From Lament as Worship: A Prayer Over Our Hurting Nation
Jesus, you call weary people to come to you.
You bid the heavy laden to find rest in you.
Today, we bring our restless souls to you.
We name the
that rage against us and within us.
Help us to stand in vulnerability
with one another,
Help us to stand in vulnerability
before you, our Savior.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
Lord, from where we stand,
from what we have seen
we feel forgotten,
our world appears abandoned by you:
from a peaceful protest turned violent and murderous in Dallas, Texas,
to a car in St. Paul, Minnesota,
to outside a convenience store
in Baton Rouge,
to protests in all of these cities
to a busy mall in Baghdad,
to an airport in Istanbul,
And outside a US embassy
in Saudi Arabia
to attacks on police in San Antonio, Valdosta, Georgia
and Balwin, Missouri
to homes of lonely, confused and
hurting people in Albuquerque,
those whom you created to bear your image,
have been marred,
and we cry out to you in dismay,
how long, O, Lord?
How long must I take counsel in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
The offenses against your human creatures
seem to increase day-by-day,
yet, we know that there has been
arrayed against humanity for eons,
I also have felt the opposition, pain, injustice.
Sometimes I also have been
a perpetrator of it.
How long must this persist?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes
lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice
because I am shaken.
Our longing for justice must surely mean
that it exists?
Our desire for healing must mean
that it’s possible?
Our need of rest must mean a refuge awaits?
Why would we have an appetite
if only evil were meant to prevail?
You must supply this goodness, O God,
You must show us the culmination
of our longings,
for, if the darkness of what we see,
is all there is,
if darkness is the culmination
of redemptive desire,
we are utterly alone,
those who abuse with violent power
are not enemies,
they are merely winners,
those who long for redemption
are not hopeful,
they are merely fools.
O Lord, give light to our eyes,
respond to our hope
with your redemption.
Yet, I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully
Left to the natural inclinations of our hearts,
we would have looked within ourselves
and would have found nothing trustworthy.
This same steadfast love that we praise,
is the very steadfast love that
redirects our vision
away from ourselves
and onto you as our hope.
Our hope cannot be in ourselves,
but only in you,
In you, is the culmination of our longing.
In your mercy and grace,
you use even our pain
to drive us into the loving
and saving arms
of Jesus Christ.
And, because this Jesus
has received our pain of sin
and given us his rest of salvation,
we can rejoice,
even in sorrow,
May we see the lavishness of your love
And may this move us to be
a people of lavish love
in this world of hate.
O Lord, in your humility and love,
you have invited us to be vulnerable
by becoming vulnerable to us first.
In the life of Jesus Christ,
you have bared your heart
to the pain of this world,
In the cross of Jesus Christ,
you have born the afflictions
of your people,
In the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
you have bestowed real hope of life
to your people.
And, darkness is not the destiny
for your people.