Tuesday, February 19, 2019

sparrow

Just let me be the sparrow
nesting near your altar—
when the smoke rises
let me rise with it to Thee,
when the music plays
hear my voice caught up in praise,
and when the rain falls
let me hide in the shelter of your wings.

Let me be the smallest creature—
just a small ledge is all I need,
and a little daily bread.
This short life
spent for you
will be enough.
Let me be forgotten;
let your Name alone
be my memory.

………………

sparrow
by troy cady
after Psalm 84:1-4

Monday, February 18, 2019

when you're tired of playing God

May curiosity be my conviction,
gentleness my strength,
and wonder my intellect.

I want to speak by listening,
to teach by learning.

If my worth is to be measured
when all is said and done,
let whatever gains I claim
be weighed by my giving.

Humility, ground me—
show me how to soar
by growing deep roots.
Let me find myself
by getting lost in Thee—
and teach me to number my days
according to Sabbath’s scale.

Let my heart be
as strong as it is soft.
Let me debate like a child at play.
Give me eyes to see
the exceptional in the ordinary,
and the potential
of community with the lonely.

Let the cross be my trophy.
Help me befriend my weaknesses.
Let me stop fighting—
for I’m tired of playing God.
Give me a rest from myself.
Bury me, Grace—
flourish in me, Grace.
Give me courage
to trust your paradox.

………………..

when you’re tired of playing God
by troy cady






Sunday, February 17, 2019

the Good Samaritan: a prayer

My prayer today is inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told to an expert in the law who was trying to justify himself. I invite you to pray it with me.             -Troy

………………

Father,
continue your patient work in me,
that my life would be patterned more fully
after the work and words of Jesus.

I confess that I still have much growing up to do.
I know that, as I go through life, you direct my steps
to help others who are in need—
but, too often, I am like the priest and Levite of Jesus’ parable,
too self-centered to see, too busy to stop,
too concerned with my own version of righteousness to care.

And it is no excuse
that there are many others who join me in this.
Sadly, we’ve even found ways to slander
those who extend your care to the helpless.
We like to enjoy our friends and family
(all those who think and behave like us)
while Othering our enemy.

Forgive us for our neglect. Forgive our self-righteousness.
Forgive us for trying to confine your grace
to our special, sheltered Sunday morning place.

And do a new work in us. Change us.
Move us outward towards others.
Help us to notice those you have placed right before us each day
and help us to see you in those we like to Other.
Empower us to get beyond just going through the motions.
Spirit, show us how to get caught up in your life,
to join you in the re-creative work you are doing
in every place and in every person we meet.
Stir us up, Lord—
lest we only remain here like dust that has settled.
Move us outward in love,
trusting you to supply all we need along the way.
Pattern us after the person and work of Jesus,
who—wonder of wonders—became both
the plundered, wounded traveler and
the merciful outsider for us, all because of love.


In His name we pray, Amen.

Photo credit: "Good Samaritan" by Twitter Trends 2019 on Flickr. Creative Commons License.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

how loved

if you only knew
how loved you are—
there is only one need—
see how the infant
just swallows,
how Mother nourishes
her Child,
such speechless adoration,
care and affection,
safety, protection—

what beauty,
this loving instinct,
how patiently
Mother teaches us her way,
a way that can only
be learned by invitation

love requires no intellect,
just presence—
and Mother is present
to her Child,
no distractions,
just attention,
acceptance,
no questions asked—

if you only knew
how loved you are


……………………………………


how loved
by troy cady


Monday, February 11, 2019

the tree of freedom

The Tree of Freedom
by Troy Cady

We were still learning to read
but I swear I never heard
such a simple thought
expressed with so much complexity.

We didn’t know exactly
what it meant at first.
We sooner would have
been able to explain
how such a grand tree
came to be,
this oak,
our gathering place,
this shade we now enjoy.

You see,
a tree needs no reason,
especially this one.
Wonder is enough,
awe, praise and honor.
What tenderness
I feel from her aged strength,
what joy—or is it hope?—
rises in me under her leaves!
Let these tears,
the countless tears
of no-account souls
water her strong roots.
Let me do my part;
let me weep at her feet.

Here in her shade
it was enough
to understand
but two big words:
proclamation and
emancipation.

Still, I prefer a simpler
way of saying it:
Freedom—
shout it out
to everyone.

I like short words
like oak,
like this live oak.
I can’t explain it,
but a live oak I can understand.
Who doesn’t?
An oak is big enough
for everyone.
An oak like this
speaks every language.

Just look
how these gnarled branches
set us all straight that day—
the day we heard those words of freedom.
We protect her
because she protected us.

I say to you
this ageless oak is enough.
She remembers
and lends us her great memory.
She’s enough.
Though she die, yet will she live.


………………………….


“She soon found a favorite spot near the inn under the huge gnarled branches of the Emancipation Oak, in the shade of which the Virginia Peninsula’s black community had gathered in 1863 to read Lincoln’s famous address freeing America’s slaves.” -Douglas Brinkley, writing about Rosa Parks when she worked at the Hampton Institute from 1957-1958. Citation is from the biography Rosa Parks (New York: Penguin, 2000), 179.

Today, the Emancipation Oak on the campus of Hampton University is a protected landmark.

#blackhistorymonth


Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Real Lord's Prayer

My prayer today is an attempt to respond honestly to the prayer Jesus taught his friends to pray. I invite you to pray it with me.  -Troy

…………………………………..

If I’m honest
my prayer is more
hallowed be my name
than Thy name;
I want to be remembered
and honored, famous,
well-spoken and well-spoken of.
Thus, this plea for forgiveness
is my go-to prayer—
would it become my ability to forgive!
See, I hold grudges; they comfort me
in the self-assurance that I am right
and they are wrong.
I delight in the misfortune of
all those who’ve hurt me.

And I pray “Give me more bread”
when I have in excess already.
I throw away what I could have shared.
I scrape, disbelieving the openness
of your heart and hands.

And, I’ll be honest,
I like the feel of temptation; it’s thrilling.
I like its ease of access these days,
its instant digital delivery.

Jesus, I wonder:
did you mean it
when you said
people like me
should pray
your Prayer?
Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory—
but does my life assent
to your authority?
Too often I pray “My will be done.”

And I wonder: can you be my Father
if I do not join with others
who are unlike me,
saying “Our Father”?
If I do not love
my brother, sister,
neighbor, stranger and enemy,
can I say I love you?
How can I love what I don’t see
if I cannot love what’s right in front of me?

And I wonder:
how many other hypocrites like me
could there be?
How many others
will utter the words
you taught us to pray today,
merely mouthing a pretend piety?
How many of us need rather to shorten our plea,
saying simply, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

My honest prayer is that you would
keep being patient with me
as I learn your ways of love.
I’m helpless—so, be not far from me;
rather, go behind and before,
to my left and right;
be the Spirit in the air I breathe,
Father in the heavens,
ever-near and always approaching,
immanent and imminent.
Be in my looking and thinking.
Help me to listen before speaking.
Move my heart to share with others;
move my hands to acts of mercy.
Purify my spirit; by your grace
grant me a second innocence.
I know I don’t deserve it, but
make me a child who joins
with other children in your kingdom—
singing, “Our Father!”

Amen. 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Letter of Adoption

Letter of Adoption
by Troy Cady,
inspired by friends I have


I see promise in your face,
a seed of hope
that will grow,
rooted in love.

I am the one who chose you.
I want to be the one
who watches over you,
puts you to bed at night
and feeds you.

Listen closely:
I want to whisper living secrets to you.
Keep them in confidence
and I’ll keep yours.

Now here’s a story
that will make you laugh—
how I love to hear you laugh—
how I love to see
your imagination come to life!

Keep trying new things, my child.
There’s a grace even in failing—
you can’t lose!
It’s true you can’t do everything well,
but nobody’s perfect.
You can make peace with limitation—
I still believe in you.

I’ll nurse you through illness,
befriend you in loneliness, and
cheer you on when you’re discouraged.
Here, just rest and drink
a warm cup of mercy with me.

You’re right: life is hard sometimes.
You’ll have to work—
but never forget:
I’ll pray you’ll have strength to endure.

I would say ‘find love’
but that would be silly—
because I’ve been here
this whole time loving you,
choosing you,
looking you full in the face,
standing beside you,
sending my heart with you
wherever you go.
Yes, I am with you,
even in your solitude—
but I love you too much
to keep you to myself.
Be your own person—
just be yourself.
I adopted you
so you could choose
freedom and joy.
I wish you joy, my child.
See how life has laid
before you a table
filled with rich fare—
hear the voices
who have joined you there,
poised to make
a glorious mess
of this Feast for all,
including you.