A Prayer for Holy Week (Wednesday)

This prayer was, in part, inspired by today’s reading from Forward Day By Day.

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Dearest Lord,

Spy Wednesday. How heinous a description. But it is, thus, accurate for describing the day in which you were betrayed by one of your closest followers. Judas. The name sounds wicked and disgusting. (Though perhaps that is just because I’ve always heard it muttered in such a tone.)

I like to think that I am not like Judas, oh Lord. I would never betray you; I haven’t ever betrayed you. I am so much better than Judas. And Peter, too. What a coward.

But then you said that the way I treat the ‘least of these’ is directly correlative of I’ve treated you. I have to think about that: how have I treated the lesser, the forgotten, the despised, the broken, the wretched, the disgusting, the sinful and the despicable neighbors of mine?  I gossip. I judge and belittle (‘what kind of a person would do that?’). I avoid the homeless man on the street, steer my eyes away from his. I point fingers. I blame society’s problems on others, particularly anyone other than me.

So then, Lord, have I denied you? Betrayed you even?

If you went to the cross for the least of these, then you went to the cross for Peter and Judas. If you went to the cross for sinners, then you went to the cross for people like me and disciples like your own; people who were generally decent human beings but had a dark, cowardly side to them. If you went to the cross because of everyone, then you rose from the grave for everyone. No one is beyond your grace, not from Gandhi to Hitler. A startling, offensive notion.

So have mercy on me, oh Lord, as you had mercy on Peter. Forgive my betrayal of you, oh Lord. All the sins I commit because I am too scared to follow you with my cross.

Have mercy on us, oh Christ.

Amen.

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A Prayer for Holy Week (Tuesday)

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Dear God,

What was Tuesday like for you on this week, so many centuries ago? What was any Tuesday like for you? How did you wake, brush your teeth, strap on your sandals, greet the disciples…how did have any sort of ‘normal’ routine, knowing what the end of the week held?

I think, sometimes, that it would be wonderful to know the future. But I have anxiety issues as it is.

So what are you trying to teach us, O Lord, from the fact that you lived? Not that you were born, you died and then you popped out of the grave…but that you alsolived. You were nursed and went through teething; you learned to walk (land AND water…chica-whaa?); you had a laugh and a smile; you had friends, some less annoying than others; you scraped your knees; you grew peach fuzz; you got sunburn and blisters; you had favorite foods and the meals you’d gotten sick of (like fishes and bread, I’d guess). God, what a fun thing to imagine, that you lived as one of us, that the most elementary human experiences are all things which you yourself celebrated and endured.

And yet…the whole time, you knew about the cross.

I mean, I take Xanax… but how did you manage that? Especially on the Tuesday before your crucifixion. Your disciples had no clue! You bore the burden of this knowledge alone.

I wonder, Jesus, if there’s a lesson in that for me. I know the future- or at least you’ve given me a spoiler alert: it doesn’t end with the grave but with the resurrection. (Granted, I don’t always believe it will end this way. But you assure me nonetheless.)You’ve left out the bad parts and shared with me the best. Why don’t I live that way? Better yet, why don’t I live every moment like it’s a divine moment. Because at some point in your life, you shared the most basic of experiences I- as a human- have. So if flatulence, washing hands, sighs, eye rolls and headaches can be part of the divine life…why can’t the rest of mine too?

Help me to live the divine life, oh Lord. Help me to live life like someone who knows the end of the story. And help me to truly believe that I do.

Make this day spectacular, not because anything has changed, but because grace has changed the way in which I see all the anythings.

Amen.

A Prayer For Brussels

Early this morning, multiple explosions killed at least 26 and wounded 100 more during the Tuesday rush hour in Brussels. Updates can be followed here.

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Photo Source: Independent UK

Dear God,

Be with Brussels this morning. I cannot begin to imagine the terror and fear that is sweeping through the city. I can’t begin to imagine the horror griping the hearts of spouses, children, parents, lovers and siblings as they desperately seek to learn if their loved one is a victim of these bombings. I cannot begin to imagine the bravery of rescue workers who are running towards the chaos and danger to help those in need. I cannot begin to imagine the citizens of Belgium and neighboring European countries as they face yet another terrorist attack.

God, what evil. What horrible, heinous and detestable acts. What a terrible lie for someone to believe, that they might serve you by killing themselves and others with a bomb. Forgive them, God. And invade the hearts and minds of these jihadists. Replace their zealous hatred with your zealous love. Work in the hearts of anyone else who is considering such an attack. Save us from them; save them from themselves.

You tell us there can be peace in the midst of fear; cast your peace on Brussels. You tell us there can be hope in the midst of torment and grief; bring that hope to Brussels. You tell us there can be love and forgiveness in the midst of hate; facilitate that love in Brussels. You tell us there can be healing in the midst of pain; heal those who’s hearts and bodies are injured from these attacks.

Dear Lord, be with Brussels. I can’t understand how you could be, but I trust that you are.

Amen.