Before and After

(Note: This prayer is also suitable for use with the Elijah-Elisha text and the Luke 9:51-62 text )

Here we stand, O God,
feet turned toward the future
while awkwardly facing backward.

Strangely contorted by thoughts of the lives we lived:
B.E. -- Before the earthquake in Haiti
B.A . -- Before the ash cloud in Iceland
B.F. -- Before the floods in the South
B.H. -- Before the hurricanes, tornadoes and killer storms
B.O. -- Before the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

The more we crave stability,
the more things seem to change us
as we struggle to remember how things were:

B.W. -- Before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
B.K . -- Before the waters of Katrina
B.T . -- Before the Twin Towers came crashing down.

God,
collect our tears
as we mourn the transition of one era
eerily into another.
Deliver us from the paralyzing nostalgia we harbor
for a way of life that has been irrevocably altered.

Heal our broken-heartedness over the
many lives that have been lost,
birds that will never again answer creation in song,
sacred sites we can no longer revisit,
houses that will never be homes again,
lost photographs that will never be framed,
lost memories, we find difficult to retrieve.

Fill our hearts and our lives with love
for new friends and neighbors,
for new churches and places of rest,
for new nooks and crannies to hold us,
and a newfound responsibility
not only for the brothers and sisters of global humanity,
but also for the very earth that we share with everything God has made.

Heal us of brokenness, anxiety and confusion
And give us courage to let go of things past
In order to face a hopeful future
That has always been in your hands.

Amen.

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