Lenten Prayers from Walter Brueggemann

The following two prayers are excerpted from a collection of Walter Brueggemann’s prayers Awed to Heaven Rooted in Earth (153-4). Brueggemann  is brilliant at exposing our complicity in systems of injustice (both in his scholarship and prayers). May these prayers guide us in this season of repentance:

Loss is Indeed Our Gain

The Pushing and Shoving in the world is endless.

      We are pushed and shoved.

      And we do our share of pushing and shoving

           in our great anxiety.

     And in the middle of that

           you have set down your beloved suffering son

           who was like a sheep led to slaughter

            who opened not his mouth.

     We seem not able,

     so we ask you to create space in our life

     where we may ponder his suffering

     and your summons for us to suffer with him,

     suspecting that suffering is the only way to newness.

So we pray for your church in these Lenten days,

     when we are driven to denial —

           not to notice the suffering, 

           not to engage it,

           not to acknowledge it.

So be that way of truth among us

       that we should not deceive ourselves

That we shall see that loss is indeed our gain.

We give you thanks for that mystery from which we live.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Revise our taking

You, You giver!

You have given light and life to the world;

You have given freedom from Pharaoh to your people Israel;

You have given your only Son for the sake of the world;

You have given yourself to us;

You have given and forgiven,

                 and you remember our sins no more. 

And we, in response, are takers:

       We take eagerly what you give us;

       we take from our neighbors near at hand as is acceptable;

       we take from our unseen neighbors greedily and acquisitively;

       we take from our weak neighbors thoutlessly;

       we take all that we can lay our hands on.

It dawns on us that our taking does not match your giving.

In this Lenten season revise our taking,

               that it may be grateful and disciplined

              even as you give in was generous and overwhelming.