Pastoral Prayer 8/30/2020
Rev. Darcy Crain
One of the prayers I return to time and time again is the cry of “how long O Lord.” Our prophets and ancestors have prayed this mantra for centuries. How long o Lord will you ignore my cry. How long O lord will my enemies continue to pursue me, or in the case of the prophet Habbakuk, how long O lord will we see the evil and injustice before us go unpunished and unchanged. How long O lord.
I was particularly drawn to the prophet Habbakuk this week as I watched in horror, rage, and almost numb sadness the events unfold in Kenosha. Like many of us, I saw the images of Jacob Blake smiling with his sons. That image was taken before these children witnessed what no child should ever witness. We don’t even let children watch films where this level of violence is fictitiously pictured, let alone experience it inches from where it happened in real life. Not the case for the Blake children. They will forever be haunted. They will embody that trauma for a lifetime.
Many of us embody this news through feelings of nausea, anger, numbness. I know I feel all three. We say things like, “i just can’t,” or “when will it ever change,” or “what can we do?” We say things, like “how long o Lord, How long?” And so today in prayer let us embody the horror we feel. Let us not numb ourselves. Through that embodiment will come empowerment. Let us pray:
God do not spare us. Do not spare us the feelings of rage that come to the surface as we read headlines, see graphic videos, view pictures, and hear the same narrative unfold time and time again. Do not spare us, for we may grow complacent, complicit or apathetic. Why O God must this kind of hatred and violence continue? How long until this changes? How, O Lord can you use us as instruments of change? These are our prayers that leave our lips and hearts as we sit in a sense of bewilderment. Hear our prayers. Help us embody all that we feel. Meet us in our complaint and in our pleas. For when we cry to you How long O lord, we are not looking for a timeline, we are needing to lament. Thank you Lord for hearing our cry.
God we pray today for those whose lives have been lost or destroyed in the hurricanes that ripped through our southern states. We see in you work and move through those providing relief, shelter, and funding to help those who are now homeless. Work and move through us as well. In the wake of that hurricane are a collection of broken dreams. You have been rebuilding and reimagining our dreams for centuries; do so once again.
God in the midst of the heavy we are also heavy with gratitude. You have blessed our lives in unimaginable ways; you have helped us dream new dreams, for ourselves and our world. Grant us courage and surround us by faithful community so that we may actualize our dreams together. In Jesus name, Amen.