Damascus Road Prayers: Advent 2


…as if He were a seed in our garden,
or a small flash of light for our pupil,
He shone forth and diffused and filled the earth.
(Saint Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns for the Nativity)

Days crack like soil.
In the parts of the world where summer parches
we wait like potholes for the rain.
December’s slow refrain is singing
songs that speak of joy. Repeat
the sound of joy, though it may cloy
against the tune of years. We see
the line of kings; the throne, the rings
disappoint. The crown is twisted;
what can grow between these thorns?
A king, smaller than a seed
and vaster than the spheres.

Expectation (The Cornucopia of Heaven)



After J.S. Bach, “Mass in B Minor: Et Expecto Resurrectionem”


We              begin           small:
a kernel        dropping        to soil
a weak          and fickle      seed
a broken        passing         moment
of what           breaks forth
                              in trumpet-shower,
            in polyphonic spring,
                        in vibrant alleluia
                            voices thrumming, harmony
                  from these broken chords
                        in joy!
           What we sow now,    broken,
                        soon we reap
                in harvest plenty,
                        singing where
                            our tears once fell:
                                    Alleluia!                   Expectantly.

The Cornucopia of Heaven – Prayer of Preparation

Camille Pissarro, "The Harvest" Wikimedia Commons
Camille Pissarro, “The Harvest”
Wikimedia Commons

Prayer of Preparation

After Gustav Holst, “Psalm 86: To My Humble Supplication”

Teach my dullness, guide my blindness

(Joseph Bryan)

begin small –

a seed,
a pod,
a bud,

soon bursting, soon
out into light.

Hear strings rise. Hear spirits lift
their weary, slowing hands.
See the sun open up the day.
See the Son open up

the way –

Almighty God

Lord, our souls are faint.
The day is bright, the sunlight blinds
and we have little voice to cry.

Hear and cleanse –

Cleanse our hearts,
the thoughts of hearts –
Magnify Your grace in us
that we may magnify Your name.

O Lord,
our dullness, guide
our blindness
in this blinding day.

Hear our spirits soar
the more
for all our desperate crying out.

O Lord, our rain
in reigning drought:
in brokenness we cry, we shout –

O hear…

the strings of every aching one,
the strains of breath,
the stains of death.

We cry
and long – for all
desire is laid before Your throne.

Lift our hearts:
we lift our hearts

into Your shining day.

Easter Friday

The seed
sown in good soil
dies, yet gives life
thirty, sixty, one hundred times over.

Some seed
will scatter, be lost,
when cares and trials come
to choke, to scorch like sun’s temptation.

Yet seed
which dies gladly
is more than seed, more than earth,
more than the narrowness of our dust’s conceptions…