We added a new family member to our household in August. Her name is Cami and she is a 7-year-old rescue cocker spaniel. Like the dogs in our life that came before her, she looks forward to our neighborhood walks. She loves to be admired by neighbors passing by, she loves to see the kids playing at the playground, and she takes her sweet time sniffing everything. 

Unlike our previous dogs, Cami loves to just stand and stare: at people, houses, birds, parked cars, trees, whatever. At first I felt super awkward just standing and staring in the middle of our walks, but as we’ve been doing this for a couple months now, I’ve added something to our walk, stop, and stare time. I added in praying. 

I don’t know what Cami is thinking when she is staring at our neighbors’ houses, but I’ve been thinking about the families I know in those houses. The elderly man who just came back home after a hospitalization and the adult grandchildren who are taking shifts to care for him. The neighbors who just moved out of their house to downsize and the new couple who moved in during a time when it’s hard to socialize and meet new people. The single man who takes such good care of his rescue dog and always has a friendly wave, even when Cami barks at him. The couple with the new baby, the dad who lost his job, the parents of high schoolers who have lost their motivation for distance learning, the school principal who has been working non-stop to make sure every family in her school has what they need to learn. 

As Cami and I walk, stop, and stare, we (or maybe it’s just me) pray for our neighbors, the ones we know and the ones we don’t. We pray for their daily bread, that they know a bit of peace that day, that they know they are loved. Maybe you take walks in your neighborhood, or walk the halls of your building, or take a drive just to get out. May I suggest that you take the time to pray for your neighbors? Maybe you too could walk, stop, and pray for your neighbors, trusting that God hears our prayers –  no staring necessary. 

In Peace, Pastor Ruth

Community Prayer: (From the Center for Action and Contemplation)
O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. [Please add your own intentions.] . . . Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen.