A Prayer by Nadia Bolz Weber
Lord of compassion I pray,
As you did in Nain, enter our city gates. Enter into the somber roads down which our hearses drive and the glad streets where children run. Enter the parks where the junkies shoot up and the yuppies listen to jazz. Walk uninvited into starter mansions and public housing and dorms and cheap motel rooms on Colfax that charge by the hour. Stroll into the cool-air freezer section where the pregnant women escape the heat and the bus stop benches where the weary wait. Step into the space between the city worker who wrote me a parking ticket and my mis-guided anger. Enter our city gates, Lord of Compassion, as you did the city of Nain. And bless.
Bless the things we think are dead. Bless that which we have already begun to carry out of town to bury. Bless our rocky marriages and our college age kids who smoke too much pot. Bless the person at work who we love to hate. Bless the young adult who wonders if they are too young to really be an alcoholic and the 6o year old woman who’s had too much work done. Bless public schools lunch ladies and the guy who stole my kid’s bike. Bless the one who has no one. Bless what we call insignificant and which you call magnificent. Bless it all, Lord of Compassion, and love what only you can love: the ugly, and abandoned and unsanitary in the wash of humanity, upon which you have nothing but a gleaming compassion.
Lord of Compassion who saw the Widow of Nain, we thank you for seeing us. Seeing our loneliness and our bravery. Seeing the times we can’t say what we need to. Seeing the ones who suffer in silence. Seeing the moments when we are more than we thought we could be. Seeing what no one else can or will. We praise you for seeing as beautiful what we call ugly and that in your compassion you wipe away all tears.
Reach out once again and wipe our tears and raise us, Lord of compassion. Touch us as you did the wood on which the widow’s son lay dead and speak those same words to us: "Young man arise. Little girl, get up." To those who think they are not worthy to be loved and medicate themselves with food and booze and shopping, say “rise up.” To us who have been hurt by those who say they follow you, say “rise up.” To the proud at heart who think they are not dead, say “rise up.” To the ones who care for the least of these and who feel too burnt out to keep going, say “rise up.” To we who are holding onto resentments like our own personal security blankets say, “rise up.” To those who hide their failings behind good works, say “rise up.” To the unloved child who has no idea that one day they will change the world, say “rise up." To the one who has given up, say “rise up.”
And when again, Lord of Compassion, you have raised the dead...when again you have made whole that which is broken, when again you have ripped out my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh, when again you have reached into the graves we dig ourselves and loved us back to life, help us, like the young man of Nain, to sit up and speak. Give us the words that are not empty praise or platitudes of piety, but give us strong words, as real as the very soil from which you raised us.
Give us the words to speak of you. And then, as you did the son to his mother, give us one to another, that when we speak others may hear and know that you are without question and without end the Lord of all Compassion. AMEN.