Three Words

Break our hearts Holy God by the reality that faces so many of your people. Let the scales fall from our eyes so that we may see how our own choices and passive acceptance contribute to unrest and injustice.”

That’s part of a prayer I used in church Sunday. It was offered by some of the leadership of my denomination following a week of war, refugees, and a downed airplane. Use was strictly voluntary. I scanned it briefly and decided it would be helpful.

Only I didn’t scan it close enough. Because where the congregation heard me pray “our own choices and passive acceptance contribute to unrest . . . ” what the prayer actually said was “our own choices and passive acceptance of U.S. policy contribute to unrest . . . ” I didn’t see those three words until the I was standing in the pulpit leading the prayer.

And I choked.

Moments like that reveal your instincts. You default to your training. My instincts and training are to avoid politicking in the pulpit.

It would be one thing if I’d reckoned with it earlier and stuck through “of U.S. policy” in a conscious decision to omit it. I didn’t. I saw it there on the page charging me like an angry buck, and I dodged it.

After the service I confided in a colleague about it in a text message. She replied, “Don’t worry. Jesus died on the cross so you don’t have to afflict the comfortable.”

It’s much more likely that you’ll choke if you’re not prepared.


3 thoughts on “Three Words

  1. I’m believe you did the right thing. I am disturbed when prayers are used to make political or theological points. Public prayers are problematic. Jesus spoke strongly against the kind he heard. Perhaps we should stick to the outline of the Lord’s Prayer and forgo preaching, politicking, and personal confession. Of course, on the other hand, we have a good number of Psalms that pray for the deaths of enemies. How can humility and honesty go together when we pray together?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s