I am grieving for the wounded in our world, especially this week those who are bullied and harassed by others, so much so that they feel as if there is not alternative except to take their own lives. As I grieve, I am impressed and heartened by those who can analyze, recommend and make action plans to turn this viral phenomenon around. And I feel called to pray as I listen for he Spirit’s wisdom to me in my location and beyond:
By my keyboard and screen and daily paper, I sit down and weep, weep when I hear and read these stories of despair come pouring out of the media. How I can I sing and pray the old songs and prayers in this fearful new world?
As I take in the blogs and op-ed pieces of the columnists and critics, I grieve, not only for the irreconcilable differences that create enemies, but for the shrill, judgmental and hateful tones in which these perspectives are delivered.
In the chancels, offices and gathering places of institutions, I cry over the tone-deafness and tunnel vision of those who mete out protocols without attention to person, without mercy, without compassion.
I mourn the failure of the shared life of the faithful to generate those powerful fruits of the Spirit – kindness and gentleness, by which the entire world could be nourished and nurtured.
I lift my lament to you, O God of Compassion and Mercy, in the face of unfathomable motives, of paltry resources, of great inadequacy. Receive the souls of the despairing ones in tenderness and grace, that they would know now that your name is Love, not Judgmental, not Fear. Comfort the bereft, that those who have lost those that they cherish, despite their best efforts to protect and to shelter, that they would sense Holy Presence and comfort in their journey of grieving. Challenge and reorient the perpetrators of hate and insensitivity that they would know their own sacred beloved-ness and its call to do unto the other what they would like to receive. Rain down your Spirit of truth-telling and healing upon our common cultural life, where competition, ridicule and posturing thrive. Change our habits of heart – our speech, our gestures, our expressions, into ones that offer welcome and friendship, instead of scorn and rejection. Stir to response all those who have been bystanders and watched acts of torment and cruelty continue unabated; give them the courage to speak up, to act, to lead others out of going with the powers that harm and hurt, in words, in actions and in attitudes.
O God of Grace and Truth, I pray in particular for those of us whose location has placed us safely out of reach of the vulnerability of childhood or adolescence, of being at the mercy of another’s opinion or punitive action. Teach us how to know, to model, to promote and to be the Peace to which you call us. Teach us when to speak up, when to be silent, when to move, when to sit still, when to wade in and when to walk away. Each of us is a uniquely created person being in the image of the Holy; show us the way to live that, to proclaim that, to draw on that to speak to the pain of each day we live in this world.
In the name of the God who made each of us just the way we are,
and the name of Jesus the Savior who loves us all,
and the Holy Spirit who keep the flame of Love alive within us,