Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Sunday Prayer for Haiti Relief (guest minister)

Dear Blog Readers:  This prayer was given Sunday morning at First Parish (UU) in Arlington, MA, by my friend and colleague John Gibb Millspaugh, who serves as co -minister with his wife Sarah at Winchester, MA.  He is the chair of the UUA Ethical Eating Study Action Task Force and author of A People So Bold: Theology and Ministry for Unitarian Universalists.

the Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh:

A Haitian prayer book, entitled God Is No Stranger, includes the following prayer:  “Father, I have learned that one strong in calculation is called a ‘mathematician.’ You are the greatest mathematician because You can count all the people yet still see each one of us.”

Those words find new poignancy in the aftermath of the earthquake on January 12, in which tens of thousands of people lost their lives, their homes, their families and loved ones.

We who have watched from afar have felt helpless, powerless, in the face of this tragedy, forgetting that we do have the capacity to make a difference, one life at a time.

Let us enter that space of silence and honesty known by many names. Let us pray.

Spirit of Life; Sacred Presence; Web of Life, Death, and Renewal:

Our hearts have been opened to all who suffer as a result of the earthquake in Haiti.  We have seen-on our televisions and computer screens and in our newspapers–the shattered buildings, the hastily erected shanty towns, survivors struggling to find their kin, or just food and water; so many lives in ruins.

We have learned about the country’s staggering poverty that preceded this most recent disaster, and learned about our own privilege.

In times like these we stand in confusion before the global forces that shape our lives, in awe before the mystery.

Spirit of Life and Love,

Even as we have witnessed death sweep the landscape,

we know that life renews itself, and renews itself even now,

as human good springs up in the face of disaster, and people reach out to one another within neighborhoods and across oceans, serving one another across every difference.

We pray for the people of Haiti, that they know the people of the world stand with them as they face the challenges ahead.  We pray for those in the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and other relief organizations, that they may act from ongoing wisdom, and courage, and compassion.

We pray for ourselves and other people living in comfort, that our hearts might be opened to generously support these other human beings facing a tragedy we cannot comprehend, but that they must live through.  May we open our hearts and our wallets to them, as they work to rebuild what they can.

Spirit of Life; Web of Life, Death, and Renewal,

Help us, too, in our own lives’ struggles, which matter even though others always face greater challenges than ours.  There are those among us in this community who are sick, those of us who are grieving, those of us who have not yet discovered our substantial power to bless the world.

We pray for support amidst our struggles, that we might find the courage and grace to move closer to healing, closer to the sacred potential of our lives.  We pray for strength, and finally we pray for gratitude: for all that is not lost, for the ever-renewing powers of life, for all that can be rebuilt.

And we join in this time of silence, in which we lift up the meditations of our hearts.


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