Writing Down Our Joys And Concerns

Good people of West Parish,

We first tried it on April 7. And then we tried it again this past Sunday. The members of our Worship Ministry thought it was a good idea, and so did I. We wrote down our joys and concerns. And I received each one, and prayed each one, and contacted those of you who had written your name.

Why did we do the prayers this way? Because speaking aloud in church is easy for some, but not for others. Because some prayers can be shared publicly, and others cannot. Because sometimes we have tidy words for our prayers, and sometimes we don’t. Because sometimes we can hear others’ prayers of concern, and sometimes it is too overwhelming. Because writing down our prayers gives us ALL an opportunity to give voice to our fears and hopes. And I cannot tell you how profoundly moving it was to receive your prayers. 40 of you placed slips of paper in the offering plates. I held each one with reverence, and prayed each one of your prayers. 17 of you included your name. I sent you each an email. And I was astounded at the breadth and depth of our longing, fear, suffering and hope. We are all going through something. We are all carrying prayers — sometimes hidden — which we desperately desire to be heard.

I am grateful to all of you for sharing your prayers with God, and with me. My hope is that we might find a place and a time for us to share in this deep way face to face, to connect from our most tender places. I will be away this weekend, but will continue to hold all of you in my prayers — for the healing, strength, peace and change for which we long for ourselves, those we love, and the world.