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lament and prayer.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

(Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.)

****

Fires rage across the west, people’s lives and livelihoods going up in flames. 

Waters rush across New Orleans, again, and people’s lives and livelihoods are drowned. 

The earth literally splits underneath the land that is Haiti and once again her people are plunged into despair. 

Miserere nobis

Talking heads blame this person and that person and insult those they disagree with in ways I’d not allow my daughter to speak to someone and we cheer for our tribe and carry on with our arrogance, all of it born of out of our own fears, our own anxieties, our need to make some sort of meaning out of this cluster we find ourselves in. 

There’s shooting to kill every night in my city’s streets, life now an expendable commodity, exactly what happens when we’ve disregarded one another’s well-being for so long and found the solace for our pain in drugs, in hate, in violence. 

The virus runs through us with deadly aim, some of us escaping its worst and some of us dying, losing those we love, while healthcare workers beg for relief and children are sent home from school and the landscape of our lives changes forever. And still there are those who scoff. Who fail to see its havoc. I ache for them, because such selfishness stems from hurt locked so deep inside it cannot be seen or understood for what it is. 

We feel isolated. Cut off from what we once knew. Like so much has changed and no one was there to bear witness, our heads buried in the sands of our own lives in the midst of all that has threatened to undo us. 

Meanwhile, Afghanistan burns. Soldiers die and families mourn. Women and children especially vulnerable to the evil present there. Rage is white hot and deeper and deeper runs the rifts that are already tearing our communities apart. Lives are at stake, pundits and polls do not matter. And our best bet would be to fall to our knees in fervent prayer for the terror reigning there. 

Miserere nobis

Take away our sins, God. Our own and the world’s, and grant us your mercy. How far we have fallen from what you’ve dreamed us to be and how heartbreaking are the consequences. You alone are the truth of our existence, your Love the very essence of who we are, and yet we push it aside and away in favor of what TikTok sells and worship affluence with more fervor than we ever thought about channeling into following Jesus. 

Humble us with your grace, force us to our knees in submission to your will. Hold us so tightly in your love that it forms us, as fire forms clay, into something new and only for you. 

Make way through the waters

Walk (us) through the fire

Shut the mouths of lions

Bring dry bones to life*

Do what the stories of your faith first told us that you can, God, because we have entirely forgotten how to share your love, carry your light, tell of your pure and abundant and exceeding grace. And remind us of the times you’ve shown up to see us through nightmare, grief and despair. You’ve never left us. Even as we have you, over and over and over.

Miserere nobis

Our hearts cry out to you, God. Take away our sins. Show us your mercy. Grant us peace. And lead us out of this chaos we’ve created out of our own hurt and anger and fear and selfish longings and into real and right relationship with one another and with You. 

Tonite, when the whole world is on edge, and we’ve lost all sense of what it means to love as you do…this is my prayer. My plea. 

For all of us. 

Because we are, each of us, first and only and ever yours. 

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

*lyrics from Famous For (I Believe), from the album Citizen of Heaven, featuring Tauren Wells and Jenn Johnson

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