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Let us pray.
God of every emotion, who took up human residence to reveal the fullest expression of our created intent…
We confess that regardless of the calamity, our learned response often goes unchanged: “I’m fine. No, really, I’m just fine.” Misdirecting the truth by feigning the movements of being unmoved, we are far more practiced in Southern pleasantries- the polite need to never be unkept or undone or unhinged.
Lord, be present with our pain, incline your ear to our cries, and give us the courage to fall apart.
No longer ignoring the Cannon, remind us that the Hebrew Bible has an entire book dedicated to mourning Jerusalem’s demolition; the poetry of Psalms is largely a spiritual journal of holy complaint; the Gospels refuse to gloss over the torturous end, the nailed but still outstretched reach of the Christ grasping at every agony to make it his own.
Lord, be present with our pain, incline your ear to our cries, and embolden us to believe the faith we proclaim.
Confronted with daily crucifixions- the absence of intelligible leadership, unprotected frontline responders, laid off minimum wage workers, doctors forced into harrowing decisions, safety nets frayed even further, a prowling virus preying on our predisposition for relationship- we are confronted with a choice: recite a platitude and join the chorus of glib praise, or engage in the one emotion most unpracticed?
Lord, be present with our pain, incline your ear to our cries, and surrender us over to ourselves.
The weighted restriction in our chests, the grinding in our guts, the clenching in our throats doesn’t require laying on the exam table but rather collapsing at the altar table. That stuck feeling is our God-given body’s directive to engage the angst we’ve been avoiding, to hold space for helplessness, to allow for the tears that overwhelm. Even though most of us have no idea how to grieve, this is the moment to learn.
Lord, be present with our pain, incline your ear to our cries, and let us trust the wisdom of our flesh.
Certain that our ministries are needed now more than ever, we are called, as stewards of lament, not to be just fine but to the fullness of our emotions, to locate amidst the suffering that surrounds us and is within us, to follow the one who wept at the graveside of his best friend, who bowed his head in sorrow at the destruction of disease, who bled so that we could too.
Lord, be present with our pain, incline your ear to our cries, and let us continue to pray as Jesus taught us saying…
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come. thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.