June 3, 2020

Prayers About Becoming a Voice For Those Who Have No Voice

About 20 years ago, I met a group of unconventional church planters from across the country. We wondered aloud together about an inevitable errosion of western Christianity if it continued to collude God and country. We wrestled with how to remain faithful to the Church that had reared us while finding ancient (yet, new to us) ways of following Jesus. It is sad, for those of us that remain, to see much of our concerns bear out. At the time, one of those dear ones handed me a book entitled, Celtic Daily Prayer. Praying prayers written by others was the beginning of a change in the shape of my soul and my journey towards the Episcopal Church.

Here is an all too appropriate excerpt from that book for these recent days:
Prayers about becoming a voice for those who have no voice 
I cannot speak,
unless You loose my tongue;
I only stammer,
and I speak uncertainly;
but if You touch my mouth,
my Lord,
then I will sing the story
of Your wonders! 
Teach me to hear that story,
through each person,
to cradle a sense of wonder
in their life,
to honour the hard-earned wisdom
of their sufferings,
to waken their joy
that the King of all kinds
stoops down
to wash their feet,
and looking up
onto their face
says,
'I know - I understand.' 
This world has become
a world of broken dreams
where dreamers are hard to find
and friends are few. 
Lord, be the gatherer of our dreams.
You set the countless stars in place,
and found room for each of them to shine.
You listen for us in Your heaven-bright hall.
Open out mouths to tell our takes of wonder. 
Teach us again the greatest story ever:
the One who made the worlds
became a little, helpless child,
then grew to be a carpenter
with deep, far-seeing eyes. 
In time, the Carpenter began to travel
in every village challenging the people
to leave behind their selfish ways,
be washed in living water,
and let God be their King. 
The ordinary people crowded round Him,
frightened to miss
a word the He was speaking,
bringing their friends, their children,
all the sick and tired,
so everyone could meet Him,
everyone be touched and given life. 
Some religious people were embarrassed
- they did not like the company He kept,
and never knew just what He would do next. 
He said:
'How dare you wrap God up
in good behaviour,
and tell the poor that they
should be like you?
How can you live at ease
with riches and success,
while those I love go hungry
and are oppressed?
It really is for such a time as this
that I was given breath.' 
His words were dangerous,
not safe or tidy. 
In secret His opponents said:
'It surely would be better that
one person die.' 
'I think that would be better,
if he could.'
Expediency would be the very death of Him.
He died because they thought it might be good. 
You died that we might be forgiven.
Lord; but that was not the end.
You plundered death.
and made its jail-house shudder
- strode into life
to meet Your startles friends. 
I have a dream
that all the world will meet You,
and know You, Jesus,
in Your living power,
that someday soon
all people everywhere will hear Your story,
and hear it in a way they understand. 
I cannot speak,
unless You loose my tongue;
I only stammer,
and I speak uncertainly;
but if You touch my mouth,
my Lord,
then I will sing the story
of Your wonders!
So many who heard
forget to tell the story. 
Here am I, my Jesus:
teach me.
 

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