Prayers of the People September 5, 2021

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Some days God, the world finds a hush: some semblances of silence that tunes our spirit to the divine. Some days there is an infinite noise: planes overhead, birds, too. The voices of those with whom we spend our lives. The noise of news, neighbors, intention, and introspection. None can drown out the everywhere of God. For, found equally within the muted day or chattering night is a blueprint of the sacred, a map to the one in whom we live and move and have our being. May we find that sacred center now.

We need you because some days we are worn through. We want to notice the tomatoes, ripe and ready, the grasshopper, poised, the spider, wrapping another meal, weaving another web.

We want to stand in gratitude, watching the wind in the grey clouds, the surging waves on the beach. Beauty all around us.

We want our bodies to pulse with the presence of your spirit. And sometimes we do.

But more often than not we worry: the high blood pressure and pulse of pain in our loved one’s body preoccupies us. Our minds fill with the refugee, resettling, a vast Afghan diaspora leaving twenty year olds on the far side of a twenty year war, the only life they’ve known.

We want to spiral into the warm embrace of your love, but we are distracted by the levees, the warming ocean, the flood insurance, the heat wave, the families digging out after a muscular hurricane, equally expected and uninvited.

Let us live in both places—worry and the warmth of your love.

Let us hand over our burdens to you, knowing that the exhaustion of our worry will not prepare us to serve, will not energize us to help, will not move us. Carry us so that we might be hands and feet in the world. Call us to the work of love.

Where there is gnawing ache, let us love.
Where there is numbing pain, let us love.
Where there is burning hope, let us love.

Pacing is not enough. Doom scrolling is not enough. The cacophony of newsfeeds only agitates us.

Recalibrate our hearts and minds to the sound of love, so that we might be called up and out of lackluster response and into a modest, humble embodied walk with you.

God you are alive within the folds of this life: in our friendships and phone calls, in our families and text messages, in our workplace and schools.

Be with those who grieve today, as they greet the new rhythms of loss at work within and around them. Be with those who suffer chronic pain, throbbing, disruptive, breathtaking, constant. Be with those who are in transition: a new place, a new job, a new community, a new song, a new perspective.

Be, O God, within us. Let your love surge. Center us. And hear us as we pray the prayer Jesus teaches us…

September 5, 2021

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