Lament

Answer us, we dare pray,
O God of our groaning.

Reclaim what has been cast away,
O God of our weariness.

Seek out the pieces of our hearts,
lest they be scattered by the wind.

In your goodness, let there be a light
to keep us company as we cry.

In your mercy, let there be a hope
to draw water for our dry spirits.

In your love, let there be a word
to whisper us back into life.

Until the days of our delight
outweigh the days of our distress;

Until the season of evil
fades in the eternity of justice;

Until our tongues are loosed
from the dust of death.

Let there be a light,
let there be a hope,
let there be a word.

Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Laying It Down

It is too much, O God, even on the good days:
too much to hold love and imagination,
too much to hold injustice and despair.
Will you hold us?
Will you hold it all
so that we can lay down
everything we believed ourselves able to carry?

Yours is time, O God our Call and our Creator.
Yours our birth and
yours our death.
Yours our struggle and
yours our seasons.

Yours is every breath, O God our Strength and our Rest.
Yours our bones and
yours our flesh.
Yours our labor and
yours our wonder.

Yours is vindication, O God our Hope and our Law.
Yours our suffering and
yours our testimony.
Yours our cursing and
yours our song.

It is too much, O God, because we are not god.
This life needs love and imagination
to face the injustice and despair.
Will you hold us?
Will you hold it all
so that we can lay down
everything we believed ourselves able to carry?

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

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