I love a liturgy book. A collection of well-written prayers, appropriate to their season, fitting to the circumstances, gives me so much delight – like poetry for my soul. I have a small collection of prayer books and worship books on my shelves for just this reason – to seek and find someone else’s perfect words for a day in Advent, for a communion Sunday, for a week in autumn or a day in the heat of summer. Words that make me feel seen, and understood, and held in God’s grasp.
But this past year, my books more often than not couldn’t answer my need. I was experiencing – we all were – uncharted territory for these liturgists and writers, world events which they could not have fathomed.
And so new prayers had to be written. Some of my favorite theologians started doing this work, sharing prayers for exhausted caretakers, for people overwhelmed by COVID, for those angry about politics or grieved by isolation. Today, I want to join them in their task, and offer a prayer for us: a church in transition, a church dealing with loss and uncertainty, hope and fear. It is a prayer for us.
A Prayer for This Season
Sometimes life is unfathomable.
Sometimes you go from trauma to trauma, from fear to anger to loss and right back again.
Sometimes from a worldwide pandemic, and cycles of lockdown and universal masking and widespread testing, to a glimpse of the end, and then a new variant and right back into it.
And it is exhausting.
We are exhausted.
Nothing, it seems, is untouched by this year.
We, who have been so long apart, who have made those first few steps back into life and fellowship together, find that we aren’t just coming back to what we left.
Our church is changing, and we have questions, and concerns; our feelings are hurt; we want to yell and cry and sometimes we don’t even know what. Some of us have great hope, and some of us deep pain.
Remind us, Lord, that you are in this too.
Help us find our way back to each other. Show us how to listen when we only want to speak. Help us to hear one another’s stories, and to treasure them, even when they challenge or disorient us.
Give us grace and open hands instead of balled-up fists and hard hearts.
Give us wisdom and tender care for each other.
Above all else, God, fill us with your love, so there is no room for anything less.
Strengthen us in faith and in hope and in love.
Surround us in your peace, even when there is tumult within.
Promise us that the sun will keep rising and you will meet us there.