Sunday, January 18, 2009

Many and tender mercies

The western edge of Fort Worth marks the transition from the Cross Timbers section of the state to the rolling prairie. As you leave the cityscape behind, the land begins to stretch out before you like a languorous cat, all smooth hills and soft lines.

And as the land begins its long slow flattening out between Fort Worth and the Cap Rock out toward Midland, the sky gets just gets bigger and bigger.

This morning as the sun began warming up toward a beautiful day, I drove west to Willow Park to worship with the Parker County Episcopalians, a group that includes people from the parishes of St. Francis Willow Park, All Saints Weatherford and Holy Apostles, Fort Worth.

They worship in the McCall Elementary School, a new building on the edge of town. Across the street from it is nothing but prairie and blue sky, a view that is beautifully framed by the floor to ceiling windows of the cafetorium where they have Eucharist.

As we listened to the readings, outside those windows a large hawk slowly and with great majesty rode air currents back and forth like some great ship quartering a blue-and-white sea.

The hawk was oblivious to the history being made inside the school. Maurine Lewis was preaching and celebrating -- the first time a priest who is a woman has celebrated the Eucharist in Parker County.

Litany for
The Episcopal Church in Parker County
Give us grace to deal mercifully with each other, always reflecting your many and tender mercies.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us courage to faithfully hold open a place for the rejected, the suffering, and those who question, search and disagree.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Help us to keep our own faults ever before us, that we may judge ourselves rather than others.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Steer us from the easy path of abandoning difficult relationships.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

May we have the strength and courage to remain alongside each other with open hearts and generous spirits.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Teach us to listen truly and to gaze deeply, that we may see your image revealed in those with whom we disagree.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Show us how to be still, so that your presence in each one of us can reconcile us all.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

All photos except the first were taken by Douglas A. Kerr.


Caminante said...

You have walked on holy ground... how wonderful that this inbreaking of God's realm should happen on this weekend with all its overtones.

willie j said...

i used to dance with Maureen (ballet) in the 70s at NTSU. I would love to be with her when she next celebrates Holy Eucharist or merely preaches. Please tell her Wm Jackson sends his greetings and that Chuck Gatlin misses her, too.