Raw and Real

Published: Monday, 25 March 2013

A Community Prayer created by Bev Patterson and led by Bev and John in today’s Palm Sunday Service (24 March 2013) at ABC.

palm-sundayFather God

We come to you today with the intention of being real,

Raw and real,

About our world and how it is, about being human and how we can feel.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a stroke patient struggles to move her arm, flex her fingers.  The movements that came without a thought yesterday are impossible today, and she cries in frustration at the pain of therapy.

Today, a man reels in the face of redundancy.  After years on the factory floor he has been discarded, shattered to the core of his being.  Now there is the indignity of Centrelink interviews, with a 20-year old (what would sheknow?!) and there simply are no jobs for older workers anyway.

We bring you frustration and despair ---

And we pray for people such as these.

We bring you our own frustration, the times we never seem to win.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a man dutifully mows his lawn.  His wife has gone out, with friends he does not know.  Their whole lives are lived apart.  They ‘stay together for the kids’ but have little to say to each other.  There is no-one in whom the man can confide.

Today, a woman newly widowed wanders aimlessly through the house.  The phone does not ring; it is so quiet.  Funny, they’d always bickered about the dog, the rubbish, the remote control – now she’d do anything to hear his voice, any voice.

We bring you loneliness ---

And we pray for people such as these.

We bring you our own loneliness, and the deep connections for which we yearn.

Today, somewhere in Melbourne, a mother lifts her disabled adult son from his bed, to and from the toilet, urges him to swallow from her outstretched spoon.  Hers is the only care he has known, and she will not give him up – but she is so alone, and so so tired.

Today, perhaps in the White House, a leader reflects on national leadership.  The President of the United States worries about the gun culture tearing American communities apart.  They tell him he is the most powerful man in the world, yet he feels impotent - how to move forward against the might of the gun lobby?

We bring you the burden of responsibility ---

And we pray for people such as these.

We bring you the responsibility we carry - in our families, our work – and how on occasion we would like to just walk away.

Today, somewhere in the world, a man makes a bomb, and carefully calculates the area over which it will do most damage. 

Today, somewhere near that bomb-maker, a mother buys fruit at a market, and is maimed for life when the bomb is detonated.

Today, somewhere near that market, a Red Cross surgeon is very angry, disgusted by yet another pointless amputation, the insanity of war. 

We bring you the violence in our world ---

And we pray for people such as these. 

We bring you the violence that lurks in us, our wanting to hit out in temper or bring someone else down.

Today, somewhere in this church,

Someone battles ill-health with dignity, without complaint, and we do not know what they suffer.

Someone struggles with retirement, not the unbroken pleasure it was meant to be.

Some one of our pastors is unsettled and stressed about a church issue.

Someone has no friends at school, and is laughed at cruelly.

Someone is unsure of her faith, someone else self-satisfied in hers.

Some know this ABC as the wrapping of a warm blanket.  Someone feels invisible, a stranger in the crowd.

And we take on board those who have known sudden illness, such as

  • Cancer patient M________ in QLD, who receives our quilt;
  • Our friend D_____________, experiencing sight issues while travelling in America, the doctor become a worried patient;
  • And G___________, recovering (adjusting to ‘dependence on a battery’ he jokes), but aware that heart troubles are always confronting.

We bring you vulnerability in many forms ---

And we pray for people such as these.

And we bring you something vulnerable about ourselves, something true and personal for us today.

Today, somewhere in the world, a baby is born, and a new Dad, filled with wonder, vows to be the ‘best father ever’!

Today, somewhere in the world, new Christians are baptised, and, overjoyed and strengthened by the sense of God’s Spirit, determine to face any ridicule or opposition that may come.

We bring you celebration and immense hopefulness ---

And we pray for people such as these.

And we thank you for all of life’s joys that we have known.

Because you walked our dusty roads ---

Because at Palm Sunday you knew vulnerability, and loneliness while a city cheered, a huge weight of responsibility and the desperate fear of violence to come ---

Because you are a God who feels and knows ---

Stir us to tell you things just as they are

No platitudes, no religious-speak,

But just as we are,

Raw and real.  

And help us, as we dare this, to discover in you a place that is accepting

A haven with you that is very very safe.