Hear our cry, O Holy One,
let our mourning rend your ears.
The fears for which there are no words,
the loss for which there are no tears:
the ashes of our hopes, our lives
say all we can, and no more.

The flames engulf the innocent,
the smoke of our burnt offerings rise,
offerings of our pride that makes others
our self-saving sacrifice.
Have mercy on us, and those who mourn.
Give us grace in our weakness.

O Holy One, have mercy,
and let our anguish rend your heart.
How long will you hold us to the heat
of our sin, yet make others pay?
The greed we’ve burned the world with,
the hate that scorches our kin?
Forests and prairies go up in smoke,
black bodies fall in blood,
we pass the plague among us,
our selfishness unmasked.
How long will you give us such freedom
to harm, to shoot, to demonize,
to split ourselves from each other
and from our very life?

O Gracious God, the smoke of mystery
clouds our eyes;
and yet we see you here,
moving among those who help,
who give themselves to calm the flames,
to heal the sick, to defend the poor.
You who brought us through the Red Sea,
bring us through again.
You who defended the lives of slaves
rise, and act, for so you always do.
May our hope be your worship;
may our justice be your praise.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

September 14, 2020

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