CBF Fellow, John Carroll pastors First Baptist, Danville, VA. He shared a moving prayer last week at ChurchWorks as we entered into our Lenten Journey.
Holy and gracious God, you who have flung spinning galaxies into space and have knit together the spinning atoms of our being, you who have molded the contours of the mountains and the curve of hummingbird wings, our creator who took on the flesh of those you created, we come before you in humble confession this night. We confess that we have not been honest with you, with one another, and with ourselves. We have not been honest about how often we have walked from Golgotha to the tomb with the strong smells of burial spices in our hands. We have not been honest because we have been too afraid to give voice to the groan of the Spirit echoing within our soul, “How long?”
How long must we watch ministry dreams die at the feet of fearful and prideful souls
How long must we witness scars on the forearms of youth and scars on the broken hearts of broken families
How long must we bury the children lost to cancer and tragedy and the innocent lost to the violence of warring nations
How long will we surrender your gift of laughter to the stress of our schedules and the despair of our hearts
How long will we judge one another by race, gender, economics, and sexuality instead of by the abundant measure of grace that you have poured over us and this world
How long must we trudge under identities that are not our own, that you have not given us
How long, O God! How long?!
On those days that we trudge from Golgotha to the tomb, on those days when we feel stuck on Holy Saturday, on those days when we are tempted to believe that we only live in a Good Friday kind of world, open our eyes to see the empty tomb before us in all of its mystery and open our hearts to receive its surprise though our minds comprehend it not. On those days when we realize that we are far past the shore called rescue, help us to trust the hope of resurrection though we read it as we read the glint and glimmer of the stars on open waters. Help us to have the courage to lay down our burial spices and take up the tools of your good garden so that we might participate in your new life sprouting forth in a landscape as unexpected as our own. We believe, O God. Help our unbelief. Amen.