A Prayer for Faith in Difficult Times
Deborah Beach Giordano
© May 4, 2010
God is my rock, my shepherd
a mighty fortress, my defender;
I’ll be all right; there’s nothing to fear.
(That’s what I’ve been taught to believe.)
But sometimes, Lord,
I’m just whistling in the dark,
lying through my teeth;
I do worry; I am frightened. And angry.
Bad things happen,
there is sickness, poverty and death,
warfare, famine, and drought;
people murder and cheat and steal.
Fat cats ride in private jets
and dine on caviar;
as miners drop into deep dim pits
and die from poison gases,
Oil company profits soar,
their board members sip champagne,
while the ocean turns black and vile
and seabirds gasp for air.
The land is polluted,
the waters defiled,
And I’m supposed to … what?
Pretend it doesn’t happen?
Suck it up and go on my way
with a beatific smile?
No one would believe it.
There’s not a saintly bone in my body;
if I weren’t yelling or complaining,
people would be sure I was faking.
Besides, even Jesus had his days:
scolding the disciples,
arguing with the Pharisees,
overturning tables in the Temple.
The earth belongs to You, Holy One;
the Lord made that clear:
all those stories about the Master
who’d left the servants in charge,
and the tenants in the vineyard
who robbed the owner,
abused his servants,
and murdered his son.
These aren’t things
to take lightly or ignore;
we yearn to do something — anything —
to make it all right.
We’d give our own lungs
that dolphins and seals might breathe,
that crabs and crayfish,
lobsters and langostino,
and all that dwells in the sea
might swim to safety;
that turtles and terns,
ducks and pelicans,
gulls and geese,
could find an untainted shore;
our own hearts
that corporations might have compassion.
Yet these fine impulses,
so noble in intent, have no power —
for it is not within our ability
to surrender our life for others.
Such a sacrifice
was made Once and Forever
by the Only Son of God
(or so the doctrines insist).
But what if sacrifice
it isn’t another word for dying —
but about purpose and commitment:
a giving-over of life;
not tossing it aside,
but laying it down
like a paving stone;
a foundation: a dedication;
through faithful living
with vibrant hope, determination,
and deeds of courage.
Teach us, O Beloved,
what we can do,
where to begin,
and help us make a difference.