A prayer for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary time, and for my grieving friends.

God.

We talk about you taking sides, about being on your side.

We test whether people are on our side and use that as a way to measure

where they are with you. Or you are with them.

I think we get it wrong, most of the time.

Especially when we use out prosperity to measure your affection,

our health to measure your blessing,

our recovery to measure the quality of our faith and prayer.

And yet.

As the song says, “If God had not been by our side when we were trapped and attacked by the steely cold anger and fiery hot rage of the overwhelming enemies, we would have been overwhelmed.”

So in the days before the Israelite exiles were in the trap, about to be butchered, you gave courage to Esther and Mordecai.

God.

In a week when so many friends lost so many loved ones,
the grief and the details threaten to overwhelm.

It’s not the trap of overwhelming enemies,
it’s the inevitable death at the end of each life.

But as the psalmist turned to you as the one who made heaven and earth,
we turn to you as the one who understands life and death, and life again.

You have made us, and have lived in the world you made.

And so we come to you as one who is by our side.

On this day, in these days,
would you bring healing to the hearts of my friends?
Would you bring health to the bodies of our community?
Would you bring hope to the lives of your people, and through us, to everyone?

Would you draw us to your wounded side as you are at our side?

Through Christ our Lord we ask.

Amen.

+++

Reflecting on Psalm 124 and Esther 7