Grace and Peace to you.
By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down
and there we wept when we remembered Zion. …
O, you devastators! Happy shall they be
who take your little ones
and dash them against the rock!
—Psalm 137.1, 8-9
I don’t ask you to pray this prayer.
I don’t ask you to feel this rage, this sorrow.
Maybe it’s just not your psalm.
But it is someone’s.
I ask you to hold them while they weep,
Just be present for them, maybe hold their lyres
they can’t hold because their hands are shaking.
Maybe it’s their sons shot in the streets,
or their neighborhoods plundered by poverty.
Maybe it’s their lands ravaged by industry’s hunger,
or they’re weeping over the people they loved
that drove them out with war.
But don’t be foolish: they don’t want to kill babies.
They want to stop evil from begetting more evil.
Don’t tell them to calm down, to stand for the anthem,
to be patient, to reassure you with their restraint.
They need to cry out and we need to listen.
Let them pray a psalm that is not yours,
Let them pray a prayer of hope
bundled like a refugee’s belongings in rags of despair.
Be silent, hold the space for them
and let them pray what sometimes
we don’t have the guts to pray.
Listen to them,
they will give us the guts.
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