Peacemakers’ Prayer: Angel in the Dump

PROFILES OF PEACEMAKERS around the world are featured in one of our most popular ReadTheSpirit Books: Blessed Are the Peacemakers, by the Rev. Daniel Buttry. This theme is so important that it inspires all of our authors, including the Rev. Benjamin Pratt, the author of our Guide for Caregivers who right now is helping caregivers coast to coast in redrawing their stressed-out calendars. (Here is this week’s Part 2 in his Caregivers Calendar series.) Changing seasons—that may be why Benjamin sent us this additional prayerful meditation—sparked by a spiritual convergence of seasons in this recent warm snap.
If you’re moved by the following, you’re free to share it with others …

Angel in the Dump

By the Rev. Benjamin Pratt

Any home gardener knows that an unseasonable warm snap in January will wreak havoc on perennials and spring bulbs. So, I put “Mulch the Beds” on my To Do list and drove to the dump, the best source of fresh mulch in our area. It’s also, in mid January, a green-and-brown monument to the Christmas just past. I am not Catholic, nor was my grandmother, although she always insisted that she once saw the Virgin Mary appear at the foot of her bed. So, I must have a special spiritual eye for glimpses of …
Well, here is a poem I wrote when I returned home after a remarkable, grace-filled moment in that vast dump site.

Like children,
Snowdrops, daffodils and crocuses
Need protection from
January warmth that betrays
A bitter cold to come.
Day after warm day, the sun seduces their
Green tendrils to grow taller.

A trip to the dump for mulch to blanket
naïve thrivers reaps a surprise.
Christmas trees that recently displayed the
Joyous lights celebrating the Nativity
Now are piled like matchsticks awaiting the grinder.
They have no memory of the joy they pretended
Nor the innocence they invoked.

A bright color imbedded in crushed branches lured me to one tree.
Tucked amidst still-fragrant boughs—
Green paper cone scotch-taped for body,
Red rough-cut wings,
White circle for a face—
A handcrafted angel.

And deeper I peered, the crayon words:
Angle Mary protekt us from guns.

A child’s prayer discarded with this tree.
Maybe by mistake?
Snagged in the branches as they went.
Now, an Angel in the Dump,
A plea for all the innocents
Whom we discard from our memories,
From our prayers
So quickly.

I replaced the boughs around her.
Tucked her in.

Echoed the prayer:
Protekt us all from guns.


If these ideas resonate in your life, we invite you to share it with others. Simply credit:
By Dr. Benjamin Pratt and …

Originally published at, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

This article also has been posted into Dr. Pratt’s column at the website for the Day1 radio network.

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