O God who is Love Ever with us, it has been a difficult year. We have seen such ugliness and bitterness and divisiveness. We have experienced such loss, both personally and collectively. We have experienced the loss of loved-ones and of for some the loss of love. Along with these natural, individual losses, we have endured the turmoil of a culture losing its way, seemingly embracing the path of inhumanity. We have seen the dehumanization of the refugee, of the religious faithful not our own, of the reporter, of those of another race. We have experienced an utter rejection of truth, of true words, of true effort, of true compassion in a world grasping for the truth of love. We have watched leaders climb to power embracing the means of victory at all costs, including the cost of respect, dignity, and love for humanity. We have seen these leaders climb to power with love of power their only lasting love, their only governing principal, their only real purpose. And we have watched as these powerful men climbed to even greater power.
O holy God, at the same time, we’ve seen this year the powerful fall from power. We have seen men’s past harmful choices and sins toward subordinates and colleagues and fellow sojourners come back to take their claim and find some semblance of justice. We have seen courageous souls for too long struggling to make sense of other’s sins against them, for too long struggling through bad memories that could not be forgotten or appeased, we have seen them stand up and with vulnerable resilience and resistence declare “me too” and no more.
The juxtaposition of the movement of courage and the unmoving weight of crassness, of the rain of compassion and the drought of cruelty, it leaves us unsteady, O God. It leaves us feeling unbalanced, reeling from the resulting disorientation.
Yes, God, we are disoriented. We live in the age of disorientation. We cannot see straight. We cannot feel bottom. We cannot find true north. We cannot sense steady ground. We cannot see a lighthouse in our spiritual fogginess. We have been kicked around, knocked down, and keeled over. Our culture’s collective concussion often swings us from nauseousness to headached to dizzied to backpained and weary at every turn. This age of disorientation seems terminal some days, Lord. Our confusion and delusion sometimes seem to be drowning us. Like Peter who once believed in You and Your Way of Justice, Mercy and Humility but who then doubted his purpose and began sinking into the water he once traversed, we are drowning from our own lack of trust in the preeminence and necessity of You, O God defined by Love.
Gracious One, help us. Raise us up. Calm our storms. O God, help us not to give up. Help us not to silent our inner voice that tells us right this is not the way it is meant to be and it is not the way it will always be. Help us to know that You are with us and You will have the victory, the victory where the first shall be last and the last shall be first, where the valleys shall be exalted and the mountains and hills made low, where the crooked path shall be made straight and the rough places made plain, and where the children and the most vulnerable among us shall lead us.
O God of Perfect Grace, may we receive into our hearts the gifts You have given us, gifts by which we persevere and persist, above all Your gift of Grace. May we take care of each other and ourselves and the earth, knowing all things and beings are Your creation and our bodies are temples of Your spirit. May we in this disoriented and disorienting age get the rest we need, eat the food we should eat, and engage in activity good for our well-being and our wholeness and the earth’s. May we take time to stop and sit and smell the blossoms of beauty all around us. May we take the time to stop and sit and see the tender tenacity of each blessing given to us in this earth, on this earth. May we take the time to move and walk and experience the forest from the trees and the trees in the forest. May we marry each moment we have with friends and family and loved-ones.
Yes, God, You who are Community, may we in turn care for and honor our inner need to experience community. Help us to see that the only way to do this is to experience it. May we be inspired by your own faithfulness toward us. May your love-moved life living and breathing and moving in the world move us to live-out our love for each other and for your church. May it move us to a greater commitment to faith and to this community of faith throughout the year. Help us not to be creatures of the habitual search for perfection or the perfect community.
And finally, O Lord of Love, I pray that from this we would seek to apply the law of love, the only essential law in the universe, to our world and to our nation. May we see in friends our soil, our food, our medicine. May we see in the stranger a longing for belonging and fill it. May we see in each other kindness, compassion, care for family and community. May we see in each other we all seek good lives. May we see in each other eyes God’s love mirrored, and help us to magnify and progress that love.
May this be the year not of rage or restlessness or ridicule but of a year of transformation, rootedness, and a cultivation of Your way in the world. May the Lighthouse of Your Love melt break the fog and lead us to the home of Your realm. Amen.