A prayer about writing and praying.


What are your words to your people? Or is it,

What are your words to my people? Or is it,

Where are my words to your people? Or is it,

What are my words to my people? Or is it, 

What are the words that I type, and you and I talk about, and I shape and you shape and I accept responsibility for finally hitting send, that are to me, when I listen, and are interacted with by people created by you, spending time reading for a variety of reasons, finding things that resonate with conversations you are already having with them, or that resonate because they are amusing or different, or that don’t resonate simply because they don’t on any given day? 

God, what I realize as I write this is that sometimes I spend time in the rhetoric of the Middle Ages, where hierarchies were well established and the writer or speaker paid attention to getting the formality of the opening and closing exactly right so as to not offend, and so as to gain the best outcome. 

We see it when we worry about saying “Dear ” in the right way and we make sure we say, “Your Will” enough and we end with “in Jesus’ name” (or “through Christ our Lord”) and say “amen” an appropriate number of times.

It was about being stuck and powerless and distant and formulaic.

And we forget, perhaps, that when Martha said, “Jesus, tell Mary to help me,” she was not worrying about the formula, she was concerned about getting dinner ready for a bunch of people and about a sister who was doing what she always did. Avoiding work.

And when we listen to your words to Martha, we think the lesson is to stop being so busy. But we never think, “I should have honest conversations with you about every part of my life, including the people that annoy me. Including, of course, me.”