Lamentation to adulation

Every psalmist’s perilous journey

by Ken Sehested

Blessed One, whose name we dare not speak, but of whose
Presence we dare not remain silent, we stand before you with
hearts in shreds and hands frozen.

We know that we creatures were made for praise and thanksgiving.
We recognize that gratitude is our natural home.

But these are unnatural days. Instead of Heaven’s jubilation at
Creation’s unfolding, most of what we hear are the arias of agony
and the cornet’s sounding of retreat.

Sighs hover; cries haunt. And still your Face eludes.

Such is our distress: Our minds have forgotten the lyrics of assurance
our hearts, the melody of steadfast ardor. From all that we can see,
joy has crashed against the shoals of sorrow.

In our wavering confidence—just short of throwing in the towel, to
be rid of all aspiration for your Beloved Community—all we know
to do is to prostrate ourselves, to petition your long suffering Gaze,
for renewed vigor and purpose and courage.

Remind us again, O Holy Spirit, of that design by whose pattern we
were made. Call back to memory, Sweet Jesus, at whose table we eat
and drink, of whose feet we are to wash. Call us back to our right mind,
for clarity over the source and aim of our commission.

From the captivity of silence, give us speech; from our waywardness,
guide us back onto the Way. Grant the needed armor to withstand the
Deceiver’s assault. Restore sight to fading eyes; strength to feeble knees.
Lift our bodies from the slough of failed dreams, broken vows, and
sullied virtue.

Let the morning sun again rejoice even when shrouded in cloud.
Let every evening’s dark descent be occasion for rest rather than fright.

Adorn us again with the expectation of hope; of might’s manifestation
in mercy; of the crowning of peace by the coronation of justice. Open
again Heaven’s portal of adoration echoed in Earth’s just flourishing.

Gracious One, grant us the wherewithal to journey from Mary’s
annunciation, to Epiphany’s acclamation, through Lent’s interrogation,
all the way to Easter’s exultation.

Now. Forever. World without end. Amen.

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