Yesterday, Scout and I were out for our regular long Friday morning hike. As we were about halfway through the hike, I stopped to give her some water from her dogger-bottle (get it? Haha). Anyway, as she was drinking, I was looking around and saw a cross made from a fallen tree that was in front of a still-standing tree. I would not have seen it if I hadn’t stopped and was looking around while Scout drank her water on a humid August morning. Stopping and looking around and it is in that moment that I see a sign of Jesus.
This morning, I saw a prayer posted on social media from a colleague named Thom Shuman. Thom crafts some beautiful prayers and liturgies to share for congregations to use. Poetic, beautiful, deep things. I love that he uses his gifts in this way. Anyway…the prayer he wrote this morning was a lament and a call to remember and a call to act and it really spoke to all that is stirring around us. As I read it this morning, it felt like that moment yesterday where I saw Jesus when I stopped to look around. So, in the midst of the anxieties of our time right now, can you find time to stop and look around and be open to how you will find Jesus?
Here’s Thom’s prayer.
God, where are you?© 2021 Thom M. Shuman
Afghanistan has gone beyond falling apart,
as groups seem to be having contests
to see who can hate better and kill more,
and you seem to be found nowhere
when we are looking for you to take our side
in blaming this politician or that one,
in picking sides based on criticism
rather than compassion for those
who can’t even find a middle to be caught in.
God, where are you?
this pandemic just will not go away
as the politicians and naysayers hoped
(and continue to act as if they believe,
while lining up for jabs and special treatments),
and people continue to claim rights
you have supposedly given to them
when all you are hoping is that they
(okay, we as well)
will love our neighbors as much as ourselves
and especially love their children
as much as we love ours.
God, where are you?
the wildfires are burning out of control
in so many places, and have become
so common and everyday that they
are no longer the ‘breaking news
(except for those who lives and dreams are broken),
another hurricane is heading towards
a shoreline that hasn’t fully recovered
from the last one, two, three, or more,
and all we can do is continue to turn
the dangers of climate change into political fodder,
rather than taking those steps we could
so easily do in our lives.
God, where are you,
when we want quick responses,
simple answers. solutions which cost us nothing?
and the answer is what it has always been . . .
you are doing your best (through us)
to protect the vulnerable in crumbling nations,
you are speaking before school boards
and working in overwhelmed hospitals (through us),
you are filling sandbags, boarding up stores,
driving folks to safety, opening up shelters,
stockpiling food and water and meds (through us)
for those who will need them most
and if we would just stop digging in our heels
and holding our breath until we turn blue
waiting for you to answer the age-old question
where are you, God?
you might be able to use us
as you always hope you can.