#Lament 100k Pentecost Sunday

Empty chairs public witness

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”— 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus knew what we numb ones must always learn again: that weeping must be real because endings are real; and that weeping permits newness. Christ’s weeping with us permits the kingdom to come. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling opens us to envision a new “normal,” to envision an America true to her dreams, true to our native land to have a new birth of freedom and justice for all. Lord, open our eyes to a new and holy vision that your people may be your people in the days to come. Make us brave, O Lord, together. Hear our prayer. Amen.

On this Sunday, Christians welcome the coming of the Holy Spirit as our Advocate to embolden us with the good news and push the church into public spaces. Even if we have to do this virtually, we can still be driven out into the world with a new vision for our world.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be the National day of Mourning and Lament. #Lament100k #DayofMourning

#Lament100k Saturday

Empty Chairs public witness

“May your way may be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations.”—Psalm 67:2

To those who have lost loved ones, we—your fellow citizens—offer you comfort, not condolence, empathy, not sympathy. As a people we have borne this pandemic’s cost in the lives of our families; as a nation we shall honor and mourn them together. Let peace and good health prevail among all the nations, O God, and may it be so in our own families, communities, states, and land on this day and each day to come. These families are your families, O Lord. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be the National day of Mourning and Lament. #Lament100k #DayofMourning

#Lament100k Friday

Empty chairs public witness

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”—Ephesians 4:1-2

As we American face together this unprecedented season, let love fills all our hearts, so that the greatness of our nation continues to break open before us. Draw every American, into the values of courage, duty, honorable action, self-sacrifice, generosity, neighborliness, responsibility, and mercy, which are the hallmarks of our country. Give us courage, O Lord. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be the National day of Mourning and Lament. #Lament100k #DayofMourning

#Lament100k Thursday

Empty Chair public witness

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”—Romans 12:15

Give us the gift of weeping, O God, for tears of love are always holy. It is not only our loved one who are lost, but our jobs, our neighborhoods, our familiarity with family, and graduations and classes. May our mourning, lamenting, remembering, and learning from these losses not disappear like water in sand, but push us to weep from time to time. Keep us tenderhearted, we pray. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be the National day of Mourning and Lament. #Lament100k #DayofMourning

#Lament100k Wednesday

Empty Chair public witness

“My companions and neighbors you have put away from me, and hidden my friends out of my sight.”—Psalm 88:18

O God, you are the Keeper of the Book of Life, and no one dies alone—but all under your loving gaze. So that their passing is not an empty data point on death’s grim graph, let us say the names of those who have died and to remember them. [Name the names of the dead here.] Into your hands, O Lord, we commend their spirits. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be the National day of Mourning and Lament. #Lament100k #DayofMourning

#Lament100k Tuesday

Empty Chair public witness

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”—Matthew 2:18

In all humility, we turn tour God today to honor our dead. We have had no time, no space, no moment to mourn. We made promises to love and protect our families, “til death do us part.” In their final days, we are heart-broken that we were apart from those who were dying. May they forgive us. May we forgive ourselves. We claim in faith that we are born from God, we live for God, and we return to God. We seek rest and time in you. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be a day of national lament and healing for our nation. #Lament100k

#Lament100k Monday

Empty Chair public witness

“How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations!”—Lamentations 1:1

O God, Creator of the universe, we stand before you as fragile humans, made only of earthy clay and Your breath. In all humility, we hold to you all those who are sick with the coronavirus, who are COVID positive, and all those who care for them and work intimately for their healing. We name the sick and hold them in Your healing light, O Lord. Hear our prayer.

This week our nation will cross a grim marker of 100,000 Americans dead from Covid-19. Many around the country will be putting out empty chairs at 12p noon on Monday, June 1, in public places with names or numbers or photos of those who have died. Monday, June 1, will be a day of national lament and healing for our nation. #Lament100k

Alice Kesner’s “The Peace Vigil”

6830081_550x550_mb_art_r0I’m not sure what to think about ending up as a minor character in a short story, except to say that I’m honored. Alice Kesner posted “The Peace Vigil” at Political Affairs magazine (tag line “Marxist Thought Online”).  I think she makes a good effort at crafting the “stuff” of life into the art of life–carving away what’s less important, so that the essential tensions and beauties stand out. Thanks, Alice! Here’s an excerpt:

Dusk, in the living room of a rambling, country-style house in Texas, where three women and two men are about to mark an important occasion. It’s the second anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, and while in urban places people are commemorating the day with antiwar marches and demonstrations, in this small Hill Country town these five folks are about to hold a peace vigil. …

At this moment, Bruce, who reclines at the other end of the sofa, waves some sheets of paper in the air. “Folks, I’ve got me some copies here of a humdinger responsorial by a Rose Marie Berger, hot off the Internet.” Bruce, who owns a thirty-acre pecan ranch, is slim, loose-jowled and rugged in blue jeans, sports jacket and the cowboy hat he always wears, even indoors. A friend of Mary’s from school days, and for a brief period a long time ago her lover, he finds himself, now twice divorced, drifting back into Mary’s emotional orbit.

Read Alice Kesner’s whole story here. If you want to read the litany she references,  see below.

Continue reading “Alice Kesner’s “The Peace Vigil””