The event of this week leave me without many words for this week’s Our Common Life. This Sunday is the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, and I will have more to say then. I will ask you all to please follow our service as you are able.
For now, I will repeat what I said in a brief video communication over Facebook: Let us not be afraid; rather, let us be determined. “For what does the Lord require of you,” asks the prophet Micah (6:8), “but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” So let us not waver in doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly. Let us not grow weary in praying for one another and for the welfare of our neighbors. Let us not grow weary in seeking out and delighting in what is good. Let us not grow weary in love.
If you are finding it hard to know what to pray, let me offer a few prayers from the Book of Common Prayer. In times of crisis, Christians have long found solace in praying the Great Litany (beginning on p. 148 of the Book of Common Prayer). Other prayers from the Prayer Book are below. But one can hardly do better than the Psalms. I might especially encourage you to pray through Psalm 37, especially the first part (verse 1-18):
Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; *
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
For they shall soon wither like the grass, *
and like the green grass fade away.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good; *
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
Take delight in the Lord, *
and he shall give you your heart’s desire.
Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him, *
and he will bring it to pass.
He will make your righteousness as clear as the light *
and your just dealing as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord *
and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, *
the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; *
do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off, *
but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.
In a little while the wicked shall be no more; *
you shall search out their place, but they will not be there.
But the lowly shall possess the land; *
they will delight in abundance of peace.
The wicked plot against the righteous *
and gnash at them with their teeth.
The Lord laughs at the wicked, *
because he sees that their day will come.
The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow to strike down the poor and needy, *
to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
Their sword shall go through their own heart, *
and their bow shall be broken.
The little that the righteous has *
is better than great riches of the wicked.
For the power of the wicked shall be broken, *
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
Prayers From the BCP:
For the Nation (p. 820)
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Nation (p. 258)
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the
earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace:
Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the
strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in
accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In Times of Conflict (p. 824)
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.