I’m not one to post to my blog or my facebook something I’m thankful for every day in November. I usually find these things overly sentimental or trite; even forced. Maybe it’s just me. But today I was truly and deeply grateful for Lauren’s beautiful blog post about the earth, it’s living, breathing, dying and impermanence that resonates and sustains humanity.
As many of you know, I used to be a Youth Leader in Durham and last week we lost one of our youth to gun violence. I won’t do the disservice of trying to describe the pain and agony the family of the child and the community of Durham are in. There are no words. There is nothing to be said that will comfort. I returned to Durham to attend the funeral with many of my colleagues in ministry. Very little was said and many hugs were exchanged, but the one thing I kept hearing over and over was, “all we can do is pray.”
It struck me. I’ve repeated that phrase over and over again almost as a placeholder as we’ve attempted to restructure, re-energize, reorganize, re-everything this program.
But perhaps that’s the wrong way of phrasing it. Perhaps we can take the psalms as our guide and say, “Thank God we can pray.” Thank God, that when there is pain so sudden, so deep and so horrific, we can pray. Thank God in uncertainty we can pray. Thank God…Thank God we can pray. Thank God that through the psalms, through the gospels, through the old and new testament, there are very human voices calling out, in pain, in anguish, in joy. Thank God for Psalm 6, where the psalmist is in so much anguish, they cannot even finish their thought, “How long…O, Lord, How long?”
All we can do is pray and pray we will. Every morning we will pray for the family and the community experiencing such loss. For our community here and for all of those in anguish, for all of those crying out “How long?” And for that, for the four women who drag themselves out of bed and the handful of community members that join us for morning prayer, for this motley crew that prays for a family and community they don’t even know, for that I am deeply, deeply grateful. Thank God we can pray.