Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, reviving my practice in the Lenten season of 2017, I revise the prayers I wrote then for each of the forty days of this Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, a concern weighing on my mind and heart or a care of my soul and spirit.
On the restlessness of early morn (being a meditation on Ephesians 5.15-16)…
O Lord, I awoke in this morning’s wee hours upon my bed of ease with its firm mattress and clean, crisp sheets soothing the mild infirmities of my aging flesh (did You, O Lord, stir me from my rest?).
Rising, I was led to the window (by You, O Lord?).
There standing, further bidden (by You, O Lord?), I gazed up into Your sky; alit by Your distant vapor-veiled, full, pre-Easter Day moon and, farther still, Your winking stars.
I wondered (did You, O Lord, disturb my mind with this thought?) about the eyes of others, my sisters and my brothers of the human family in which You birthed me to share, who also gazed into Your infinite space; though not with the liberty I enjoy, but without choice, for they had no other place to be, but out-of-doors, in open-air.
The homeless, fending for themselves on dim-lit streets and darkened alleys, lacking sufficient means to inhabit abodes on avenues with names and numbered addresses called their own.
The refugees, by ruthless powers and principalities heedless of human kindness, forced, bomb-strafed, from their homes to set off across unforgiving terrain toward unfamiliar lands praying for uncertain asylum.
The abused, in fear, fleeing olden lovers, who, now, are habitual transgressors of all sense of sanctity and safety.
The fresh innocence of youth, held captive, cruelly coerced to barter their bodies to favor lustful hearts and hands.
The addicted with stung, needle-marked flesh, lolling brows and listless bodies.
And they, aye, all of us seeking shelter where, if it can be found, taking cover under a hovering, crowning viral threat.
O Lord, I wish none of this was true; all of it, an ephemeral image, a dream, a nightmare from which all awaken sheltered from harm.
Alas, all and more, is true. As true, my heart is not, cannot be tranquil.
O Lord, I beseech You, tell me what to do? What do I do? What can I do?
Endnote: Ephesians 5.15-16 (my emphasis): Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. The writer’s primary point, as I interpret it, is a summons to those who follow Christ to reject the ways of their former lives. However, the crux of the word “the days are evil” strikes a resonant chord in my heart. For so much of what I behold and capture in this prayer is, for me, the personification of evil; all that denies and defies God.