For Womxn

Have mercy on our tears, O God,
for we have wept ever since
Hagar’s heart broke over Ishmael
and Rachel lamented her children.

If we have won your favor,
let our tears nourish protest.

Have mercy on our rage, O God,
for we have said “no” to death
since the days of Shiphrah and Puah
and the days of Vashti and Esther.

If we have won your favor,
let our rage be a fire.

Have mercy on our pain, O God,
for we have been torn apart
by the Jephthahs of the world and
targeted systematically by men like Haman.

If we have won your favor,
let our pain be vindicated with justice.

Cut off the hands that have hit us;
remove the feet that have tripped us;
tear out the eyes that have degraded us.

And when they have been our hands, our feet, our eyes,
that have violated and harmed a sister or a sibling,
forgive and correct us. Take our brokenness
and from it bring about reparation.

These are our tears, O God, our rage, and our pain —
a swollen stream that floods our lives.
Give us power in your name
to buoy one another in hope so that
none might drown but the demons that seek to discard us.

We pray in the power of your name. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Interrupting Power

“When King Ahasuerus was merry with wine, he commanded Queen Vashti to appear before him, in order to show the peoples and the officials her beauty—for she was fair to behold. But Queen Vashti refused.” – Esther 1:10-12

During the 180 days of King Ahasuerus’ big bash, Queen Vashti was throwing her own party. While he wined and dined the officials, ministers, governors, generals, and nobles of the Persian Empire—from India to Ethiopia—Queen Vashti hosted a banquet for their wives, mistresses, baronesses, countesses, and noble women.

For 180 days, the international assembly of women ate and drank, rested and played, and politicked. In the midst of it all, Queen Vashti was the gracious diplomat … until the king interrupted with a command: “Stop what you’re doing, and come look pretty for these drunk men.”

An interruption of her work.

A reduction of her diplomatic authority.

A power play against her bodily autonomy.

This is what power is. This is what power does. It interrupts and asserts its own agenda. “Come entertain us. Come work to make our lives easier. Stay quiet so we won’t feel challenged. Comply with our expectations so we can show you off.”

Queen Vashti assessed the king’s interruption, his power, and used her own: “No.”

It was an interruption like a scream made public 35 years after it was stifled.

Power is interruption: Violence interrupting life. Protest interrupting injustice. Silence interrupting healing. Hashtags interrupting lies. We all interrupt and are interrupted, with assorted and rarely pure agendas, although not with equal systemic power and impact.

But one Power interrupts us all. The holy and eternal Interrupter persists in disruption: asserting breath in the midst of chaos, interjecting promise in the midst of floods, providing welcome in the midst of hostility, interrupting injustice for the cause of life.

God grant me the wisdom to recognize my power and to interrupt for the sake of your reign.

written for the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional

 

Praying against Poison

Do not speak to me of healing
if you’ve not been poisoned by a snake.

Do not apologize to me for your sins
if you’re not prepared to mend the damage.

Do not sing to me of victory
if you’re sending others into battle.

Do not speak to me in flattery
if you’ve been troubling peace.

Do not preach to me of salvation
if you’ve piled upon my stumbling blocks.

Do not call me to imitate your wisdom
if you’ve not known the delight of foolishness.

Healing God,
make from the poison an antidote,
and from brokenness, build something new.

Peacemaking God,
grant in conflict the clarity to disarm,
and in chaos, anchor the heart firmly in love.

Saving God,
lift from catastrophe a story of witness,
and from presumption, rescue joy and wonder.

a prayer on the Revised Common Lectionary texts