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Prayer for the World February 28, 2023

Believe That Change is Possible


Introduction

In our prayer and reflection today, we will listen again to the words of the young poet, Amanda Gorman, spoken on the day of President Biden’s inauguration.  In this poem she uses words to “envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal.”  It is the voice and heart of one who believes that change is possible.  The following song also carries a message of faith and hope.

 

Song:  How Can I Keep from Singing? By Robert Lowry

 

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth’s lamentation,

I catch the sweet, though far-off hymn

That hails a new creation.


Refrain:

No storm can shake my inmost calm While to that Rock I’m clinging; Since Love is Lord of heav’n and earth, How can I keep from singing?


Through all the tumult and the strife,

I hear that music ringing;

It finds an echo in my soul—

How can I keep from singing?


The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing!

All things are mine since I am His—

How can I keep from singin


Poem for Reflection

Amanda Gorman finished the poem, titled "The Hill We Climb," the night after pro-Trump rioters sieged the Capitol building earlier this month. “In my poem, I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen over the past few weeks and, dare I say, the past few years. But what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal,” she explained to the New York Times. “It’s doing that in a way that is not erasing or neglecting the harsh truths I think America needs to reconcile with.”


Excerpts from “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

 

“…We are striving to forge a union with purpose,to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters andconditions of man. 

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.  We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. 

We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.We seek harm to none and harmony for all. 

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true, that even as we grieved, we grew, that even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we'll forever be tied together, victorious.  Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”


Silent Reflection


Reading (Poem by Amanda Gorman continued)

“Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid. If we're to live up to our own time, then victory won't lie in the blade.  But in all the bridges we've made, that is the promise to glade, the hill we climb.  If only we dare….We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it.Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.  And this effort very nearly succeeded.  But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.In this truth, in this faith we trust…..


But one thing is certain, If we merge mercy with might, and might with right,then love becomes our legacy, and change our children's birthright.So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with….When day comes we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it.  For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it.  If only we're brave enough to be it.”


The following poem expresses ways our Lenten Fast can contribute to the change we long to see:


Poem Lenten Fasting for Feast of Transforming Grace

Fast from Words that Divide, Feast on words that invite

Fast from ‘Either | Or’ thinking, Feast on ‘Both | And’ living

Fast from convincing certitude,  Feast on space for uncertainty

Fast from anger, Feast on space for serenity

Fast from algorithms, Feast on discernment

Fast from fear,  Feast on being willing to speak

Fast from isolation,  Feast on connection.

 

Silent Reflection


Song:  Canticle of the Turning, by Rory Cooney

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