Blood of truth


Spring cleaning for retired teachers involves a lot of paperwork.  My files are stacked knee-deep in the attic, and every day I ascend to this upper room with hopes of reducing the paper weight.  It’s such slow going I consider opening the windows and pitching whole boxes into the recycling bin 2 floors below.

A wise pastor’s wife, Donna Light, once gave me good advice that I’ve failed to follow. “If you move a box three times and don’t open it, don’t open it! Give it away.”

My curiosity gets the better of me. I’ll quickly scan and then discard, I say. What actually happens is I drown in inky memories, pulled under by a textual undertow. I’m swept away in the outgoing  jtide of scribblings and scraps, undated prayers and forgettable sermons. Beached at the end of the day, I descend, with little to show to the trash keepers.

Here’s one undated prayer of thanksgiving that floats on today’s surface. It’s based on my reading of the prayer-book of Serapion of Thmuis, a 4th century Egyptian bishop. It was assigned during my graduate days at Drew.

This prayer over a cup filled with the blood of truth offered as medicine for sin imprinted on my memory, and resurfaced years later in a communion prayer.

The blood of truth. Medicine for sin, not for censure or reproach.

I still need this. Back it goes in the files and out to whoever else may need its blessing.


Holy and blessed is the mighty savior

You raised up for us,

Jesus, Mary’s child,

who opens the way of salvation,

and leads us home.

Healing the sick, feeding the hungry,

defending the defenseless,

Christ crosses boundaries

teaching us how to live and forgive.

By the mystery of his incarnation, death, and resurrection

Christ is with us at Table, in Word, and by the Spirit

as we proclaim the mystery of love and faith…

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

God of compassion,

let your holy Word come upon this bread and cup

that it may become the blood of Truth;

and may all who communicate

receive this medicine for life

for the healing of every sickness,

for the strengthening of all virtue,

not for censure or reproach.

We invoke You, the uncreated,

through the Only-begotten, in the Holy Spirit.

I stretch out a hand and pray that your hand of Truth

may be stretched out

and blessing given to this people

for the sake of your loving kindness.

God of compassion and mystery,

may your hand of piety and power,

sound discipline and all holiness bless us,

and continually preserve us to perfection

through your only-begotten Jesus Christ,

in the Holy Spirit, both now and to all ages of ages. Amen.  [i]

Now with the confidence of the forgiven, let us sing.


[i] Based on the Euchologion of Serapion