Bishop Steven Charleston writes, “Help me call a blessing down, for I think our poor old world needs it.”
I have listened this week to folk bemoaning the downward movement of the stock market that diminished their retirement savings. I have heard expressions of real fear about what the president is doing and might do. Many people seem despondent about children taken from their parents and placed in detention centers. People are angry that two young children have died there in the past couple of weeks. People are embarrassed about the way other countries now view America. Every day, there is another reason to feel concern, anger, fear,and many other emotions about what our nation has become.
And on top of that, we see the grief and pain of people all over the world. They face repressive governments in countries like North Korea, Syria, Equatorial Guinea, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Yemen, Uzbekistan and the Central African Republic.
They have endured natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, volcanoes in Guatemala and Hawaii, the dust storm in India, the wildfires in California, flooding and mudslides in Japan, numerous earthquakes around the world. People are living in countries in the midst of wars that persist for decades.
They have witnessed with horror events like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school ahooting, the Waffle House shooting, the shooting at Santa Fe High School, the Capital Gazette shooting, the Jeffersontown, Kentucky shooting, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, the Thousand Oaks bar shooting, the Chicago Mercy Hospital shooting. All over the world, disasters — natural disasters and disasters caused by humans — have the power to bring us to our knees.
On our knees is perhaps the very place we must be. And as we fall to our knees to pray for our world, perhaps we might whisper the Hebrew phrase, Tikkum Olam, heal the world. Perhaps we might repeat the prayer of Bishop Steven Charleston:
Help me call a blessing down, for I think our poor old world needs it, a blessing of peace, a blessing of the ordinary, a blessing of national life without chaos and personal life without fear.
Help me pray a healing down, for I know how much we need it, a strengthening of the bonds between us, simple respect and patient listening, a new beginning for us all.
Help me welcome the sacred down, the wide-winged Spirit, drawn from every corner of heaven, to walk among us once more, to show us again how it can be, when justice is the path and love the destination.