Weeks ago I was touched by a prayer, its words penned and lifted by my friend, Reverend Andrew Whaley, pastor of First Presbyterian Church here in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
He’s younger than my children… and wise beyond his years.
I’ve been waiting until today—the beginning of Holy Week—to share its beauty with you. May you be blessed, encouraged, and challenged by its truths even as I continue to be.
The way of the cross looks treacherous, its shadow foreboding, its call fraught with danger.
And yet, precious Jesus, we have the audacity to hang it here in your house of worship so that we cannot divert our gaze away.
In a world that tells us to pump up our ego, this cross tells us to lose ourselves.
In a world that tells us to get all we can, this cross says give yourself away.
In a world that tells us to use all means necessary to protect ourselves, this cross says that peace can only be achieved in relationship with others.
And so we pray for humility and obedience.
We pray for your Spirit, that spirit that rested on Jesus, to rest on us.
Strengthen us to live for this kingdom that turns our assumptions on our heads.
Fill us with perseverance to remain committed to it when it looks like we have failed.
Clothe us in hope that even as the cross stands before us, resurrection lies just beyond, and that is our truth and our joy.
Make us instruments of your peace,
As violence is so commonplace
Violence of war
Violence of persons against one another
Violence of words that break others down
Make us vessels of your peace,
Where we see broken lives,
Make us makers of your peace,
To speak the hard word of truth in love
To repent of our idolatry that tries to co-opt you to our cause
To offer ourselves to bring healing even when we feel ill-prepared and ill-equipped.
May we never forget, O God, the prophets who have led us to the mountaintop to peer over into the Promised Land.
May our vision be like theirs and our lives a courageous journey toward that future, so that the prayer of your kingdom Jesus gave us might not just be words on our lips but a reality of our lives…