But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And so many of us.
How can we expect Him
to keep track of which voice
goes with what request.
Words work their way skyward.
Oh Lord, followed by petition —
for a cure, the safe landing.
For what is lost, missing —
a spouse, a job, the final game.
Complaint cloaked as need —
the faster car, porcelain teeth.
That so many entreaties
may say less about our lamentable
inability to be heard
than our inherent flawed condition.
Why else, at birth, the first sound
we make, that full-throttled cry?
Of want, want, want.
Of never enough. Desire
as embedded in us as the ancestral tug
in my unconscienced dog who takes
to the woods, nose to the ground, pulled far
from domesticated hearth, bowl of kibble.
Left behind, I go about my superior business,
my daily ritual I could call prayer.
But look, this morning, in my kitchen,
I’m not asking for more of anything.
My husband slices bread,
hums a tune from our past.
Eggs spatter in a skillet.
Wands of lilac I stuck in a glass
by the open window wobble
in a radiant and — dare I say it?—
~Deborah Cummins “Just One God” from Counting the Waves
We who are nothingness can never be filled:
Never by orchards on the blowing sea,
Nor the rich foam of wheat all summer sunned.
Our hollow is deeper far than treasure can fill:
Helmets of gold swim ringing in the wells
Of our desire as thimbles in the sea.
Come like an ocean thundering to the moon,
Drowning the sunken reef, mounting the shore.
Come, infinite answer to our infinite want.
~John Frederick Nims from “Prayer”
Each morning’s sunrise, each evening’s sunset
is answer to our unuttered prayers.
From subtle simmer to blazing boil, settling back to gray.
And so our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, petition
rise and fall, simmer and boil and are sometimes breathed in silence.
Yet our Father answers with radiance and mercy.
So we keep on trudging,
with each step our prayers are answered:
we will take the next step,
and the next, and the next.
Never alone. Always heard. Forever loved.
This year’s Advent theme “Dawn on our Darkness” is taken from this 19th century Christmas hymn.
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
~Reginald Heber -from “Brightest and Best”
O radiant Light, O Sun divine;
Of God the Father’s deathless face,
O image of the Light sublime that fills the heav’nly dwelling place.
O Son of God, the source of life,
Praise is your due by night and day.
Our happy lips must raise the strain
of your esteemed and splendid name.
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