Lord, this morning we beat our breasts in honest prayer to you.
We beat them in grief. As we pray alongside of Jessica and Jacob in their tremendous grief. As they say goodbye to Ellen this morning, we ask that you might show them your love in exceptional ways. I thank you for the blessing it was to stand beside Jessica this week and pray a prayer of blessing for Ellen, watching her as she beamed with joy. And now we ask that you would stand beside her in her grief.
And beside all those who grieve this morning. Those whose grief is fresh, or not as fresh but still painful. For those who wish they could enjoy the spring warmth with their loved one, we pray. For those who wish they could hear the sound of their voice once more, we pray. For those who still feel a hole of emptiness, we pray.
We beat our breasts in frustration. As we watch the news and hear the endless political campaign, we watched with frustration as the tone turned negative. We watched with disappointment as the tone turned ugly. And now we watch with horror as the tone turns violent. For those of us who yearn for a political discourse in which we can disagree without calling names, where we can listen to and even learn from one another without threats of violence, we grieve the loss of such days. In the face of political scorched earth policies that see the casualties of the most vulnerable among us – the stranger, the children, the poor – we beat our breasts in hopeless frustration.
And we beat them in contrition. For as easy as it is to blame others for the political tone and obstructionism that surrounds us, we ask ourselves in this season how we might contribute to such a tone. Ways that we excuse or even participate in such a tone – in the ignorance, in the anger, in the apathy, in the fear, in the racism and sexism and prejudice. Lord, like the tax collector this Lenten morning, we beat our breasts as we pray, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” May you hear our contrite hearts and our humbled voices as we pray the prayer that Christ taught us…