I want you to hear that from a priest. I want you to hear that the past year has been difficult in so many ways. Blessings abound for me and for many of you. There is food, shelter, income and insurance to name a few. Even so, the pandemic, the election cycle, racial injustice, and the constant barrage of commentary on it all is exhausting. I have heard that from many of you as well.
In the midst of all of this, I do find time to pray. These days, I am leaning heavily into just being still and quiet. I am also leaning on our Book of Common Prayer. I am reminded of one prayer in particular. It comes from a section of Prayers for the Sick. In fact, this is from a page entitled Prayers for use by a Sick Person.
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer, pg. 461)
Pretty good stuff, eh? I appreciate this prayer as it calls me to be aware and to be willing. It even calls the petitioner to be willing to do nothing, and to do that gallantly. I hold this prayer up as a prayer for those who are weak, and weary in this strange time in history.
This is not easy. In scripture, it was the hard things that shaped the faith of people. Just when we thought we found someone to save us from the hard stuff he tells us we need to take up our cross. Jesus also showed us that the hard path leads to life. Even when we are tired and things are hard, we can pray. Even if we don’t have our own words, we can take a breath and use words like the ones above. As we pray those words, may the be more than words.
Fr. John Mark