Hello St. James Community, We’re experiencing a heat wave as I write this blog today. We’re having the second of two consecutive days with highs in the triple digits. We were bound to feel a bit of August’s heat some time. I think of all the places that have been weathering extreme conditions lately and I pray for all the areas on this earth that are struggling with the effects of climate change and natural disasters. Our hearts go out to the people of Lahaina, Hawaii in the wake of their devastating wildfire. We have a link on the front page of our website to contribute to the Lutheran Disaster Relief efforts to support the people of Hawaii. I know there are also places experiencing flooding and the effects of hurricanes as well. My prayer is this: Lord, walk with the people in need of your love and care. Send them all that they need to continue living and thriving in their communities. Show us ways we can be your hands and feet in the world, living in solidarity with all your people and caring for one another as you would have us do. Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy. In your name we pray. Amen. I’m also aware of the families that have been in school for a couple weeks or will be going back very soon. There is a lot of resetting that happens in this season: Readjusting to having a set schedule, waiting for schedules to come out so folks can plan their days, trying to get back into the rhythm of going to bed and waking up at the same time. Even without a kiddo in full time school yet, I find myself needing to take a breath and seeking out short ways to ground myself in God’s word of encouragement for me. I would like to offer some resources for devotions that I reference regularly for ministry as well as for life in general. Maybe they can provide some solace and peace for you too. Most of the devotions I look to I have subscribed to in email form.
I also pick up books that speak to me. This time around, I’ll share the email resources and another time I will share books I find meaningful and helpful. As I find myself in the season of parenting a small child, most of my books center around parenting, whereas the email devotions are more general and universal. There’s of course lots of podcasts out there too and some of this will cross over–I will write about those resources another time as well.
I receive regular emails for devotions from the Center for Action and Contemplation founded by Fr. Richard Rohr. You can sign up for their daily meditations here: https://cac.org/daily-meditations/
I have multiple books by Henri Nouwan and I enjoy the short reflections he has in an email form that can be found here: https://henrinouwen.org/
Luther Seminary, though not my alma mater, has been a wonderful resource for my continuing education. They have a ministry called Faith+Lead that has articles and free resources for a life of faith. This is their daily devotions based on the lessons of the week (the lectionary) that can be subscribed to. It’s called God Pause: https://www.luthersem.edu/godpause/
Another resource I stumbled upon sometime ago is called Godspace. It is a lovely place for resources related to the seasons of the church, blogs, workshops etc. It is a place to explore spirituality and creative approaches to faith. I enjoy the blog and have utilized some resources for worship and devotions in the past. The blog can be found here: https://godspacelight.com/blog/
Morgan Harper Nichols is a young woman who weaves art and spirituality and encouragement, always encouragement, into her pieces. I receive a short reflection from her daily that gives perspective, helps me breathe in my own worth and grounds my day. You may appreciate her work through her blog as well at: https://morganharpernichols.com/blog
With all this in mind, I have thought about our families who have dropped off their young adult children at college or have someone transitioning to a new setting after high school. I would love to offer a blessing from another wonderful resource and writer, Kayla Craig, who has beautiful blessings for parents. I’ve used some in worship at times too.
A Prayer for a Child Leaving Home, by Kayla Craig
O God, as time passes, I watch the walls of our home Swell and expand, And then get smaller, quieter
With the memories of us.
O God as time passes, I feel my the corners of my heart
Swell and expand, And then get larger, louder With the memories of us.
As this child makes their own way
With moving boxes and packing tape,
Hand-me-down couches, And brand new dreams of their own,
Guide their heart, Protect their spirit, And help me let them go.
For in long days and short years, I’ve seen them grow into more Of who You’ve made them to be, And I’ve grown more into myself too.
As they walk this unfamiliar path, I see the adult they’ve become
And the little one they’ll always be to me.
As they lift heavy boxes up the stairs,
May they know that with them They carry years of love. Poured out from parent to child And child to parent.
As they rest their head at night In the new dwelling they call home,
May they know that love carries them–
That You always have And always will– Through life’s unexpected journeys,
Yesterday’s dark nights, And tomorrow’s bright mornings.
As they rise in the light of a new day,
Help their feet find the right path
For where to go and how to walk in love. In this big world where Beauty and brokenness coexist.
Whisper into their hearts The road to follow as they embark
On this new journey– One they must navigate on their own.
O God, lead them when we cannot,
For we cannot prepare The journeys our children must take.
And we pray that somehow, Through the years, We have prepared our children
For the journeys set ahead of them.
On the twisting roads And winding paths, May they know that they never need to knock And that they’ll always have a place In our heart And in our home. __________________________________________ Psalm 25:4-5
God be with you wherever your journey is taking you at this time in life. We are praying for you and with you.
God’s blessings, -P. Amy