By John Bonney of Springfield, OR, USA
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my Creator and my God. —Psalm 84:3 NRSV, adapted
The wild roses are still blooming. They wear a delicate and glorious display of pink—a full, floral chorus of joy and praise for the source from which they rise.
The blackbirds harass a crow—three or four blackbirds against a single crow. The crow is awkward and clumsy as it tries to fly away from such obnoxious attention.
I applaud the gardens continuing to grow despite the disgruntled testimony of lawnmowers. The grass grows and grows and does not know it’s time to rest. And as for the weeds…
The breeze stiffens and cools now. The temperature rises and falls. “Oh,” I say, “still too warm, too bright! Where are my sunglasses?” But I know in the not-too-distant future I will miss the happy days of 80 or 85 degrees.
The black vultures sail around the warm skies, and I enjoy watching the only carrion birds in the state of Oregon. I ask, “Is a vulture lovely?” Well, like one definition of God, it is in the mind and eye of the observer, beholder, and worshiper. Their graceful flight looks so effortless, so wonderfully planned. Hail to the vulture! Praise to God!
Prayer for Peace
Master Craftsman, I see your creation on the right side of the walk. I see more beauty on the left. I remember fondly what I left behind and look forward to what comes next. I need no chalk to mark the way. I follow the path to peace.
Spiritual Practice: Weeding the Garden
Inner transformation can take place amid daily leisure and work. Try cultivating the spiritual discipline of grace and acceptance while weeding the garden. As you pull each weed, offer a short prayer. Tug. (God remove from my heart all prejudice and fear.) Tug again. (God, keep me from judging others.) As you remove the weed, continue praying. (Plant in my heart the seeds of your love.) If you don’t have a garden, try this transforming prayer while engaging in repetitive tasks or work today (cleaning out a closet, washing dishes, cleaning the floors, mowing the lawn).
Today, God, as I walk the hall, the sidewalk, the track, the trail, or the worshiper’s path, I will take mental notes along the way. I will observe and appreciate your creation.