A Psalm of Lament and Praise

Oh Holy One, we fall before You.
Lost.
Weary.
How did we come to be
Here
in this desolate valley of bones?
We cry for Your intervention.
From where is help to come?
In the dark, sleep is elusive.
Fears reign and
You?
You seem far away.
You led your people out of Egypt.
You granted us eternal life.
We want to trust You
but this …
This is not how we pictured life, death, and resurrection.

Every morning, we rise.
We hug little ones and shuffle into messy kitchens
cooking up breakfast and hope for the day.
We work from dining room tables.
We sanitize stores.
We suit up in hospitals and parking lot clinics.
Yet fortunes falter and
your most vulnerable weep.
We operate in a fog that alters all we know.
Lord of life, when will our lives return?

The numbers of sick and dying increase by the day.
No cure has been found.
And yet Your people …
We are still off in the corner,
fighting over methods and politics and blame.
What will it take for us
to forget pride and party lines and
forge a new path together?

Some fault Asian-Americans.
Generations of prejudice blister like sun through glass
and yet these sisters and brothers
these pastors and nurses and firefighters and family …
they are no different.
They suffer too.
When will we learn to love our neighbors as ourselves?
Some days, we blanket ourselves in hope
pumping out prayers and gratitude lists and
cheery messages in sidewalk chalk
all stretching, straining, striving
for that collective moment when we can
re-lease our breath.
Meanwhile we meet in online Zooms.
From living rooms, pastors preach and people pray.
Ingenuity is our mantra as
mask-makers stretch their stash to its max
and scientists race for results.
Is this enough, Lord?
Are we enough, Lord?
Is this where we encounter You?

You encounter me over and over, my flock.
I am Here
even in this.
I am the Shepherd of Lost Lambs.
Yay, I walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death
and you should fear no evil.
I am the Light in the Darkness, shining for you.
Trust in me.
I am the Well of Living Water.
Drink of me and you shall not be thirsty.
When you are afraid, remember:
The Creator of the Universe
is surely bigger than COVID-19.
Peace I give to you, my peace, peace that passes all understanding.
Believe in me.
The grass still greens, the flowers bloom.
Sun shines and rain falls.
The birds return, birds of whom I know every feather.
Despite this
Through this
I will make all things new.

We praise you, Spirit of All That is.
You hear our prayers.
You walk with us always
in all ways.
Turn our attention to the good,
to the helpers,
to the future
You are shaping even now.
Use our hands to do your work.
Help us care for the sparrows and those most in need.
The time will come again to gather but
even then—especially then—
help us remember that
Your church is not about a building.

Rise up within us, Oh God.
Transform our fear to faith
our dis-ease to health,
our self-centeredness to community.

Rise up within us, Oh God.
And make a right spirit within us.

AMEN.

Views expressed reflect the diversity of voices and experiences across our synod and belong solely to the author, not necessarily to the Lower Susquehanna Synod or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.