The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

God of Glory, Dear Redeemer, Christ Incarnate who holds our fear, God of liberation who sets prisoners free. Today’s prayers remain the same as last year’s: be with us. Guide us. Show us the way.

But, even as the signs of spring arise, even as the promise of life after life after life is renewed, even as covid’s spread retreats or at least is held at bay in places, we are yet grieving and depleted, anxious and isolated, stuck and inconvenience, slowed and separated, nervous and shut down, frustrated and fragile.

For all who have died, Lord hear our prayer. For all that was lost, Lord hear our prayer. For our longing, Lord hear our prayer.

The multitude of pandemic anniversaries are like “microdoses of unpredictable stress” (Tina Franklin, Georgia Tech), as we remember capacity of a virus to rain uncertainty down upon our everyday lives. We have never had to embrace ambiguity, uncertainty and not-knowing on this global scale before. We long for a break, a shift, a turn toward hope. And, in all the ways hope is coming, Incarnate One, we are grateful: for the growing reports of a loved one finding their way to receiving vaccine dose one, vaccine dose two, approved vaccine number three; for a sunny day here, a milestone event there; for a sports tournament, a dance recital, a museum visit; for a return to health, a surviving of the impossible, a feeling of return to some semblance of normal.

There are whispers of hope, and we turn to you, our source of hope, to be sustained. Help us create todays and tomorrows that are full of your spirit. Help us imagine todays and tomorrows rooted in your promises. Help us to enact todays and tomorrows full of your justice, liberation, and peace. Help us embody todays and tomorrows drenched in your presence, your tender truth, your untarnished longing for right relationship, kindness unfolding as naturally as the dawn.

It has been a years since the NBA, NHL, the PGA, the Boston Marathon, Disney World, and Broadway unthinkably closed their doors, shut down, postponed indefinitely. It has been a year since the pandemic let loose private tragedies from which we have yet to heal. It has been a year. It has been a year, O God. As we spend one more late night at our desk, one more long day on our couch, one more impossible day with mask and distance and video conference call, or one more early morning at the laptop listening all the while to the sunrise, the birdsong, the lift of fog and the eventuality of blue sky, we ask that you might inspire us, fill us with a literal breath-of-life, the creative power of gratitude, the motivating force of friendship and connection. Let us rest in your love, God of life, even as we grieve this last year, and know that you are near, a new beginning right before us.

Lift us up as we pray to you in the silence, and help us to hear you, to listen for you, quietly articulating your vision for us as we quiet our minds and bodies in your presence.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name….

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