I am usually one who has no shortage of words. I very rarely find myself in the position of wondering what I am going to write for my next blog. Routinely, I publish one blog on Thursday morning and the next blog begins to form in my head and heart by Friday. By the time I actually sit down to write the blog on Wednesday I have been mulling over the theme for five days. I think the rhythm of weekly preaching for over twenty years never left me.
This week it was different. I had written one blog that held a mirror up to us regarding our structural racism and bias in the church. But given the fact that this is the last blog you will see before the coming election, it just didn’t feel right (even though I felt like I had something important to say). The energy of the blog felt like it wasn’t in tune with the energy of our congregations and community in this particular moment. I wrestled and wrestled with what to say at this critical moment. Nothing felt right. In the end, I was forced to write what probably should have been my starting point in the first place. I had no words or message for you. All I had was a prayer.
Today, five days before the election this is my pre-election prayer. I offer it to you as my gift and my hope.
I seem to be coming to you with no words. I am not sure what I am asking for or what I should be asking for. At moments I feel completely stymied by the overwhelming series of events that continue to flood our nation. The sheer scope of it leaves me paralyzed, unsure of which way to act and which crisis to attend to first. At times, O God, a helplessness so uncharacteristic of me seems to seep into my bones. I am not a person given in to inaction and complacency, but at moments, I feel like I am frozen in my tracks.
I have no words, God. I want to offer some hopeful message. I want to provide some wise analysis of this chaotic and uncertain time. I want to be able to make sense of it all for others, playing the role of the spiritual guide and soulful companion that I have become accustomed to. I want to say, “We’ve got this folks! All we’ve got to do is work a little harder and hang on a little longer.” But I don’t know that. I no longer trust that the answer is just that we’ve got to work a little harder and hang on a little longer.
And so, O God, I have no words. All I have is my broken, fearful self reaching out to you in honest desperation. I wished I had more. I am used to coming to you with my well-laid out plans. I am used to asking you for guidance as I lay out my next set of goals. I am used to telling you what good I plan to do in the world and then asking for your blessing. I am not used to coming to you broken, paralyzed and at a loss for words. I am not used to having to rely solely on faith and trust.
I have no words, God. But I do have some hope. It’s not a hope based on a picture of a future I can see. It’s a hope rooted in the belief that there is an essential goodness to the world. I guess my hope is in you, you who sit there ready to listen when we are ready to show up.
I have no wise words for the world today. But, I do have a prayer.
- I pray that you will give us what we need for the world that awaits us Wednesday morning.
- I pray that no matter what happens in this election that we will not turn on each other.
- I pray that the anger and rage of our recent history will find its way into paths of healing.
- I pray that your justice will undergird our actions and our communities.
- I pray that love will heal us and if we cannot love then we will at least set aside our hate.
- I pray that you give us the strength to do the long, hard work of reconciliation.
- I pray that this national nightmare that has divided our nation will finally end.
- I pray that grace will win out over vengeance.
- I pray that however we move through this pandemic that we will do it together.
- I pray that hearts will be softened toward each other.
- I pray that suspicion will no longer linger just behind our eyes.
- I pray that we will care as much about what happens to our neighbor as we do about what happens to us.
- I pray for an imagined world of unity and mutual care.
- I pray for life to feel humane again.
- I pray for things that only seem to show up in my dreams.
I pray that our grandchildren will be proud of how we handle this moment.
I really have no words today, O God.
I just have a prayer.
May that be enough.
By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades