Sunday, December 13, 2015

For a Sunday in Troubled Times

Hanukkah - 4th Night
This year Hanukkah coincided with the very early days of Advent, the ever-shortening days here in the Northern Hemisphere...and a week of troubling, vitriolic rhetoric from Canada's dear old neighbour to the south.

This week brought the first Syrian refugees to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, people who have been living in camps for years.  I can't quilt fast enough...

These events have also given opportunity for personal reflection on the Way of the World and one's role in it.  In my quiet time, I found this prayer, which seems to sum up my pondering so perfectly...and I share it with you now.

From A Book of Uncommon Prayer by Kenneth Phifer (The Upper Room, 1986):

I Am Not Sure of Love

O Lord, I live in a world of angry men and women.
I am often angry myself at threats to my values,
   at brutal disregard for the institutions I hold dear.
Where do I belong in such a world?
Where does the Lord Jesus belong?
Is love weak,
    too weak to be creative?
Is compassion sheer sentiment?
Is this a time to be hard and tough?
My emotions tell me so some of the time.
Then at other times I see Him moving
   amid the shadows of history.
I see Him angry, too,
   at evidences of injustice
      and mistreatment of His fellow men.
I hear Him lash out
   at self-righteousness and complacency,
I watch Him at last,
     when anger is done and the sharp words said,
   stake His life on love and self-sacrifice.
I behold Him die and hear Him say,
     "Father, forgive them
     for they know not what they're doing."
And somehow, O God,
   deep inside me I know love is not weak;
     it is I who am weak.
Love is indomitable and irresistible.
Hate is weakness.
Vengeance is futile,
   and violence is self-defeating.

Help me, for it is hard
     to stand by what I do know deep inside.
It is so much easier to curse
     than to bless,
It is easier to pronounce maledictions
     than to pronounce benedictions.
It is easier to shout others down
     than to sit down with others.
It is easier to be loud
     than to listen.
O God of all people,
    Who does not separate us into good and bad
       but into loving and unloving,
  I need Your help lest I tear things up.
You have offered to help me, I know,
   and I hold back.
Can you push a little harder?
I want to be more loving,
   and I am afraid.

Hear my prayer.
Make my commitment to love
   more than good intentions.  Amen.


Art by Rhoda Forbes said...

I so agree, it is a troubling world we live in now. I have been watching on the TV, the refugees arriving, thank goodness they can begin a new chapter in their lives without war all around them.

elle said...

well said! :)

Sha said...

thankyou for the prayer - it does offer one a chance to stop and think and listen - regardless of what religion one is guided by - the word are true for all.

Gina said...

Beautiful prayer poem.

Jo Ferguson said...

A beautiful poem that says it all. Thank you.

Maggi said...

Powerful. Thank you for sharing this.