A keen blade, cutting with precision. Sharp chisel and a clean work bench.
Slowly, with care and economy, the cabinets I make will be marvels of craft. Fine bindings and rare volumes will rest behind the doors, kept for posterity.
I am the keen blade. Build with me, Lord, with economy and care.
Let my life be an invitation to others to draw near to you.
Let my life be an invitation to you, Lord, to enter.
Let my life, finally, be an invitation to you to do with me as thou wilt.
You care for me, direct me, give me all I need, and shelter me at night.
Like a willful mule, I escape from my pen and wander the fields. What do I think I will find? The way of the wilderness is hard, while your yoke is light.
Still you gently find me in distant meadows and draw me back to my place by your side. O providence, do I even deserve these second chances? Yet time and again, you are so tender with me.
Let me no longer stray from you, Lord.
Does darkness battle light? Where does it go when the sun rises, does it bide its time in a distant lair?
Or is it merely absence, dispelled dispassionately by dawn, gone nowhere for it never existed?
Lord, these worries, when you grant me faith and providence, are they then gone like shadows, never having been?
Darkness does not thicken nor deepen nor strengthen. Light dispels as easily from a candle as from a sun. Let me laugh at my despondency, for it is made of rice paper and dried leaves.
You shine on me, Lord, let me give thanks.
Only when my cup is empty can it be filled.
Let me pour out greater love to all who come. Let me go out looking for the parched, even those who do not yet know they thirst.
Cool water you have given me. How dare I hold it back?
Gray concrete and rain. My fellows see a harsh landscape; I see the blade of grass poking through a crack in the sidewalk.
Let me see more, Lord. Let me share the vision you share with me. Even under heavy skies, life grows inside us.
Would I have chosen this way of life, had I known where you would lead me?
Would I have accepted the terms of surrender, had I known the cost of forgoing all I had?
This place, these new riches of spirit, this fresh life renewed daily — I could not know its value until having lived it. What grace, Lord, to bring me here even in the face of my blindness and obstinacy.
In my gratitude, let me have compassion for those who have not yet chosen.
Walking the meadow, the growing grass is a power, holding the earth together. Seated at the riverside, the flowing water is a power, wearing smooth stone after stone and cutting new channels in the land. This gentle breeze — a power, training the direction of the saplings, as their older brethren all face the same way.
This power, so slow and gentle, so durable, so inexorable.
Let me walk in alignment with the wind, Lord. Let me slow myself that I may be part of your work.
When I face woe, you comfort me.
Is this all I can expect? All I dare ask? I may be soothed, but the troubles remain.
Or are you true supply, Lord? Where I stand against deprivation, or arrayed warriors, you not only strengthen my spine but move events.
O! I long to watch as you heap treasure in the storehouse. You do more than simply place a smile on my face.
Thy will be done, Lord.
A room. One by one, fellows trickle in, until a crowd murmurs together.
We hide here, from the forces that rage through the countryside. Was this what you called us to do, when you set in motion these events? Are we not warriors, why then do we lock ourselves away?
What if we walked the streets, and the hills, and the meadows, carrying nothing, but greeting all with love? Would our words and open hands turn hearts? How could they not?
Teach me, Lord, what it means to enter into battle for peace.
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