A Pastoral Prayer: Psalm 46

The rich, metaphorical imagery of Psalm 46 invites us to meditate on many of God’s attributes: strength, shelter, tenderness, faithfulness, and compassion.

Oh God, our Refuge and Safe Harbor,
Time and time again, you show up.
You are faithful to your people and to all Creation.

As your beloved ones, we look for you and long for you
in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
The world erupts with anger and grief;
injustice, oppression, and heartache spill over like lava.
We grieve…(offer prayers that reflect the community’s sharing)

God of Grace, we give thanks
for the rivers of joy flowing through our world and lives.
We hear your voice, like the constant flow of a stream, speaking peace;
the earth softens under your tender love.
We celebrate…(offer prayers that reflect the community’s sharing)

Oh God, our Refuge and Safe Harbor,
Time and time again, you show up.
You are faithful to your people and to all Creation.
We offer you these prayers,
in the name of your Beloved Child.  Amen.

The Long Journey

We are in this for the long haul. The COVID-19 pandemic. And the pandemics of white privilege and systemic racism. Neither will be cured with a single vaccine.

Then there are all of the other pandemics.

Climate Change. Patriarchy. Homophobia. The corrupt and dehumanizing U.S. immigration system. The prison industrial complex. The military industrial complex. Poverty.

The list could go on.  It is, in a word, overwhelming.

In these moments, we are called to two things: first, to listen to the voices of those oppressed, follow their lead, and support them wholeheartedly, even if it costs us. 

And second, to live faithful to our call as beloved children of God.  Fredrick Buechner famously wrote: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

(Notice he didn’t add “and all the places the world is hungry.”)

In your life’s journey, what are you being called to do in this moment? Because there are many good paths to tread, and we need all of our giftedness in this walk toward justice.

None of us has to do it all.
We don’t have to do anything perfectly.
We will make mistakes.
And we must keep walking.

To paraphrase Luke 10:41, ”Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.”  What is yours to do?

And then … as discerners and practitioners of God’s shalom, we come together to reflect and discern in community—a cycle of action and reflection.

What is the one thing needed that is yours to do?

Image: Oyster mushrooms, Ice Age Trail Montrose Segment, Valerie Showalter, 2020.