A contextual adaptation of ‘United Methodist Book of Worship’ Blessing 548

This is the Pastoral Prayer I wrote for the May 24, 2022 Clergy Session of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church.

God of eternal presence with us,

amidst all joy and pain,

guide us in this gathering today

as we tend to the grief of what we have lost

and as we celebrate the excitement of what is new and expanding.

This gathering today may revive in us memories of loved ones, colleagues, and friends who are no longer with us today.

May we take time to tend to this grief

and remember the happy memories we shared together

while they were still with us.

In the next few moments, may we speak the names of those whom we have lost out loud OR quietly in our hearts.

[Speak out-loud or reflect]

Lord, thank you for the time we had to share with these beloved people.

May our memories together be a blessing until we meet again.

Three years have passed, and yet we still feel the looming presence of the pandemic.

May we take time to acknowledge this grief,

remembering and honoring what has been lost:

plans, justice, communities, dignity, events, rights, services.

In the next few moments, may we speak that which has been lost out loud OR quietly in our hearts.

[Speak out-loud or reflect]

Lord, thank you for your constant presence with us during this time, weeping along with us and our communities.

May we continue to rely on your boundless love as our strength as we continue to care for our congregations, communities, families, and selves.

During these three years, we have also encountered new persons, deeper relationships, and the expansion of families.

May we take time to tend to these joys,

holding the faces and names,

of those we have met and grown to cherish and love.

In the next few moments, may we speak the names of those whom we have met out loud OR quietly in our hearts.

[Speak out-loud or reflect]

Lord, we name these relationships with gratitude, and we bless them.

May we continue to tend, cherish, and rejoice in the beloved people and relationships whom you have placed in our lives today.

These three years have been marked by forced innovation and change.

May we take time to acknowledge the good that has come from the Holy Spirit

helping us to expand and imagine our communities in exciting new ways,

emphasizing justice, dignity, accessibility, safety, and creativity.

In the next few moments, may we speak the good out loud OR quietly in our hearts.

[Speak out-loud or reflect]

Lord, thank you for the innovative power of your Holy Spirit, leading and guiding us in these times of profound change.

May we find strength from your Holy Spirit, and from one another, to continue the ministry work to which you have called us.

God among us,

our unrelenting listener,

we give you thanks for this time to share

our griefs and joys with you.

Bless us, keep us, and inspire us

in the great work to which you have called us –

yesterday, today, and tomorrow –

in collaboration, accountability, and support

with You,

with our ministry communities,

and with our colleagues here today.

In Your name,

we rejoice and praise.


Psalm 23 as a Gay Love Letter

My Lover is my Lord,

in him, I do not want.

He lies with me on clean linens

and wraps me in his sinewy arms.

He enlivens my body and soul

and leads me on pleasurable paths

toward mutual ecstasy.

With him I journey through 

the soft fleshy curves,

hard muscled edges,

and vulnerable tissues 

of our bodies.

In him, I fear no harm,

for his rod 

and my staff

are in the hands

of excellent communicators.

He prepares a warm cuddle for me

after the stresses and joys

of the daily grind;

he anoints my head with kisses

and my heart overflows.

Goodness and mercy

flow from our union

into all of the days 

and the ways

of our lives.

I shall dwell in the embodied home

of my Lord – my Husband – 

until death do us part

and we reunite 

in eternal embrace.

Book Review: ‘Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth’ by Randy Woodley


Keetoowah Band Cherokee activity, author, and theologian Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley has crafted this brilliant 100 day devotional for people to connect with their faith more deeply by finding ways to become more rooted in the Sacred Land from which we came, the Land on which we live, and the Land to which we will return.

Each day starts with a short quote from an important figure to help calm our minds and prepare for the day’s reflection. Next comes a 2-3 page reflection on humanity, the land, and/or the living beings around us and how we can become more deeply connected with all creation. Finally, each day ends with a call to action, further reflection, or meditation. This enables folks to extend the learnings of the day into more rigorous/in-path/tangible ways throughout the day, as they are able. The book is divided into 10 thematic sections with 10 deviations each. It is a wonderful journey of reflection, discovery, and connection.

One of the most powerful outcomes of this book is how I was challenged to connect with my family’s cultural roots in deeper and more intentional ways through history, food, and cultural practices. Not only is this important for my own growth and learning as a vital part of my family, but also to challenge the pitfalls of white supremacy that force white folks to give up all cultural specificity for the privileges of supremacy and uniformness. As a result, this intentional work is vital for white folks to regain specificity, resist the uniformness of white supremacy, and learn how to be solidarity conspirators with our non-white siblings and all of creation.

This book is a powerful meditative tool for personal growth and reflection that leads to tangible communal outcomes and solidarity. Invest in this journey or reconnection with Sacred Earth today!