Shawna Atteberry

Baker, Writer, Teacher

May God Bless You

This is a Franciscan Blessing that our priest used as our final benediction yesterday. I thought it would be the perfect way to start the week.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

And the Blessing of God, who Creates, Redeems, and Sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.

Prayer Book Irony

The Chicagoland area had a freaking big thunderstorm go through last night (go to ChiTownDaily News for a great picture). Winds were whipping around and gusting up to 70-80 miles per hour, and the lightning was incredible. We had heard that a tornado had set down in Elmhurst (this morning officials say it was just high winds), but that part of the storm was heading for us. Tracy (my husband) and I packed up and went down to the basement to be safe. We weren’t the only ones. We hung out with other residents in the exercise room watching the news. The storm went over us moving around 50 mph, and out over Lake Michigan. We’re fine, and it looks like the South Loop made it through just fine.

Around Chicagoland tree limbs and powerlines are down, and there were several fires from the lightning strikes. Both airports shut down for awhile, and the Cubs game was finally called off after two rain delays. Over 200,000 lost power as of this morning.

When I opened up Celtic Benediction: Morning and Night Prayer to chant compline (last office of prayer at night), this is the prayer for Monday night:

In the infinity of night skies
in the free flashing of lightning
in whirling elemental winds
you are God.
In the impenetrable mists of dark clouds
in the wild gusts of lashing rain
in the ageless rocks of the sea
you are God and I bless you.
You are in all things
and contained by no thing.
You are the Life of all life
and beyond every name.
You are God and in the eternal mystery I praise you.

When I got to whirling elemental winds, Tracy, said, “You’re kidding right?”

I said, “NO! This is the prayer for Monday Night!”

And people think written prayers are never true-to-life or where you’re at now. I beg to differ.

The photo was posted by Doug Siefken.

God as Father and Mother

In yesterday’s post I wrote that I was using different names for God. One of those I stole from Julian of Norwich. Julian wrote about God as Mother in her writings, Divine Revelations of Love. She prayed to “our Father-Mother God,” and I use her name for God most when I pray. When I pray The Lord’s Prayer, I begin, “Our Father-Mother God who art in heaven…” When I say grace, I pray, “Father-Mother, thank you for this food.” I believe that it is valid to address God as Mother (as well as Father) because of all the mother imagery used in Bible for God: God is pregnant, gives birth, and breastfeeds. God also hides Israel under God’s wings like a mother hen. I also believe God can be addressed as Mother because of Genesis 1:26: God created both male and female in God’s image. Mother and other feminine names can be used for God because women image God. Here is a different version of The Lord’s Prayer that we prayed in church last Sunday:

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need to today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials to great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever. Amen.

What do you think of using feminine names for God? What do you call God?

God Bless the Gargoyles

MJCIV posted this prayer on Street Prophets. This prayer in in M’s daughter’s book god bless the gargoyles by Dav Pilkey.

God bless the rain and the stormclouds that bring it

God bless the music, and the voices that sing it.

God bless the ones who sing everything wrong.

God bless all creatures who do not belong.

God bless the hearts and the souls who are grieving

For those who have left, and for those who are leaving.

God bless each perishing body and mind,

God bless all creatures remaining behind.

God bless the dreamers whose dreams have awoken.

God bless the lovers whose hearts have been broken.

God bless each soul that is tortured and taunted,

God bless all creatures alone and unwanted.

Tim Russert dead at 58

Tim Russert died today of a heart attack. I didn’t always agree with him, but I always loved watching him back politicians against the wall and not letting them off with easy outs. And good for Tim for playing hookie at work to take his son to baseball games. Rest in peace Tim.

Almighty God, we remember before you today your faithful servant Tim Russert; and we pray that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, you will receive him more and more into your joyful service, that, with all who have faithfully served you in the past, he may share in the eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (From The Book of Common Prayer)

Russ, Maureen and Luke, may the God of all comforts, comfort you now. May you feel God’s love and peace and know the hope you have: that you will be reunited in God’s kingdom.

Prayer Update

I went to the doctor for the lump I found below my armpit, and she said that it was probably a swollen or blocked lymph node. Cancer normally does not develop where the lump is. I have an ultrasound appointment tomorrow. I didn’t think I would get in that soon, but when I called for the appointment this morning, the woman I talked to had just taken a cancellation, and she slipped me in. Thank you for your prayers.

Prayer Request: This time for me

I have found a lump under my right armpit. I have had breast cysts before, but this lump is over my ribs. I have an appointment to see my doctor on Feb. 4. Please pray that it is something benign. My mom’s oldest sister had breast cancer, so it does run in the family. And I do not like how close this lump is to lymph nodes. Thank you.


P.S. to self: remember to call Mom so she does not read about lump here first. She doesn’t like it when she reads stuff like this and I haven’t called. Can’t blame her. I’d probably be just as aggravated if it were the other way around. Probably nothing–I would be just as aggravated. That is one of the great things about family: parents are always parents and children are always children. Anyway that’s how it is in both my family and Tracy’s family. Oh yeah, probably should let in-laws know as well, so Father-in-law does not read this first before phone call. Okay, end of very long P. S.

Big Praise!

Tracy flew back to D. C. yesterday. This morning’s CT Scan showed that the liver infection was gone! Praise God!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support.


What Is a Mother?

In the RevGals Wednesday Festival, EarthenSoul was mourning that, at this point in her life, she would never have children. I am unable to have children due to health problems. Like EarthenSoul and Her Mate, My Hubby and I have decided not to adopt due to how old we will be when we get the kids off to college! Sally posted the wonderful prayer below in the comments on the post. It spoke to me and resonated in my heart. In the past few years, I have come to realize that just because I cannot have children does not mean I cannot nurture and love others and give birth to new ideas, books, and projects for the Kingdom of God. In fact, as a pastor I get to do one of the most incredible things there is: I get to love, nurture, and lead people into an intimate relationship with God. If that’s not mothering, I don’t know what is! I take my example from Deborah, who is called “a mother in Isreal” (Judges 5:6). Deborah is not called a mother because of her biological children. She is a mother for leading and defending the people of Israel, which were her children. Here is the prayer that Sally left for earthsoul and the rest of us who are unable to have children. It is from Nicola Slee’s “Praying like a woman.”

Though this belly has never been swollen with the burden of a baby, let me grow big with the longing for justice which will be for all of the children of God.

Though these breasts have never suckled an infant, let my largess of love nurture those who are hungry for the feast of life.

Though these arms have never cradled my own child, let them reach out tenderly to those who pine for a mothers love.

Though these lips have never spoken my own babies name, let me croon blessing and balm and healing on many a charmless unlullabied life.

Though this mind cannot truly imagine my own childs life, may I dream dreams for children whose prospects are pitiful and whose hopes are slender.

And though I have wept over my unborn child’s unfulfilled possibilities,
may I never be so absorbed in my own small griefs that I have not compassion to weep with the motherless child, and the childless mother, to grieve the abandoned infant and to rage over the still born babe.To sorrow over the squandered life and to lament over each uncherished son and daughter.

May I offer these arms,
Open this heart,
proffer this body,
to each baby screaming for justice,
each child reaching for love
each neighbour longing for mercy
each mother mourning the useless spilling of blood.

Childless and childbearing we belong together

We are each offspring of the body of God.

A New Old Hymn

In the Noonday Day Prayer at Street Prophets, Sweet Georgia Peach started with a wonderful hymn I had never seen before by Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius. Prudentias was born in Spain in 348 A. D. He came from a wealthy family, and he became lawyer. Later he rose to the rank of judge over several cities, and then he served in the court of Theodosius I. At the age of 57 he wrote:

Now, the, at last, close on the very end of life,
May yet my sinful soul put off her foolishness;
And if by deeds it cannot, yet, at least, by words give praise to God,
Join day to day by constant hymns,
Fail not each night in songs to celebrate the Lord,
Fight against heresies, maintain the Catholic faith.

He spent the rest of life writing poems and hymns to God. He has been called “”the prince of early Christian poets,” and “the Horace and Virgil of the Christians.” Many of his poems have been translated and made into hymns. This is one of them.

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”

Of the Father’s love begotten,
ere the worlds began to be,
he is Alpha and Omega,
he the source, the ending he,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see,
evermore and evermore!

At his word the worlds were framèd;
he commanded; it was done:
heaven and earth and depths of ocean
in their threefold order one;
all that grows beneath the shining
of the moon and burning sun,
evermore and evermore!

O that birth for ever blessèd,
when the Virgin, full of grace,
by the Holy Ghost conceiving,
bare the Savior of our race;
and the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face,
evermore and evermore!