Taking The Plowshare: prayers during pain

We’ve got the movie Selma sitting in its case downstairs. But I’ve been afraid to watch it.

Because I’m afraid to face a pain that I do not understand.

Because the closest I come to minority status is through my Native American relatives, my great-great-grandma Myrtle on my mother’s side and Hannah Brant on my father’s side, who both had a piece of land in Oklahoma.

And even their pain, I can’t quite grasp or put words to.

What spaces in our hearts can hold so much?

A small cross hangs in my dear friend Leanna’s living room, right by the sliding door that leads to her back slab of porch, right by the kitchen where we all gather for community, for food, for laughing and tears and toddler yells.

That little cross is a proclamation of peace in their midst, a reminder of what is holy and good. 

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And it is a reminder to keep going and to keep fighting for all those holy things.

And I ask Jesus, Can you really forgive? Does your blood really cover our multitudes of sins, of murders, of crises in our human flesh?

And He stretches His hands forward again, so the nail marks remind me. I hear the bells of the Catholic church across the street toll again, and I close my eyes and remember, and try to feel and understand something.

And I pray again:

Most of the time, we do not know what to do, and especially now.

So, we ask for breath for tomorrow. We ask that you place the plowshare into our hands today, and teach us how to wield it.

Our eyes are bloodshot, and our hearts scream murderous  things.

Still, teach us to plant in Kingdom soil.

In so many ways, we fold backwards on ourselves, step back into evils that we once vowed, “No more.”

We neglect how far we’d come.

But, we remember that Your Kingdom is a forward-moving, never-look-back sort of Kingdom. 

Give us the plowshare, and help us do something holy again.

Amen.

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