A Prayer on Yom Kippur

On this day our Christian thoughts are turned
to Jewish possibilities of forgiveness and reconciliation.
On this day we stand with them in covenant,
before you,
before your Torah,
amid a world torn asunder.

Our thoughts are of death and destruction,
of fragility and life under threat.
We ponder cities mired in mud and
mountains wrecked in quake;
we notice melting ice and rising water;
we name places of violence
far away and close to home.

We tremble in our insecurity,
afraid to be victim,
but now and then noticing that we are perpetrators;
we finance and applaud faraway violence,
usually not naming the torn bodies or
raped mothers or forgotten children.
We feel uneasy but not frontally guilty,
not until we face your thoughts
that are remote from our thoughts;
we imagine that you think in grief and disappointment
over the mess we have made;
we imagine that you shudder in dismay and anger
over the violation of your good dream;
we imagine that you are ready to abandon us.

But we also imagine that your thoughts are interrupted
by your own poets and prophets,
who line out newness...
new exodus,
new covenant,
new forgiveness,
new life.

While we watch in our dis-ease,
we hear Easter news again,
and your resolve of new beginning.

And so we begin to move
from sadness to joy,
from hurt to dance,
from enslavement to freedom.

And then we wait again for your wonder to become visible
in the world of empires and colonies,
of mudslides and torrents.

We wait. Come fully, come soon.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People)

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