Prayer & Praise
In your presence, in our seasons of ache and yearning and honesty, we know our right names.
In your presence we know ourselves to be aliens and strangers.
We gasp in recognition, taken by surprise at this disclosure, because we had nearly settled in and taken up residence in the wrong place.
For all of that, we turn out to be we strangers, unfamiliar with your covenant, remote from your people, at odds too much with sisters and brothers, we aliens, with no hope without promise with very little sense of belonging or knowing or risking or trusting,
It is in your presence that we come face to face with our beset, beleaguered existence in the world.
BUT You are the one who by your odd power calls us by new names that we can receive only from you and relish only in your company.
You call us now, citizens … with all the rights and privileges and responsibilities pertaining to life in your commonwealth.
You call us now saints, not because we are good or gentle or perfect, but because you have spotted us and marked us and claimed us for yourself and your purposes.
You call us members … and we dare imagine that we belong and may finally come home.
So with daring and freedom,we move from our old names known too well to the new names you speak over us, and in the very utterance we are transformed.
In the moment of utterance and transformation, we look past ourselves and past our sisters and brothers here present.
And we notice so many other siblings broken, estranged, consumed in rage and shame and loneliness, much born of wretched economics.
We bid powerfully that you name afresh all your creatures this day, even as you name us afresh.
We pray for nothing more and nothing less than your name for us all, utterly new, restored heaven and earth.
And we will take our new names with us when we leave this place, treasuring them all day long, citizen, saint, member, even as we take with us the odd name of Jesus.
Walter Brueggemann. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann (p. 98). Kindle Edition.