06 March 2015

13Lent2015 "A Kingdom of Kin"

I don't mind being contrary on this point, but the move to substitute the neologism "kin'dom" to replace "kingdom" in the Lord's Prayer is irksome.  The most consistent defense I have heard in annihilating use of the word kingdom has been because it evokes images of war; and that kin'dom evokes images of community. 

Adhering to basic morphological tenants, does it really?  Really, does it? I'd say not; and rather posit that kingdom being synonymous with sovereignty positions the word more accurately in the context of prayer.  
Prayer, an exercise of the spirit, calls forth God's kingdom-- God's spiritual sovereignty which encompasses the realms of heaven and earth and the expanse of the universe.  Kingdom, is comprehensive and inclusive.  Kin'dom, however, has twinges of Christianese and exclusivity-- as if all and every thing is not covered by God's sovereignty with an all-access pass to God's whole love. 

Yes, God, we pray for your kingdom to come-- your order as you imagined it; your body as you imaged us-- limitless and loving.  --Raedorah


12Lent2015 "Holy is a Nickname"

Hallowed is Germanic and Old English for the English word "holy."  Ergo, we pray, "Our Divine Parent-- Father God, Mother God-- holy is your name.  And we can pray, "...'Holy' is your name." And we can pray, "...Your name is holy." And we can pray, "...Your name is 'Holy'." 

However we pray, holy is sacred, reverent, nickname of God.  Holy acknowledges awe for the Awesome.  Holy calls for help from the High Place.  Holy welcomes Majesty, Dominion, and Power into our mundane daily predicaments.  

So, let us sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy" as our prayer of worship.  And let us hum, "Holy is the Lord God Almighty" as our prayer of praise. And let us pray:

"Holy, you are sometimes too great for me to speak your name; too great for me to look at face-to-face; to great for any of the thousands of words I know; and so I just bow-- to Holy. Amen." 

11Lent2015 "Heaven"

In the model of the Lord's Prayer, we pray to Creator located in Heaven.  In Heaven, for sure; but not in Heaven, only.

God, being all and in all, is it no short reach to imagine praying to God in Heaven and to God on earth.  God in the trees and leaves. God in pets and wildlife. God in good sex and music. God in chicken soup and soft middle oatmeal raisin cookies.

God, Creator exists certainly beyond our worldly definition and comprehension; yet, the relationship of which we are beckoned to have with God is not so far out of reach of hand or imagination.  Look for God, as we pray, closer than "out there" and closer to "right here."

Creator, of all things out of your imagination, nudge me to see more of you as snow melts and dew settles, as orange sunrises and as purple sunsets, and as my thirst quenched and back scratched.   

04 March 2015

10Lent2015 "Our Mother..."

As a daughter with my mother's presence being constant and affirming in my 55 years of living, I ascribe to praying to God, Our Mother.

Informed by womanist rhetoric on the theology of gendering text, praying "Our Mother..." formed on my tongue prior to my attending seminary.  God as Mother is embodied by my mother, Autrey Stewart Dunlap, as God of presence, power, provision and protection. All Protestant vernacular associated with God are appropriate adjectives for who Mother embodies. 

So much so, that I wrote the poem, "When Mama Was God" as testament to God in flesh-- my understanding of all things divine as experienced in knowing and being raised by my Mother. Therefore I pray,

God, Our Mother, show yourself constant and sure, complete and eternal, to boys and girls who grow into men and women who struggle with your being both male and female. Make us less afraid to know you; less apprehensive to pray to you; less apt to ignore you. --Raedorah

When Mama Was God by Raedorah C. Stewart  ©2002 

My Most Recent Favorite Picture of Mama (74) & Me (54)

When mama was God
            She made miracles happen
            In the middle of a Houston ghetto
            The center of my universe, indeed.

She walked on water
            In three inch heels, matching bag
            With us five kids in her footsteps.

            She taught us to fear not
            Night lightening, thunderstorms
            Hard work,  new things, good success.

When mama was God
She created not one but two  
            Fancy Easter dresses and sewed
            Lace on my socks to match.

            She hollered for me from the porch
            Compelling me to come out, come out
            From all my favorite hiding places.

            She held me close with strong hands
            So close that I would inhale
            Warm fleshy bosom heat for air.

When mama was God
She stood her ground with white folk
            Those blue-eyed devils of pure evil
            Of the 60s… 80's… this new millennium.
            She laid hands on us/me
            So the cops wouldn't and trifling men couldn't
Healing bad attitudes and broken hearts.

She made a dollar holler
            On the occasions of more month than money
            Without robbing anyone of anything.

When mama was God
She blessed two fish and five loaves
            Or was that govm't cheese
            And canned mystery meat.

            She kept an open door policy
            Always meant that somebody else
            Would be sleeping on the living room floor.

            She prayed for us and others
            We eavesdropped listening for our name
            Knowing that no weapon formed against us would prosper.

When mama was God.

"Girl, you just like your mama,"
somebody said one day

when I was feeling a whole lot like God.


8Lent2015: "Forgive-- Like This"

...is A model for A method of praying.

I know, emphasizing the singular article in this opening statement might cause a myriad of reactions-- appalling to those who think this is the ONLY way and words to pray effectively; delightful to others who are poised for finger pointing to OTHER ways and words that prove equally effective; and located somewhere in the middle of these extremes, are those who are cynical, unsure, and learning about the efficacy, means, and matter of this prayer and praying overall.

What a wonderful quandry!  Lent, this season of wondering, is a wonderful time to wonder about prayer.  Won't you join me on this prayer experience...

Lord, like your disciples of old asked you then, we ask you now, "teach us to pray."  -- Raedorah

15Lent2015 "Cloudy Tea"

The science of fresh brewed tea amazes me. 

Poured steaming hot over ice cubes makes it cloudy. 
No less delicious. No less refreshing. Just, cloudy. 

Like life. 

Somedays, our routines are affected by the weather. 
Doesn't make a day bad. Nor good. Just, cloudy. 

Enjoy today like fresh brewed tea over ice cubes.
Regardless of how it looks in the cup.

Expect delicious.


9Lent2015 "Our, Father..."

As a fatherless child I ascribe to praying to God, Our Father.

With no thought to feminist rhetoric on gendering text, praying "Our Father..." always makes me smile.  God as Father fills me with notions of masculine presence, power, provision and protection. All lacking with silence from my birth father while he was in the home with us until I was 10 and his continued absence in voice and presence until he showed up on my doorstep at 21 was found in the comforting relationship of praying to God as Father.  

So, there are days and in matters that, I continue this on-going conversation with God, Our Father that happens only between me and God, Our Father.  Some things, only daddies can handle. Therefore I pray,

God, Our Father, show yourself gently and powerfully, clearly and convincingly, to women and girls who have a disappointing model of fatherhood that was demonstrated by our birth fathers. Make us less afraid to know you; less apprehensive to pray to you; less apt to ignore you. --Raedorah