Before offering a prayer of lament and longing today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what many others have shared over the course of the last week: that underneath the excitement and opportunities of finding different ways to connect and worship with one another is a very real sense of loss that is exacerbated by simply not knowing when we will next gather in person.
For me, the call to act decisively, in the interests of those most vulnerable and in solidarity with a world that is suffering, is what being Church is all about. My mind was quickly occupied with what might be possible given the ranging age and contexts of the congregations with whom I share life. And there is a very simple pleasure in, each day, offering something small – and, I hope, full of hope – to a Church far bigger than the boundaries we have held on to as we seek to offer a word of comfort and promise in a time of loneliness and anxiety.
But, as I pinned up the notices on the closed doors of a sanctuary to let people know some of the ways in which we can enter fully into this season of prayer and care for another, I must admit that I was overwhelmed with grief as I pictured the faces of the people that I would normally see gathering in that place each Sunday, the children I would hold, the hands I would touch.
Hence Monday’s mourning – a space to turn to God with our sorrow.
God of promise,
please pay attention to my prayers this day.
Don’t judge me for how I’m feeling –
but acknowledge my cries.
I live in the darkness of death’s shadow.
My life is crushed into dust.
My heart is heavy with despair
and a deep depression settles into my soul.
I am nearly at the end of my rope.
Help me to pause in Your presence,
to stretch out my hands to You
as a thirsty desert waits for rain
to bring new life.
Let the dawning day bring me a revelation
of your tender, unfailing love.
Remind me of the good old days –
of all the ways I have seen You at work –
that I might have light for this path
and trust in You
to lead me by Your blessed Spirit
into clear and level pastureland.
*based on the Passion Translation and the Message paraphrases*