Sunday, October 14, 2018


We have known forever that you call to obedience,
                                     that our obedience to your purposes
                                          brings well-being,
                                     that our departure from you may
                                          bring trouble,
                                     that life proceeds on a tight calculus
                                          of expectation and requirement,
                                     that in your awesome rule there is rigor
                                          along with generosity.

We have set out to be your faithful people
and then we fall into an unintended brokenness.
   We know about alienation from you and loss;
   we know about shame before our neighbors
               and embarrassment in the family;
    we know about the will to hide and become invisible,
    and we are consumed by depths of remorse.

When we are able, we come out of hiding long enough to face you.
                               We know all the cadences of confession and
                                   and that we have no secrets not already
                                         known to you.
                                We sense before you our deep dread of failure
                                      and our last shred of innocence gone.

We ask forgiveness and wait,
     at times before your presence we wait a very long time
        as we know of your silence and absence in our bottomness.

But we know more!
We know of your unfailing love,
                     your willing generosity,
                     your readiness to remember our sin no more.

And so,
      after shame before neighbor,
      after embarrassment within family,
      after dread before you,
we wait and then eventually you appear,
                                             you reach,
                                             you speak,
                                             you touch.
You give yourself to us without judgment---
          after we have judged ourselves.

You invite us to your presence,
            to the table of your feast,
            to your walk of companionship,
            to your mission of well-being.
We take timid steps toward home and are welcomed.

Now, in this hour of free-fall,
    be your good self again,
    meet us not according to our flaw
    but according to your generous self-giving;
    Be our Christmas,
       and start the world again;
    Be our Easter,
       and draw us from death to new life;
    Be our Pentecost,
       and breathe on us to begin again;
    Be your full, generous self toward us;
       we will begin again in obedience,
             and as we can obey,
        we will begin again
             in wonder, love, and joy.

Walter Brueggemann

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