Tag Archives: prayer

A Great Thought and a Great Name for a Bike

Campus Ministry and Mount Mercy University President Laurie Hamen hosted a prayer service in the Chapel of Mercy Thursday—an afternoon ecumenical gathering meant to emphasize respect for all faith traditions.
An Imam from the local mosque was the featured guest. That was by intention, as rhetoric in our public discourse has turned dark, with one presidential candidate even calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. I liked the service, partly because I agree with the sentiment behind it. It also included this video from Pope Francis in which he calls for respect among religions.
And, during the service one of my favorite hymns, “The Prayer of Saint Francis” was sung. Sadly, I sang along, and for that, universe, I apologize.
Following the service, I took advantage of the chance to sign the Mercy Door in the chapel, a replica of a special jubilee door opened at The Vatican in honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I felt a little funny signing, because I was putting my name under a “pledge” to do an act of mercy each month.
Door signing

Another MMU faculty member signs the Mercy door.

Today, its Jan. 15. Half a month is left and I have to figure out how to be deliberately merciful, and then try to carry that on throughout 2016. I’m sure my CO 101 students could suggest an idea, but of course “giving” a good grade is not a true act of mercy because it doesn’t aid the recipient. Still, it wasn’t an intention to do an act of mercy, it was a pledge. That feels like a serious promise. I’ll have to think about that.


Anyway, I was glad to be there, to hear from Pope Francis, to sing a song that reflect the ideas of Saint Francis and then to hop on my bike—Francis—to ride home. Somehow, the pretty sunset on campus seemed to fit the whole mood. Where there is mercy, let there be hope.

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A Little Rain Respite in this Dry Year

Rain at MMU

Rain at Mount Mercy University campus, around 8:15 p.m. Aug. 8–not used to seeing wet and clouds. Rain felt good–can we have more, please?

I felt as if I didn’t recall what rain looked like. It fell over the weekend and I was inside, remote from it, and Saturday’s rain tumbled down so quickly that it seemed over before it started.

Wednesday was different—several bouts of rain, including morning sprinkles and a pretty good downpour at sunset.  I was out to observe and feel the rain both times.

And when the grandchildren came over to play this morning, the leaves on the trees were all wet, and when the breeze stirred them, drops of water came tumbling down.

Yet, the ground seemed try. I get the feeling Audrey would not have had the kids play outside—because she said, from the deck, that it “looks muddy.”

It was not. Dry Creek is almost again dry, despite what The Weather Channel says was 0.89 inches of rain yesterday.

The ground just soaked it up, and the top layer of ground is already looking a bit dry. It’s amazing what a drought will do.

Anyway, at least most bushes and trees look happier today. We have a break from extreme heat, and some moisture in the ground.

We also had a chance of rain today, although the sun is shining this afternoon. I hope some moisture from the sky yet finds us, as we can sure use the rain.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack set off a minor fuss when he said he is praying for rain—but other than prayer, what is a federal official to do?

Fight climate change, I suppose.

Anyway, as long as we’re praying, a pause to say thanks for the rain that has fallen this week. It’s been the wettest week in Cedar Rapids since, well, sometime in May, I suppose. Two rainy days in under seven days.

Dare I hope for more? Might I offer up a prayer this afternoon?

Rain, rain, come today, gladly I would forfeit play. Amen.


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Thank you

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” An oft-reused phrase from Meister Eckhart, and perhaps too over used, but it fits my mood.

Grandchild number 3 was born today, a grand way to punctuate Thanksgiving and reason enough to say “thank you” to God. While there is plenty of stress awaiting me next week, it’s good to pause and consider how lucky or blessed I am, whichever way you want to think about it.

Audrey holds Tristan at St Luke's Hoptial Nov 27

Audrey holds Tristan at St Luke's Hoptial Nov 27

Tristan Lee Sebers chose today to make his appearance and was born shortly after 3 in the afternoon. Nice timing—waited until Thanksgiving Day had passed, but still gave the grandparents a day off to watch Nikayla for Katy and Wyatt. Most of all, mother and son came through the ordeal well.

It’s been a Thanksgiving rich in grandchildren. Elizabeth is visiting from Ames, and staying an extra night due to Tristan’s timely arrival. Nikayla is here with us for several days too, as Katy is in St. Luke’ with Tristan and Wyatt is spending virtually all of his time there too.

I feel very lucky that three grandchildren have safely entered this world. I know from experience that pregnancy can be a nerve-racking time, and, while it’s a little easier when it’s not your spouse who is pregnant, still, awaiting that inevitable passage is not an easy time.

So, number one thank you, God. Thank you for the gift of healthy grandchildren.

There are many other blessings to count, too. Just a few:

• Cate included “siblings” in her Facebook countdown to Thanksgiving. Ditto.
• It’s sad that Saminu wasn’t with us—but his new family seems very nice and happy to have him, which is, again, another reason to be thankful.
• Audrey and I are almost done with an extraordinarily busy fall semester, her as head of the Educational Policies Committee, me as chair of the faculty, all this on top of the ever-changing needs of Audrey’s mother. But, we’re getting near the end and are both sane, so thanks.
• Audrey’s mother made it past Thanksgiving Day, and is at least capable of some communication. We weren’t sure earlier this fall if that would be true, if she would even be alive today. There isn’t a lot to be thankful for when you have a person close to you whose Alzheimer’s Disease is robbing her of her brain functions, but Shirley came back from a zombie-like state, and that’s something to be grateful for. As we saw just a few weeks ago, count any day that she can walk as a blessing, and she’s been walking a lot lately.

Thanksgiving Day, Uncle Ben with little Lizzie

Thanksgiving Day, Uncle Ben with little Lizzie

• Thanksgiving Day was spent with all of the kids save Jon and all of the grandkids save Tristan who was born the next day, and Toni, too. That was a good time. And both the butternut squash/pumpkin pie and pecan pie were delicious. Thanks.
• Thanks for a sometimes emotionally draining but always interesting group of students who works on the newspaper staff at the Mount Mercy Times. Things are never “smooth” at a campus newspaper, but Mount Mercy would be without something important in its campus life if it didn’t have Brian, Kayla, Bob, Biz, Hannah, Mickenna, Erich, Mellette, Zach, Mallory, Jenny and all of the other students who care enough to create a vibrant campus news media.

Most of all, thank you for the gifts of life, health, family and friends. I don’t know if this prayer is enough, but it feels like plenty.


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