor and delivery, a healthy baby, a new child and grandchild to bring us great joy.

Expectations are powerful. God uses promises, but the enemy so often uses expectations. We expect so much—trains and buses to arrive on time, cars and trucks to stay in lane, children and adults to stay in line.

We expect to live long, satisfying lives. We expect God and/or medicine to heal us. We expect to be happy. We expect our parents, spouses, friends, siblings, grown children, and pastors to meet our needs. 

We expect life to be fair, at least to us. We expect not to feel lonely, not to suffer long, not to be broken or scarred irreparably. We expect to overcome our circumstances, to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, to live independently. We expect to succeed more than we fail, if we just try hard enough. We expect a return on our investments. We expect God to answer our prayers in a way we can see that makes sense to us. We expect God to fulfill His promises in a certain way and in a certain time.

Yet we have a very surprising God. In essence and character, God is constant, unchanging, dependable, and trustworthy. He always keeps His promises. But His ways, especially His Why’s (“Why did You do that, God?”) and His How’s (“How will You do that, God?”), are inexplicable and unexpected. God is beyond our understanding and beyond our ability to predict or control. 

Indeed, one of the few things we can predict about our triune God is that He is so very unexpected. Who would expect God to pursue fallen humanity relentlessly with His love, down the meandering, often backtracking, disappointing halls of history? Who would expect God to choose for Himself a small, stubborn group of nomadic shepherds and bricklaying serfs when He could have chosen the wealthy, learned, and successful Incas, Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, Romans, or Americans? Who would expect God to keep His covenant promises when we, the weaker party, did not and do not and will not? Who would expect God to value slaves, women, orphans, widows, aliens, and the poor? Who would expect God to tell us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors, like Jesus did?

Who would expect God to become a defenseless, droppable, discardable, hungry baby? Who would expect God voluntarily to humble Himself, to give up His power, to take the form of a servant in order to die a death of humiliation on a cross (Phil 2:6-8), to be limited in human flesh like us? Who would expect God to be like us—to age, to need to grow in wisdom, to hunger and thirst, to be so tired he naps in a wildly rocking boat, to dread the future so much he sweats blood?

God specializes in the unexpected. He specializes in silences that teach us, in wilderness experiences that shape us, and in long centuries of waiting for promises to be fulfilled at just the right time, in the best possible unexpected way. He specializes in babies born to unlikely women—the barren (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth), the widowed foreigner (Ruth) and the unmarried, shamed young virgin (Mary). 

Mary showed me how to respond to the unexpected—with trust in God’s goodness, love, power and sovereignty. So I am approaching the delivery of our next grandchild holding my expectations lightly and choosing to trust God regardless of results. I want to shift my focus from unfulfilled expectations to gratitude for what I have.

What expectations of You, surprising God, would You like me to let go? What expectations of myself? Of others? Of the world? Change my expectations to rest in Your promises. Open my eyes to see Your presence, particularly where, when and how I least expect.

 

A Children’s Story: The Boy Who Loved a Chicken

When the miracle of God’s incarnational love becomes too familiar to shine brightly, I remember a story my dad used to tell about the boy who loved a chicken…

Once upon a time, a boy loved a chicken. Nothing was particularly special about this chicken except that she was so extraordinarily loved. She was speckled, brown, average in every way. Unfortunately, as chickens go, she was also average in intelligence, which is not saying much.

In loving his chicken, the boy had a problem, a very serious problem indeed. Instead of eating grain and worms and fat, juicy grubs, his dear chicken ate only stones. Day by day, his little chicken was growing thinner. Though the stones filled and satisfied her for a while, they were gradually killing her. The boy’s beloved chicken was starving to death, stone by stone.

The boy did all he could to fix this frightening situation. First, he tried talking to her. He scolded her, pleaded with her, and told her how much he loved her. He pleaded and pleaded, scolded and scolded, talked and talked. But, being a chicken and not a human, she understood nothing. In fact, she barely noticed the white noise of his love as she busily continued eating stones. 

So the boy developed a plan. He put his precious fowl in a comfy, large, safe pen. After carefully removing all the rocks and stones, he scattered corn, wheat, worms, and fat, juicy grubs all over the ground. The boy spent quite a lot of time, effort, and his entire allowance on strong fencing and the best quality food. “Now,” he thought, “Now my chicken will eat and grow strong.”

But the foolishness of the boy’s little chicken was beyond understanding. She ignored the grain, worms, and fat, juicy grubs that would have saved her life. Instead, she used up her energy digging in the dirt. After much scratching of the smooth soil, she was able eventually to unearth a few small rocks, which she devoured hungrily once again.

By now the boy was very distressed. What else could he do? The chicken he loved was wasting away. He thought and thought and came up with another plan. His little hen just didn’t know what she needed. She was used to rocks and didn’t realize they were killing her. He would put other, well-fed chickens in the pen with his little hen. Hopefully, as his poor starving chicken watched them eat the good, healthy food, she would be inspired to follow their example.

So, the little boy put fat, healthy chickens into the pen with his beloved little hen. He tossed in abundant quantities of barley, oats, corn, green leaves, worms, and fat, juicy grubs. The chickens sent by the boy ate the good food happily. They grew plump and sleek, but the boy’s own chicken ignored the others completely. She went her own way, scratching in the dirt, eating stones, slowly starving.

By now, the boy was desperate. His heart was breaking. If he didn’t get through to his precious chicken soon, she would surely die. What else could he do? She wouldn’t listen to him. She didn’t understand. She had no idea how much he loved her. Then he had an idea. He would become a chicken so he could speak her language and persuade her to eat healthy foods! 

And the little boy did just that. Zip! Zap! The little boy became a chicken, a plain black rooster about the same size as his little hen. Cautiously, slowly, the little boy (who was now a chicken) scratched the ground and sidled his way over to his hen. 

“Hey, there,”he greeted her kindly. “Lovely day. [Scratch, scratch] Nice pen. [Sidle, sidle] What are you doing?”

“Oh!”she responded cautiously. “Oh, hello! I’m eating, always eating. [Swallow, swallow] Hungry, so hungry. Are you new here? [Scratch, scratch] Here, have a big, fat rock.” (The little boy’s chicken may have had her issues, but she was not selfish.)

“A rock?”asked the little boy (who was now a chicken). “Oh, no, thank you. Do you eat rocks? [Scratch, scratch] You know, rocks will kill you eventually…They are not what we’re made for.” 

As he talked, the little boy paused occasionally to peck and swallow corn kernels, leaves, and fat, juicy grubs (which was a bit disgusting since they were the only insects the little boy had ever eaten on purpose). “Here, try one of these. They’re full of vitamins. [Swallow, swallow, gulp] Quite tasty!”

Doubtful, puzzled, yet unexpectedly hopeful, the little hen watched him for a long while. This little black rooster who had come out of nowhere had no beauty to commend him, but he seemed healthy and strong. He wasn’t pushy or condescending, and he had a wise, kind, patient way about him. As she watched him, her courage grew. Perhaps she could eat just one of those wiggly things. She was awfully hungry. No matter how many rocks she ate, she always seemed to want more. Tentatively, the little hen took a tiny peck at a nearby grub.

DELICIOUS! Melt in your beak! Like nothing else she had ever tasted! A virtual explosion of energy and life coursed through her starving body.  How unexpected! What a surprise! She gobbled up another grub, and another, then some corn, leaves, wheat and barley. In fact, the little hen ate all that day, all the next day, and the next. Gradually she grew strong and healthy. As she ate, she wondered at times where the small black rooster had gone. But she was just a chicken, with very little understanding. She had gone from death to life and would never be the same.

And the little boy was very, very happy.

Deciduous

I am not an evergreen tree. Definitely not. Neither actually nor metaphorically.  

I love evergreen trees, in particular evergreen conifers. Tall and stately, they smell good, live long, and give shape to majestic winter scenes. Sporting a conical shape and waxy-coated, narrow leaves photosynthesizing slowly but surely all year round, they survive tough winter conditions. Walking on their fallen needles, my tread is soft, quiet, springy, and clean.   Conifers grow together well and seem much more likely to share space without shoving, crowding or poking each other. Evergreens behave. Even their seeds are tidy, tucked away from sight, spirally arranged in orderly, mathematically elegant Fibonacci number ratios.

On my walk today, I sensed God telling me I am more like a broad-leafed deciduous tree. Though of course He was right, at first I was disappointed. I am intense, active, spreading, always changing. My emotions and thoughts catch the wind like broad leaves, sometimes blowing about and scattering, often creating crackling untidiness underfoot. My life is lived in seasons, with great variability in fruitfulness and beauty, but rooted in one surety—before long, I will change once again. 

Yet, in His tender kindness, God also showed me ways He formed me that He pronounces  “good” along with the rest of Creation. Unlike conifers, I bear fruit, sometimes sweet, sometimes sticky and messy, but ripe with potential to feed others. I don’t hold tightly to my leaves but am willing to let them drop and disperse. Broad leaves may just photosynthesize seasonally, but quickly and efficiently.

Broadleaf deciduous trees live in tune to the seasons. In spring, they are brilliant green and unfurling with hope. In summer, they offer abundant shade and respond readily to the slightest whisper of Wind. In autumn, as their productive green chlorophyll breaks down, red and yellow pigments which had always been present become unexpectedly visible. And finally, in winter, the now naked tree is dormant, resting and readying for whatever God brings next.

I still want to be tall and majestic, with less rapid change, more quiet gentleness, less drive to productivity, more unassuming ability to withstand raw winter blasts. But overall, I just want to be more deeply rooted in the reality of our triune God, more quick to absorb all He offers—whether sunlight, rain, the expired breath of humanity, or earth’s nutrients. 

As I age, I become increasingly grateful the Body of Christ boasts such variability and beauty. The human forest which springs from the life Jesus laid down is alive and lovely with all kinds of trees, bushes, flowers and plants, and we are rooted together. I am increasingly awed to discover myself a unique and valued part of what God is up to in this world. And, though our daughters don’t like to hear the words spoken aloud, I am ready (whenever God wills) to fall to the ground, donating all of who I was in this earthly body and opening up space in the canopy for others to take my place.

 

I Hide

I hide. I hide who I am. I hide what I think. I hide what I feel. I hide my strengths, lest they threaten others or make them feel inadequate. I hide my weaknesses, lest they repulse others or give them weapons against me. I hide from others. I hide from myself. I hide from God.

Where did all this hiding begin? In one way, my hiding began in childhood. I was afraid of criticism and anger. I was afraid of being bad. I was afraid of being wrong. I was afraid of not pleasing my parents and not pleasing God. I was afraid of not being enough. 

How did I hide? I stopped trying to share my thoughts and feelings lest I be wrong or misunderstood. Hiding my thoughts and feelings, I disappeared. When tired, I disappeared into books and TV shows. When energetic, I disappeared into constant activity and hard work, physical and intellectual. Occasionally I showed glimpses of myself to friends, but friends safe and constant enough to not harm me were rare.

Hiding, I lived at half mast. I lived furled, folded over. Trying to avoid failure and rejection, I lived in retreat, afraid to move forward, afraid to risk. I lived covered, neither fully seeing nor fully seen.

Where did all this hiding begin? In one way, my hiding began in adulthood. I was afraid I was failing—failing as a wife, as a friend, as a parent. I was afraid of losing—losing my reputation, losing love, losing myself. I was afraid of both not being enough and being too much.

Hiding, I stayed where I knew I could succeed. Hiding, I took care of people instead of letting them care for me. Hiding, I wanted love and acceptance, not respect. I hid my needs and denied my desires, even from myself. Hiding, I tried to please God.

Where did all this hiding begin? In one way, my hiding began in Genesis. “Where are you?” God asks, though He sees all things, even me. “Why are you hiding? What have you done? Why are you not walking and talking with Me in the cool of the evening in our beautiful Garden?”

Like the Good Shepherd searching high and low for one lost sheep, God seeks me, calls for me, waits for me to respond to His voice. Yet, I hide from the One who wants to save me. 

Afraid I am not enough for the God who lived and died for me. Afraid He will ask too much of me. 

Afraid I am too much for the God who continues to create me. Afraid I will go ahead of Him, try to control Him, not submit to His sovereignty and wisdom in all things.

Afraid I am too feminine, too needy, too unsure and therefore not valuable. Not enough. 

Afraid I am too masculine, with too many talents and too much intensity, and therefore twisted. Not reflecting His order and beauty.

What do I need from You, God, to stop hiding? What do I need to know—about me, about You? Who more do You have to BE? What more could You give than what you have already given? Help me, God!

Help me to see what I already hold and be thankful. Help me to see who I already am and be thankful. Help me to look at You and see you and be thankful. Help me to see with Your eyes and Your mind and Your heart. Help me to celebrate You.

Help me to come out of hiding.  

The Practice of Repetition

Western culture has developed a repulsion for repetition. We treasure invention, innovation, individuality, spontaneity, and newness. Yet, our minds, hearts, and spirits are formed by constancy, practice, and repetition.

Scripture is full of repetition. Repetition sometimes allows truth to spread from our heads to our hearts. Like all Jews of his day, Jesus likely repeated the Shema every morning and evening—“Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The psalms were repeated often as prayers of God’s people. In fact, so well known were the psalms as prayers that Jesus needed only to pray the first line of Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) to bring to his listeners’ minds the entire lament.

But wait! Doesn’t Jesus teach against “vain repetitions” and “empty babble” (Mt 6:7) in our prayers? Yes, Jesus warned us not to use prayer as a way to manipulate God, as if He were weak, unknowing, and uncaring like the pagan gods. Instead, with hearts turned in adoration to God, we can join in Spirit with the four living creatures in heaven who never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:8). Or, like the persistent widow (Lk 18:1-8), we can keep asking God for what we need.

In what other ways can we use the spiritual practice of Repetition to allow God to form our hearts for His joy and honor? Memorize and pray the psalms, particularly repetitive refrains such as “His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 136). Read and meditate on the same Scripture passage daily for a week or more. Repeat the Lord’s Prayer, paying attention to each word, phrase, and request. Listen to the same hymn or worship song again and again. Like a hammer striking a nail more and more deeply into the wood, allow God’s love and truth to penetrate more and more deeply into your heart and mind.

Savor God’s gifts. List them. Review them. Record them. Remember them. The Israelites often (repetitively!) built monuments to commemorate God’s action in certain places. The feasts and festivals (such as the Jewish Passover and Christian Holy Week services) celebrate and savor God’s interaction with His people. The Scriptures themselves were written to review and remember. Write down your own stories of God’s steadfast love to you, your “people,” and the world. Use narrative, poetry, or song. Draw or paint a picture. Place a memento where you see it often to remind you of God’s character, words, provision, and love.

Other ideas? Go deep instead of broad. Choose one new Christian spiritual practice (Just one!) to do daily, day in and day out. Consider examen, lectio divina, practicing the presence of God, praying the hours, meditating on Scripture, or breath prayer. Ask God which practice to choose; wait for His answer; then proceed, like a child learning to walk. Expect falls but keep getting up again. Our doting Parent is cheering for you, fellow toddler!

In Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices, author Brian McLaren tells the story of a concert violinist who gives 200 concerts a year. Three are disasters due to illness or technical difficulties. In 190, the audience is pleased because her performance is excellent, as anticipated. However, seven of those concerts can only be described as transcendent, unexpectedly breathtaking, as if time were suspended. The violinist doesn’t know how those concerts happen. She is playing the same music on the same violin. Somehow, in those concerts, God touches and infuses the notes with His own beauty, His own music.

What can we learn from this story? Neither the 190 good concerts nor the seven transcendent concerts would have been possible without the foundation of daily practice. Mundane repetition provides the ordinary human framework for God to fill and infuse with His extraordinary presence and power. God seems to love repetition. Let’s watch for God’s repetition and use this practice ourselves.

 

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation.
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Words: attributed to St. Patrick (372-466);
trans. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)

Prayer of Confession

God wants us to confess, to forgive, and to receive forgiveness. However, many of us are reluctant to repent, fail to forgive, and are woefully inexperienced with confession to another human or to God. For those who don’t yet know the living Jesus, being convinced they’ve even done “wrong” may be a stretch. For those of us who follow Christ, admitting our continuing sins feels shameful and discouraging. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote of this latter dilemma—“Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.”

Instead of living isolated in blindness and hypocrisy, we can recognize that we are all “real sinners” and  live together in authenticity. Though confession is tough and receiving forgiveness sometimes seems impossible, our triune God, in infinite kindness and tender mercy, wants us to receive His forgiveness.

Repentance, which is a change of heart, is the first step. Next comes confession, then receiving forgiveness, which will increase our love for God and others. Jesus told Simon the Pharisee, “Whoever is forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47b). The message is clear: Receive forgiveness from God and others, and your love for God and others will be greater. Might this principle be exponential, not just linear, like an ever-expanding spiral of forgiveness and love? We repent and confess, and as we receive forgiveness, our love increases; so we repent and confess more and are willing to receive more unearned forgiveness and love; and so forth…

What about forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer—“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”? Are our debts (sins, trespasses, what we owe) forgiven only in direct proportion to how well we forgive others? Martin Luther thought so. He believed in a one-to-one correspondence between the two. However, British theologian John Stott approaches the question a bit differently. He said, “God forgives the penitent, and one of the chief evidences of true penitence is a forgiving spirit.”

Confession is a practice well-known to Catholics and is also an integral part of the popular A.C.T.S. prayer (Adoration of God, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication). In James 5:16a, we are instructed, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” In The Life You’ve Always Wanted, John Ortberg writes, “God is not clutching tightly to his mercy, as if we have to pry it from his fingers like a child’s last cookie. We need to confess in order to heal and be changed. Nor is confession…mechanical. It is a practice that, done wisely, will help us become transformed.”

In Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren notes, “Repentance is not usually a moment wrought in high drama. It is the steady drumbeat of a life in Christ and, therefore, a day in Christ…Our failures or successes in the Christian life are not what define us or determine our worth before God or God’s people. Instead, we are defined by Christ’s life and work on our behalf. We kneel. We humble ourselves together. We admit the truth. We confess and repent. Together, we practice the posture that we embrace each day – that of a broken and needy people who receive abundant mercy.”

How do we practice confession?

1) Ask the Holy Spirit to highlight areas (actions, motives) that need to be confessed as you examine your conscience. Some review the 10 commandments. Others the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) or the “seven deadly sins”—pride, envy, anger, lust, greed, sloth and gluttony. Always remember the example and teaching of Jesus as you examine yourself. Consider also sins of omission.

Be specific. Don’t excuse yourself—your genes, your upbringing, what others said or did to you. However, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit tends to be quite gentle with believers, whom He indwells. If you are getting pounded with “You’re a mess, a mess, a big hopeless mess! You will never change!” that is NOT the Holy Spirit but the enemy, who is our accuser.

Also, remember that as a human being, you will make mistakes. God did not choose to make us perfect “mini-gods.” Mistakes are accidents or errors in judgment. These are unfortunate and may necessitate apologizing to another person, but mistakes such as these do not involve choosing against God (which is the nature of sin). Scripture tells us that even Jesus “grew in wisdom,” but he never sinned.

2) Decide you do not want to turn away from God again. Tell God you are sorry. Ask for His forgiveness.

3) Deliberately receive the forgiveness of God. 1 John 1:9 promises us, “If we are faithful and just to confess our sins, he will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is true. Choose to believe God.

4) Ask the Holy Spirit to help you know how to respond to anyone else your sin has harmed. How can you apologize in a way that accepts blame for your part without blaming others or excessively blaming yourself? Should you offer restitution or not?

Armor of God Prayer

Based on Ephesians 6:10-18:

[Lord, I realize that I am going on to the front lines of spiritual warfare today. I understand that I am not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. I thank you that in your mercy, you have provided everything that I need for protection in this struggle.]

“I’m putting on the belt of truth. I ask you to make it very clear to me what I am to accept into my life and what I am to reject. Help me to see clearly the motives of others as they deal with me and converse with me. Help me to think and speak clearly, truthfully, and without deceit today. Let me walk in your truth, making decisions and choices according to your plans and purposes for my life…

I am putting on the breastplate of righteousness. Guard my emotions today. Protect my heart. Help me to take into my life only those things that are pure and nothing that is poison or polluting. Help me to live in integrity and to have a reputation based upon doing, saying, believing, thinking and feeling [Your truth]. Help me to live in right relationship with you and my neighbors every moment of this coming day.

I am putting on my spiritual boots. Help me to stand and walk in your peace and to move forward in ways that bring your peace and love to others. Help me to have the full confidence and assurance that come from knowing that I am filled with the peace that only you can give to those who are your children. Help me to be a peacemaker today. Show me where to walk and how to walk as you would walk.

I am picking up the shield of faith…Help me to trust you to defend me, provide for me and to keep me in safety every hour of this day. [May I trust you in every situation that comes my way today, and remember that you cause everything to work together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose.]

I am putting on the helmet of salvation. Guard my mind today. Bring to my remembrance all that you have done for me as my Savior. Let me live in the hope and confidence that you are saving me, rescuing me, and delivering me from evil.

I am picking up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. Help me to remember the verses of the Bible that I have read and memorized, and help me to apply them to the situations and circumstances I will face. Let me use your Word to bring your light into the darkness of the world and to defeat the enemy of my soul when he comes to tempt me.

Father, I want to be fully clothed with the identity of Jesus Christ today. I am in Christ. He is in me. Help me to fully realize and accept that He is my Truth, my Righteousness, my Peace, my Savior, the source of my faith, and the ever-present Lord of my life.

I want to bring glory to your name today. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

—Prayer from When the Enemy Strikes by Charles Stanley [with additions by Pastor Jim Schwenk]

Suscipe (“Receive”)

Take, LORD, receive
all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will,
all that I possess.
You have given me all.
To You, oh LORD, I return it.
All is yours.
Dispose of it entirely
according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace.
With this I am rich enough,
and I have no more to ask.
Amen.

–Included by Ignatius of Loyola in The Spiritual Exercises

Grieving Prayer

Into my grieving
I weave
the strength of the Father.
Into my grieving
I weave
the compassion of the Son.
Into my grieving
I weave
the comfort of the Spirit
Into my grieving
I receive
the presence of the Three in One.

Into my anger
I invite
the patience of the Father.
Into my numbness
I invite
the healing of the Son.
Into my confusion
I invite
the wisdom of the Spirit.
And we shall grieve together,
I, in community
with the Three in One.

Anonymous, quoted from Celtic Daily Prayer Book Two (pp. 1050-1051)