Note: This post was originally set to run last week, but I wimped out. “It’s not the right forum,” I thought. “It’s a little too political.” But since I set being more vulnerable as one of my goals for 2018, I decided this prayer was a place to start. And while my focus on this blog will continue to be on clergy and congregational well-being, there’s no denying that the gospel we root our ministry in is, in fact, political.
Wow. I thought 2016 was terrible,
but then 2017 said,
“Heh. Watch this!”
All manner of natural disasters destroyed human lives and whole communities and economies.
White supremacy showed itself as bold as it’s ever been, maybe more so.
Our country crept closer to nuclear war, tweet by tweet.
We realized that sexual harassment and assault are even more epidemic than we realized.
The people we elected to work on our behalf tried to rip healthcare away from the most vulnerable and passed a tax plan that will concentrate even more wealth among those who already have plenty.
People had new laws, new insults, new dangers heaped upon them based on their sexual and/or gender identities.
Civil dialogue and bipartisan cooperation appeared to take their last breaths.
We turned away refugees fleeing danger and prepared to send “home” people who have only known this country.
We demonized people based on our shallow understanding of their religious faith.
We ignored science and continued using up the earth and her resources like toilet paper.
We (I) got frustrated with people who didn’t share our ideals and cut them out of our lives.
We (I) appalled ourselves with some of the thoughts we (I) had about these same people, fellow children of God.
That’s a lot of suckage, and it doesn’t even touch the personal traumas we all endured.
I made some new friends this year, people I would never have met if we weren’t knitted together by our concerns for all the crap I just mentioned.
I was shaken out of complacency and compelled and equipped to be a more engaged citizen.
I was forced to take a deep look at my own internalized bigotry and to chip away at it through listening, learning, and interaction.
I stopped holding my cards so close to my vest.
I heeded a bigger, bolder call to discipleship.
I became a lot more dependent on my prayer life.
I noted old, dysfunctional systems and beliefs beginning to crumble around me.
I witnessed the power of women at work.
I saw evil get dragged into the light of day again and again, where it could be defanged.
I spotted God-glimmers in places I least expected them and often when I was at my lowest.
I laughed a lot, delighted in my loved ones and in my work, and felt gratitude for all that I have.
I was reminded that humankind partners with you to bring about justice and peace here and now.
I was, at the same time, shown anew that our ultimate hope is in you.
Whose presence is constant.
Whose love is abiding.
Whose preference is for those on the margins.
Whose promises are sure.
And so, I believe that 2018 will be better, even if it’s worse.
As we begin it,
I pray that you would give us daily bread as fuel,
and wisdom to know how best to embody your care,
and fierceness then to do it,
and generosity with all that we have,
and companions for whatever lies ahead,
and heart eyes to see the divine light in others,
and strength with heaping sides of humility and vulnerability,
and rest when it’s needed,
and joy in the midst of it all.
May we – with your help – be your harbingers of hope to a world in desperate need of it as we move about our days.
Dear God, I believe. Help my unbelief.