34 poems and prayers on love, spirit, and the extraordinary significance of daily life. In her signature elegant verse, Barbara Pescan helps us step out of our routine existence and reflect on that which matters most. Whether musing about February weather, Memorial Day, or the meaning of a blessing, she distills her many years of ministry into a timeless, lyrical wisdom.
Back by popular demand, this classic UUA Meditation Manual from 1999 returns to print. Ideal for both personal reflection and public worship.
We spend so much time running from ourselves
fleeing from what we know
about the goodness in our hearts
we think we can escape
the intelligence of our loving.
you are standing before a bodhisattva—
Jesus, Buddha, the first mother
it does not matter what you call the holy one—
he has dust on his shoes
chaff clings to her
the smells of being alive—
Shining from their faces is the beam of
all their questions
the compassion of their living
Can you see yourself through those eyes?
Can we know each other like this?
(We, who no longer believe in messiahs
can hardly believe in each other.)
know ourselves seen
and know each other this same way
until our restless hearts
learn to abide
in this knowing and this love?
Can we live in this gaze of blessing?
Often we are found in our grief and comforted
calmed by some kindness
brought alive again by beauty
that catches us undefended.
Even when the sun is most thin and far
even at the hour the storm is at its height
we can go through
renewal nests within sorrow
love abides, even beyond anger, beyond death.
We are held in an embrace invisible but infinite
moving with all creation
between wholeness and fragmentation
moving always toward the one.
Small joys and great sorrows pass
and we, with steps uncertain, move on
to whatever is next
but continually seen, heard, held
by Life infinite and remote, intimate and abiding.
Love, do not let us go.   Amen.
"I brought Morning Watch with me to a café and began to read. The very first poem I turned to moved me to tears. The man at the next table asked me if something was wrong. No, I said, everything was right, but I was very affected by a friend's poem. He asked if he could read it—soon this complete stranger also began to weep. This is a numinous book that makes the English language sing like it ought to."
—Mark Belletini, minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio
"Barbara Pescan's poems touch deeply and sing with earth-life. Her work gives voice to religious community."
—Carol Hepokoski, minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester, Minnesota
"Whenever my heart needs to be opened wider, my spirit needs nurturing, and my heart needs calming, I find myself returning again and again to Morning Watch. Barbara Pescan's meditations and poetry are a balm to the soul. Gracefully written, insightful, and profound, they reflect a rich and deep inner life, and help us affirm that in our vulnerability lies our strength."
—Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Bethesda, MD
"I return to this book often and would recommend it to everyone. Unitarian Universalists, liberal Christians, engaged Buddhists, practitioners of nature religion, scientists, humanists, skeptics, poets, and artists will all find a place for themselves within the pages of Barbara's writing. With the skill of a poet and the mindfulness of a minister, Barbara invites us to join her in naming the sacred and responding in compassionate practice. Every time I read these meditations, the world around me brightens with possibility."
—Jeremy Rutledge, senior minister, Circular Congregational Church (UCC)