The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

A New Project: St. Stephen’s Prayerbook March 10, 2008

Filed under: books,storying — Joel @ 7:54 pm

hello all,             For the past 2 months, Matt Frise and I have begun our thoughts and workings upon a new project:  the St. Stephen’s Prayerbook (in lieu of a better title).  We are trying to pull together the unique offerings of our scattered and present community in a collection which could be used by those who know us and those who don’t.  It’ll include daily readings, prayers, liturgies, resources for social justice, art, biblical criticism, celtic spirituality, life in community, and the Mothers and Fathers of the Church; fun shtuff.  I’ll put down an unedited part of the introduction for your enjoyment.  I’d love to hear thoughts as well (though remember this is just a part of the intro). 

“The water that flows in rivers and tributaries in our town and the outlying countryside is what one might call “extremely tidal.”  In fact, the Bay of Fundy, the body of water which feeds these streams and inlets, has numerous signs and brochures which herald it as having “the highest tides in the world.”  This means that at 10 o’clock in the morning I may look out my office window and see the St. Croix River as a large gauntlet of mud; six hours later I may look out the same window to find the channel filled to the brim and careening ultimately towards the Atlantic.

            I share this with you because the prayers, stories, and incarnational entry points found within this collection were born and found in a similar rhythm.  Rhythms of fullness and emptiness, rhythms of many people living together, excitedly, tumultuously and rhythms of few people enjoying the sun of summer as well as the lonliness of an empty building.  There are the rhythms of grief, of miscommunication and the rhythms of connectedness, of belonging and being understood.  There is the rhythm of the deep inner experience of God dwelling in the cell of our hearts and that of the God who calls us ever out to the risk of sacrificial love in a world ruled by self-interest.

            So we who share with you the fruit of our lives, are dizzy.  We are rocked back and forth, adjusting our stance to today’s tide.  Sometimes we have succeeded in this and other times we have failed, tripping over our own feet or sending others off theirs; sometimes we have even fallen out of the boat entirely and splashed down into the water.

            But we share this because we hope to believe that we are a little better at balancing then when we first began and that perhaps our journey will help both us and you find new rhythms on the sea, putting one foot (or paddle) in front of the other with God and with each other.

            We are hoping to open up channels of conversation, not write the book on love.  This collection was not created to speak the final word on anything but simply to be many entry points by which we might together enter that great and wonderful presence which is so small and yet so big that our hearts may explode and miss it all at the same time. 

Pray with me,

            O Lord, My Boat is So Small and the Sea is So Great



12 Responses to “A New Project: St. Stephen’s Prayerbook”

  1. Matt Wiebe Says:

    Sounds great lads.

  2. Al Mason Says:

    Your Grandfather has sung (and taught) a song for years . . .

    My boat is so little – the ocean so wide
    But Jesus is holding my hand
    When he is my pilot it all goes so well
    on the way to the heavenly land
    When he is my pilot it all goes so well
    on the way to the heavenly land

    • Emily Says:

      My Grandpa and my Father sang that song in English and Swedish! What beautiful memories. Do you Know where to find the Swedish version?

  3. Heidi Renee Says:

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to hold it in my hands!!

  4. masonmusic Says:

    cool, thanks dad, i wasn’t sure of the whole quote nor the source. any idea?

    • samcclure Says:

      Joel!!! We’ve found you! Do you have facebook? how can i reach you (this is tacky but i don’t know how else to go about it) this is sarah mcclure…

  5. Mike Harris Says:

    A quick look online seems to say that the quote comes from something called the Prayer of the Breton Fisherman. JFK also had this quote on a plaque in the Oval Office: “O, God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.” The plaque was given to President Kennedy by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover (so says Wikipedia).

    I love the introduction you have here, Joel. Please give us more as it comes along.

  6. R.O. Flyer Says:

    Looks good Joel.

  7. Al Mason Says:

    “My Boat is So Small” – By Marnie Parrish-Siggelkow

    “Dear Lord be good to me
    the sea is so wide
    and my boat is so small”

    Irish Fisherman’s Prayer

    “and I saw a river
    over which every soul must pass
    to reach the kingdom of heaven
    and the name of that river was ‘suffering’ . . .
    And then I saw a boat
    Which carries souls across the the river
    And the name of the boat was ‘love’

    St. John of the Cross, 1542 – 1591

  8. joel mason Says:

    thanks dad, for the image link too, so good. i think we might work marnie’s painting in some how. i’m working triple time this weekend because i have put for myself the deadline of this sunday night for the completion of the prayerbook, “o dear Lord be good to me!”

  9. […] this year in our community, one of things we are doing is shared daily readings from our upcoming Prayer Book.  Both the St. Croix Vineyard and St. Stephen’s University will be taking part.  We want to […]

  10. John Burbank Says:

    Several years late but I found the Swedish words and melody at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s