Fresh Greenbean Blogs?

A Prayer For The First Day Of School In The Age Of COVID

Today, 19 August 2020, is the first day of school for our local school district. Ours is not alone, as public, private, and home schools are beginning. It feels to me like a trembling time for prayer. And so I pray:


Dear Lord God, I first make the normal prayers about our children and their educators. I pray they learn the lessons they need in order to be productive members of society who fulfill the best purposes and plans for life. I pray their curiosity will grow; their hunger for knowledge will burn, and they will master the principles of successfully navigating adulthood. I pray you protect them from those who would do harm: abusers, the violent, the emotionally debilitating, and bullies. Lord, please let us have a year without school shootings. Please.

I pray for teachers to experience fulfillment in their noble calling. I ask for relationships with parents to be edifying, partnership oriented, and beneficial for everyone. I pray for bus drivers, nutrition experts, nurses, counselors, and those who make sure the swings are safe and the toilets stay unclogged to be joyful in labor and appreciated, both in word and in reward, for all they do.

I ask that the administrators, those who make policy and decisions, will be wise and generationally motivated by their decisions.

These are our children, Oh Lord. These are the ones upon whom we heap up our hopes. Protect and nourish them in their intellect, in their body and care, and in their spiritual awareness. May kindergarteners color outside the lines, may junior high students dream of being astronauts and presidents, and may all high school seniors experience the fullness of youth and the desire for the future.

Great Almighty God, we do not live in normal times. You know this full well, and for reasons beyond our understanding, you have chosen us as the adults right now to make decisions in the middle of a pandemic. Help us to not be foolish.

I pray you keep our children, teachers, and all those who work through the school free of COVID-19. Let it not darken the door of our schools and homes. Let us be on the downside of this disease as it wanes never to return.

Even as I pray this, Oh Lord, I know you can do this, but I also know it is more likely we are challenged by a longer ordeal than we want. This seems to be the nature of growth and life. So in that context, I pray you give those making decisions insight in how to minimize the effects and spread to keep as many safe as possible. And I do ask that if the disease does continue to shrink we will be able to joyfully reopen all avenues of our life — football games, sold out musicals, and young love holding hands (only holding hands!) in the hallways.

Yet, it might turn worse. We acknowledge this. So we ask if it does, you lead those people we trust with so much of our future, the superintendents, the principals, the politicians, to make swift decisions to protect if we need to send kids home and shelter longer on-line and at home. Let us be wise and not sacrifice the future for the moment. Let no child die, let no teacher die, let no lunch lady die, Precious Lord, because we were too impatient about getting on with life and meetings and mammon.

We do not know how this will work. None of us do. We do know that you are the Lord and this is not the first time disease has played a heavy hand in humanity. Allow us grace toward one another. Remove the enemy’s divisive tone and hateful anger that has caused us to distrust one another. Please work in and through us to bring unity, and I pray you use those of us who call you Lord in such work that we may be a Balm of Gilead to a sick world, a world sick with more than C19, but sick with the sin of pettiness.

Jesus, my heart is heavy. I am hopeful and horrified at the same time. And I am not alone. We need you to heal us. Holy Spirit, we are desperate for illumination and guidance. Father, we plead for your strength. Amen.

Playing in the Kitchen

Last night I made something new.

Okay, it was actually very old. Very, very old.

I made this recipe I found in Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), which is my favorite magazine. The recipe comes from Babylonian tablets originating in ancient Mesopotamia. I’m guessing that means the recipe is at least 2,500 years old.

It is pretty simple to make. I cut up the bunch of leaks and sautéed them in olive oil with some fresh chopped garlic — about four cloves. Just for grins, I put some powdered garlic in as well. I let them cook down for about ten minutes, which is longer than the recipe in the magazine suggested, but I found after four minutes my leeks were still a little firm. I put in plenty of pepper and kosher salt.

When they had cooked down a bit, I added the cilantro and let that simmer, then I added four cups of vegetable stock. Twenty minutes of simmer, and I topped it with a generous double handful of sourdough bread cut into tiny pieces.

I serve it to my family, and they all really liked it. It was far tastier than I had envisioned. When I make it in the future, I will add an onion to the leeks when I cook them down. Carrots, I think, would be good in here too. If you want meat, chicken stock would work well, but I can see in my mind beef, making it almost like pho without the noodles.

I found the name of the stew. The Babylonians called it ‘unwinding’ to refer to what the bread does when it hits the soup — expand and get soggy. It is an interesting way to describe the action. This is a good lesson in the way the ancients used words and, how I might better understand the way I apply the word ‘unwind’ to my own actions. I unwind when I release the tension holding everything tight.

Try it, you might like this old Babylonian stew. I will eat it again.

The Savage in the Blue Button-Down

Rob Cely is the resident allegory maker for our little guild. Elkins is all Mayhem and Kexel is sweet do-gooder. Cely can spin an allegory or weave a myth with only a couple of adjectives and a gerund.

His Wednesday Free Fiction tale today is excellent and makes me want to run through the forest and eat wild fruit. The best line in this story is toward the end, “But he countered it by asking himself why he even cared about the sprinkler, or the lawn.” Good question.

To read Rob’s story “Glory of the Outcast” click on the sprinkler, and feel free to like or share this on your favorite social media platform. We do this all for free, but as with any artist we would like the largest possible audience for our hard work. We’ll be back next week with another Wednesday Free Fiction.

Click the sprinkler head, not the stream of water.
If you click on the stream of water you will wet the bed tonight.

Welcome, to Elkin’s Island

I love this story for many reasons, but one is the deep theological implications imbedded within it.

It made me think about birds. I’ve often wondered, as I listen to grackles swirling in the air around me, if maybe the sound most delightful in the ear of the Lord isn’t birdsong? He has put birds in vast quantity and variety on every part of the globe. I mean, PENGUINS! There is something of our Creator to be understood in the abundant loudness of birdom.

Enjoy Derek Elkin’s story, The Island Purpose by clicking on the grackles.

If you click on the HEB sign, you’ll get a coupon for fried grackle at the deli

Remember, we do this for free because we are writers and this is what we do. Most of us have written books you can buy — such as Derek. Here is a link to a review of one of his books I wrote a while back. I think you’d really love it, too.