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

Homeless

Jesus sits in a coffee shop now that the weather has turned cold. Third table from the entrance, near a window. She dozes in the early morning over a large red cup of coffee. Wrapped around her shoulders is a thick plum blanket to shake off the night’s chill. Wrapped around her hair is a beautiful red scarf patterned with gold leaves and berries. A gray hard shell suitcase is tucked under the counter nearby, miles on its wheels. No one disturbs Jesus as she sleeps, and I think that’s the most basic gesture of dignity: to give someone space, to acknowledge that they have space, need space, occupy space and breath and life. She rests, and no one says “You can’t be here.” Occasionally when I come into the shop for my morning caffeine, Jesus isn’t dozing but is watching something funny on her phone or smiling with the baristas. I don’t think any of us could survive this life without a few moments of joy, and probably Jesus needs joy even more than the rest of us, especially during the winter. As I wait in line for my own cup of joy, I wonder about the little things, like how long it’s been since Jesus had the opportunity to have her hair done, to unwrap the scarf and let her scalp be scrubbed, to relax as deft hands pull with understanding at the knots before weaving their life together again with oil. I wonder when Jesus last had the chance to stretch out, to sleep somewhere where she didn’t have to keep one ear awake to her environment. But I haven’t even met Jesus’ eye yet to say hello or introduce myself, so it seems inappropriate to speculate. The line of customers shifts forward, and I give my appreciation to the baristas who in turn I know are giving hospitality to Jesus.

She

Praying for the woman who is wandering,
that she might know every footstep
is still within your care.

Praying for the woman who is choking back tears,
that she might not be afraid of her memories
…or of her hopes.

Praying for the woman who is working relentlessly,
that she might be gentle with herself in defiance
of the world’s burdens.

Praying for the woman who is holding life together,
that she might finally believe in an Incarnate Life
without bandages and duct tape.

 

Advent 12/17/12

Sing us a lullaby, Rachel, the kind of lullaby

that you’ve been singing across a lifetime:

a tune to calm the grieving mothers’ tears,

a melody with the strength to wing comfort

to the souls of children interrupted by violence.

 

Sing us a lullaby, Mary, a heart-rending psalm

that leans on God’s faithfulness in the midst of

unpredictable life, in the midst of troubled days;

one like the psalm you sang over Jesus because

who knows how the world will receive any child

as he grows. Sing a swaddling lullaby of blessing.

 

Sing us a lullaby, Hannah, to tune our hearts

to such a faith in the Holy One that we release

our lives and loves and wounds to the One,

to the Great Keeper who can hold this life

more securely than we ever could, who can

make of this life, of our loves, of our wounds

a song of exultation to complete every lullaby.

 

Teach us your song of exultation, Miriam,

you who witnessed generations of children

impoverished, beaten, tormented and slain.

Sing your song for us once, and then again,

until we catch on to its tune and harmonies

intricately woven between lament and promise.

We long to pick up our weary feet to dance and

to sing with faith, “The LORD saves and restores.”