We hear Jeremiah’s words to you and they could be our words.
You spoke to him. You said, “I know you.” You said, “Speak for me.”
Jeremiah said, “I don’t know how to speak. I am too young.”
You speak to us and we say, “I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too uncertain. I’m too different. I’m too tired. I’m too outside the cool people. I’m too ignorant. I’m too confused. I’m too involved with these other things you gave me to do.”
But what we are really saying is what Jeremiah was really saying: “I’m too afraid.”
We’re afraid of others. We are afraid of ourselves. We are afraid of you. We are afraid we will say the wrong things to the wrong people in the wrong way. We are afraid we will be condemned or shamed or ignored. We are afraid we will say something is from you, and it will be from us. We are afraid we will tell people you will do something, and then you won’t. Like healing our loved one. Like rescuing our hearts. Like saving our lives.
- We confess that we are afraid of you.
- We confess that we see you more like Moses saw you on Mount Sinai than like the writer of Hebrews saw you on Mount Zion.
- Welcoming with open arms and hole-marked hands.
- Powerful for us not against us.
- Surrounded by delighted angels inviting us to join the delight.
- Joined in reality, though not yet visibly, to a whole community of people from the criminal on the cross to my dad, from Mary and Mary and Mary to my grandma Hazel.
We confess that we forget you love us and them. And we confess that we forget that you have and are and will forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Remind us of your powerful presence. Help us respond with thankfulness rather than defensiveness, holiness rather than hollowness, hospitality for others rather than arrogance for getting it right.
Because the life you give us, the healing you give us, the message you give us is for the good of others, not just us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Jeremiah 1:4-10; Hebrews 12:18-29
This prayer (and a year’s worth) are available in “God. We Need You”: A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel. I’d love for you to have your own copy.