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.