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This week’s Words of Connection is dedicated to friendship, and friends. As Albert Camus said…Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. As the probability of encountering even more limitations in our lives looms ever greater, we think more and more about the importance of friends and friendship. Never has it been so important to have friends, and enjoy the gifts they bring.
A couple of weeks back we witnessed the power of friendship at its most inspiring in an IFCG on-line meeting – Fostering Friendship, held on the third Wednesday of the month, a moment when people of all faiths and none simply chatted about shared ideas and experiences. A week later our monthly Prayer Hour – now held on the last Thursday of the month created a powerful moment of spiritual awareness as members and friends joined together in a sacred moment of sharing.
We open this week’s Words of Connection with two simple and lovely prayers by Marianne Williamson, author, spiritual leader, politician, and activist. She stood as an inspirational but sadly overlooked candidate for the US Presidency… Marianne is followed by the Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gilbran, and his view on friendship. After this we have two more prayers – a traditional Irish Celtic prayer and a Jamaican prayer, written for the Women’s Day of Prayer. We close with John O’Donohue’s blessing For Lost Friends. Once more, thank you for your interest in Words of Connection.
Stay well at this troubled time, very best wishes,
With this prayer, I call to mind my friends.
I ask for your blessing on them.
May angels fill their nights and bless their days.
May they find joy and peace and harmony.
May I be a source of happiness in their lives.
May our bonds be strong and based on truth.
May they always know that in me, they have support.
May I live a life that lives up to this prayer.
Thank you, God.
A Prayer Between Friends
We surrender this relationship to you.
May it serve your purposes and be blessed by You always.
Fill our minds with Your thoughts.
May we always be led to the highest vision of each other.
Remove any obstruction to our highest love.
Thank you very much.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
And a youth said, Speak to us of
And he answered, saying:
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery us not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Traditional Celtic Prayer
I saw a stranger today.
I put food for him in the eating place.
and drink in the drinking place
and music in listening place
In the Holy Name of the Trinity
he blessed myself and my house,
my goods and my family.
And the lark said in her warble:
Often, often, often,
Goes Christ in the stranger’s guise
Oh, often, often, often
Goes Christ in the stranger’s guise
Prayer for Women’s World Day of Prayer, Jamaica
Show us where there is loneliness,
That we may take friendship.
Show us where individuals are not seen as persons,
That we may acknowledge their identity.
Show us where there is alienation,
That we may know reconciliation.
FOR LOST FRIENDS
John O’Donohue (1956-2008)
As twilight makes a rainbow robe
From the concealed colours of day
In order for time to stay alive
Within the dark weight of night,
We may lose no one we love
From the shelter of our hearts.
When we love another heart
And allow it to love us;
We journey deep below time
Into that eternal weave
Where nothing unravels.
May we have the grace to see
Despite the hurt of rupture,
The searing of anger
And the empty disappointment,
That whoever we have loved,
Such love can never quench.
Though a door may have
Closed between us,
May we be able to view
Our lost friends with eyes
Wise with calming grace;
Forgive them the damage
We were left to inherit,
Free ourselves from the chains
Of forlorn resentment;
Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to
Celebrate the gifts they brought,
Learn and grow from the pain
And prosper into difference
Wishing them the peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space.