Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. Psalm 104: 1-5
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
We breathe in the verses in these scriptures. Awaken us. Be with us now. Stir our awareness. Strengthen our resolve and hope. Help us to focus on your creation beyond these times yet in the midst of these times. Let us not be distracted by grand schemes, nattering and judging of this and that, ways that divide and devalue, ways that twist us away from you. Turn our eyes toward your light. This great light is all around us. You revealed your truth and way to us through your son Jesus.
We light a candle or watch the sunrise or the afterglow as the day settles into dusk or gaze at the ascendent moon full and now declining in this first week of November 2020.
Everything seems at stake and our anxieties rise and rise. The news seems to pour over our lives — the world news this week challenges us, occupies our waking moments and even our dreams. We are so burdened and distracted. What foundations do we cling to that will fall, will disintegrate, will become dust? What ways of being no longer work, perhaps have never worked and must be let go of? In our everyday lives help us to loosen our grip on being right and judging others. You forgive us. Help us to forgive. This is a potent act. It returns us to love. Can we see into our neighbor’s eyes? What is our friend really needing right now? What would it be like to delight in the stranger as we would upon seeing a family member or friend walking towards us?
Help us to connect with those both true and false to us and we to them. Yes, all of our ancestors as we have remembered the dead on All Souls Day. Help us to see that our acts have consequences. Guide our understanding that we can change and perhaps soften. We can express kindness. We can produce a miracle with a change of heart, an apology can be communicated in a second, in word, behind a mask and with a light touch.
We pray for the love expressed as we hear of Elena S. of Caracas, Venezuela who dresses in PPE. A cafeteria worker at a kindergarten, she goes to her hospitalized father to clean his bed, feed and diaper him in the COVID–19 wing of a city, of a country destitute of health care workers. Lord in your compassion.
We take up our individual duties and jobs during this pandemic that has infected 48 million people. May we consider the sick, severely ill and dying. Help us to attend to this great suffering. Guide the health care work force. Position their every step and wrap them in appropriate PPE. Help our hospital administrations fight this pandemic and sustain their resources and mission. Let no patient be turned away. Help us to use our ICU beds, step down units, rehab facilities and skilled nursing facilities to take care of each and all even as some hospitals must divert patients to other facilities. Sustain those in training and gather our energies to fill the six-million gap in nurses needed around the world. We honor the over 7000 health care workers who have died world-wide. Sustain their families and communities in this great loss. We mourn the over 1,209,927 dead as of this week. Lord in your compassion.
We pray for justice and right action by the government of Nigeria as it sets up tribunals to hear and address the Lekki Toll Gate violence and murder of protestors. We are concerned of the independence of its judiciary. Sustain journalistic voice and those who testify on the crimes and losses even as they are held and beaten. Lord have mercy.
We pray for the people of Austria mourning as gunmen took the lives of four individuals and wounded 17 persons in central Vienna. We decry terrorism.
We pray for the nation of Ethiopia as it mourns the massacre of 54 men, women and children from the Amhara ethnic group attack by an armed group who then looted and set fire to the community. Lord have mercy. Remove the swords, bullets and weapons of terrorism. Let there be no collusion by governments of the people with paramilitaries and false liberation groups that kill.
Draw leaders close to their people. Draw them close to their suffering. Help them to see the promise of each child, the strength of youth who dream. Unlock the cages. Task those in power to protect the least with food and water not with armed guards in watchtowers. Challenge our implicit bias of who belongs and who does not. Send your messengers to those who would build structures that divide and deny. Remind us that our institutions like physical structures can act like walls and prisons denying human rights and causing terrible isolation. We pray mightily for justice.
Oh Lord your tent so vast as the universe we see at night it contains us in all times. This world is trembling. Call our faith. This world so broken. Call our active hope. This world is so tender. Call our love.
The following prayer is offered for those of our readers who are fearful about the results of the U.S. election, and may wish to join in making this vow before God.
Realizing that the election
will not be settled today.
Not until all the votes (including the paper ballots) are counted,
And the results are certified by Dec. 14.
Not until the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress to count electoral votes and declare election results.
Knowing that I cannot hold onto my dread
for that long.
Choosing that I will no longer
Let my life be ruled by
fear, fostered by fear,
foisted by fear upon fear.
Today I choose Life.
Whatever the election may bring.
That nothing – but nothing – but nothing
Will change my commitment
To make this a world (and a nation)
That is safe, and just, and healthy,
and fruitful, and life-affirming,
for my LGBTQIA+ friends,
and my Black friends,
and my immigrant friends,
and my Muslim friends,
and my Jewish friends,
and my Latinx friends.
For my disabled friends,
and my homeless and underemployed friends.
For my youngest friends
and my oldest friends
of every color or shape
or ethnicity or national origin or gender
or religion (or lack of religion).
I affirm my commitment
To make this a world (and a nation)
That is filled with compassion and justice
and hopes for the well-being
even for my political opponents.
Even for those with whom I disagree.
Whatever happens in this election
Today, I choose love.