10 Nov Believing in Beginnings
What a gift this unusual, unexpected, glorious weather has been. “More like May than November” is the way one weather forecaster described it. And while I know it won’t last, that winter is surely on the way, I’ve needed and enjoyed the respite. I’ve reveled in the warmth on my face and the sight of autumn leaves shimmering red and yellow in the bright sunshine. I’ve appreciated setting out for my morning walk in yoga pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt rather than bundled up in cap and gloves and coat. It’s done my heart, soul, mind and body good to snatch a few minutes here and there to rake, pull weeds, and wash my car.
All the while I’ve been thinking and praying about the myriad events and issues happening in our lives: the surge of coronavirus cases, the election, Veteran’s Day tomorrow, the approaching holidays and how Covid-19 is shaping what is safe to do and with whom. My daughter, a physical therapist who works in a hospital in the Denver area, has been assigned to the Covid floor for the past week. She reports that her hospital now has more cases than they did when things were shut down in March and April. Five of their ICU nurses have contracted the virus and are unable to work. I am deeply troubled and concerned for my daughter’s health and safety. She, along with hundreds of thousands of front-line workers around the country, are at risk every day as they care for the ill, the elderly, and the dying, or respond to emergencies as firefighters, police and EMT’s.
I am grateful that the Apostle Paul was well aware that there are times when we are carrying so much that words do not come easily, not even in prayer. Instead, the Holy Spirit prays for us, interceding “with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27, emphasis added).
In addition to help from the Spirit of God, I am also grateful for the help that comes to us from other saints along this journey we call faith. Today, when words are not coming easily for me, I share the profound words of the Rev. Dr. Theodore Loder who penned this prayer:
God of history and of my heart,
so much has happened to me during these whirlwind days:
I’ve known death and birth;
I’ve been brave and scared;
I’ve hurt, I’ve helped;
I’ve been honest, I’ve lied;
I’ve destroyed, I’ve created;
I’ve been with people, I’ve been lonely;
I’ve been loyal, I’ve betrayed;
I’ve decided, I’ve waffled;
I’ve laughed and I’ve cried.
You know my frail heart and my frayed history—
and now another day begins.
O God, help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I’ve failed before.
Help me to make beginnings:
to begin going out of my weary mind into fresh dreams,
daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now;
to begin forgiving
that I may experience mercy;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that I may know truth;
to begin disciplining
that I may create beauty;
to begin sacrificing
that I may accomplish justice;
to begin risking
that I may make peace;
to begin loving
that I may realize joy.
Help me to be a beginning for others,
to be a singer to the songless,
a storyteller to the aimless,
a befriender of the friendless;
to become a beginning of hope for the despairing,
of assurance for the doubting,
of reconciliation for the divided;
to become a beginning of freedom for the oppressed,
of comfort for the sorrowing,
of friendship for the forgotten;
to become a beginning of beauty for the forlorn,
of sweetness for the soured,
of gentleness for the angry,
of wholeness for the broken,
of peace for the frightened and violent of the earth.
Help me to believe in beginnings,
to make a beginning,
to be a beginning,
so that I may not just grow old,
but grow new
each day of this wild, amazing life
you call me to live
with the passion of Jesus Christ.
May it ever be so….