Writing, Reading, and Words

October 2, 2014

Prayer to the Creator

By Sam Hamilton-Poore |


This prayer is from Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation by Sam-Hamilton Poore. Copyright © 2008 by Sam Hamilton-Poore. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.


May 30, 2014

Words That Touch Your Soul – Maya Angelou

By Jill Ridenour |
Maya Angelou

This week we mourn the loss of a literary legend, Maya Angelou. Many of us have special memories of how her words have affected our own lives and our appreciation of poetry. Recently, Maya Angelou honored The Upper Room by writing an endorsement for her friend Lucimarian Roberts’s book My Story, My Song.

To honor Maya Angelou and her hard work of writing in a way that encouraged others in their literary journey, reflect on these words from another writer and poet, Roberta Bondi, as she shares her feelings after her mother’s passing.


I can’t imagine how people get through life without friends.

I couldn’t have survived without them

since the day Mama took a turn for the worse,

or even worse, a turn for the worst.

Theoretically, our souls rest in God

and this is true,

so long as we don’t understand this resting

in terms of being someplace else.

In fact, our souls in pieces rest in our friends

who bear the face of God for us.

I’m pretty sure talk of the image of God

implies something like this:




on into combinations we cannot describe

and can’t recognize when we come upon them.

“But who are my friends?” I ask,

and the answer appears to be obvious.

The ones who love me,

who traveled a long way to be with me

in the face of Mama’s death.

The ones who wrote to me,

the ones who didn’t call when I couldn’t talk,

the ones who tried to call and I couldn’t talk,

the ones who sent cards

whom I barely know.

The ones who sent me love and I knew it,

also the ones who sent me love and I didn’t know it.

There are special friends to whom I bow in gratitude.

But there are also friends I’ve never met and never will,

who bless me by their presence in the universe.

This poem is an excerpt from page 61 of Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude by Roberta Bondi.  Copyright © 2014 by Roberta Bondi. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Available July 2014.
May 29, 2014

Time for Summer Refreshment

By Jill Ridenour |

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer!  This year in addition to freshening up the house or garden, refresh your soul with a book from The Upper Room.

  1.  Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection by Karla Kincannon – Deepen your relationship with God as you discover your creativity. Prepare to have your senses fine-tuned to the Holy in all things.
  2. Becoming Who God Wants You to Be: 60 Meditations for Personal Spiritual Direction by W. Paul Jones – In this refreshing approach to the means of spiritual growth, you will explore self-guided spiritual direction with the ultimate spiritual director – the Holy Spirit.
  3. One Day at a Time: Discovering the Freedom of 12-Step Spirituality by Trevor Hudson – Taking one step at a time, one day at a time, you’ll experience small victories over self-defeating weaknesses that once sabotaged your life and relationships.
  4. The Mindful Manager: The God Factor at Work by Patricia Wilson – Offers tools for self-discovery. It invites managers to explore their core beliefs; their response to change; their approach to conflict management; and their styles of time management, communication, assertiveness, and leadership.
  5. Talk that Matters: 30 Days to Better Relationships by Susan Lee Lind & Ben Campbell Johnson – Includes basic principles that make meaningful talk possible; insights that make communication more effective; ways to recognize differences in people; and how to work through larger issues that call for clear speech.
  6. Transforming Power: Stories from Transformational Leaders for Encouragement and Inspiration edited by Hugh Ballou – A collection of stories from leaders who have lived through personal or institutional upheavals and survived. These accounts demonstrate how big changes affected efforts as diverse as a children’s ministry program to a Hollywood movie.

Upper Room Books invites you to be engaged and inspired by words you read.  Discover a new book to quench your spiritual thirst. Visit the Upper Room Bookstore to order today.

November 4, 2013

Restoring the Temple

By Benoni Silva-Netto |

Benoni R. Silva-Netto is a Professor at Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines and the Associate General Secretary of the General Council on Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Disciplines: A Book of Daily Devotions is a longstanding—and beloved—resource published by Upper Room Books every year. Each week’s readings  reflect on scripture passages in the lectionary for that period.

In 2013 you can not only read these daily devotions but also comment on them, ask the writer a question, and respond to others who are reading the same material each day. We are looking forward to building a community of Disciplines readers! Just sign in and add your comment in the Comments section following the Monday blog post.

Each Monday an introduction and the initial reading for the week will be posted. Come back to this Monday post throughout the week to continue the conversation about the week’s readings and prayers.

Read Haggai 1:15b–2:9

The prophet Haggai encourages the people of God to rebuild the Temple that was destroyed many years earlier. For two decades after the exile and the homecoming, the Jews have planted crops and built homes, but the house of the Lord remains in ruins. People recalled the splendor and glory of Solomon’s temple; how were they to create such an edifice now? Ezra 3 relates the weeping of those who envisioned the previous Temple when compared to the one being rebuilt. Yet the Temple had been a sacred place where people communed with the Holy.

For Haggai, restoring the building seems to be as important an act of worship and faithful obedience as praying or singing praise to God. Worship is essentially intimacy with God. I have experienced such intimacy often in times of solitude, within the cloistered spaces of my consciousness, within the hallowed hall of my soul, within the sacred spaces of my spirit, within the holy corridors of my personal life, within the inner chambers of my solitary existence. But there remains an invitation to meet God also within the temples of worship where we join God’s people in fellowship and worship. This community can light the spark of passion and faith within me.

People from across different cultures worship in different kinds of places: within magnificent cathedrals in Europe or the U.S., or within thatched huts and mud-bricked buildings in Africa, or within the bamboo and coconut buildings in rural Philippines. Many places represent the feeble attempts of God’s people to respond to the call to build or rebuild God’s Temple.

O God, grant that your invitation to meet you in the sacred places and intimate spaces of our lives continues to be compelling and immensely irresistible. Amen.

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