You pretend that God is there beside you listening with utmost attention to your questions and concerns. Eventually, the game becomes what is experienced as an actual conversation -- or maybe becomes an actual conversation.
I am not alone in being glued to the news when something awful happens. Perhaps it's because we think the outcome will change if we watch; more likely it's because we cannot fathom the horror, and have to watch again and again, ad nauseam, in order to make it real to us.
I'm grateful that you see art in everything. I'm grateful that you go to a school with the time to teach art that allows you to be expressive even if I can't put it in the recycle bin because you will just take it out again.
Let's pray for the hundreds of people who cling to life, whose limbs were lost, whose lives are shattered. Let's pray for the helpers who run toward chaos instead of away from it.
Sometimes it is anger toward God or anger with others that ends in frustration with God that can lead to disconnection with the Divine just when we crave that connection the most. Learning to pray through our anger, instead of around it, can heal.
Some of us may feel helpless in the midst of these tragedies, especially if we are far away or can't physically help another. If you are one of these people and are wondering what it is you can do to help, praying and sending healing energy are viable options.
I encourage you each to not spend these moments judging or attempting to discern who is guilty but rather to pray and to give. Pray asking for the abounding mercy and peace of God to be with the responders, medics, grief counselors and clergy.
Don't ask the crocus, "Where is God?" / as though the crocus can respond to / our cries echoing over the flower beds. / The purple blooms have done their best / to disguise the traces of our bitter violence; / their job is not to soothe our seething conscience.
For me, prayer is a form of connection. Whether that connection is to deity, to the cosmos, or to something else doesn't really matter. What matters to me, and makes a difference in my life, is the practice of presence that prayer brings.
We can prove in our own lives that, whether or not we are aware of it, our spiritual practice can help us achieve better health.
Today an interfaith coalition will hold a "Pray-In for the Climate" in front of the White House. The day is powerful in its symbolism as the 15th is the date of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, real birthday.
A recovering productivity junkie, I've only begun learning how to slow down my pace long enough to rest on the Sabbath. But time is sacred. So, for at least one day a week, I try to bask in the peace that God promises.
The religious neutrality in our schools is, I would argue, one of our strengths. Teachers cannot inhibit or deride religion. But this does not mean that we've taken God out of public schools.
Religion can be a tool for oppression or a force for good. As we greet 2013, I hope that we can all work for a more compassionate faith.
Amen is a response to this lovely, messy life that yields moment after moment of wows -- moments that Abraham Joshua Heschel described as "radical amazement."
I have visited, prayed, chanted, bowed and meditated in many, if not most, of the great houses of worship of this evanescent world. And at this holy time of year, I send my warmest wishes and prayers for your health and well-being.