Feb. 17, 2021
A daily prayer during this COVID-19 crisis
During these difficult days, members of the New England Conference Board of Ordained Ministry are sharing a daily prayer based on the Revised Common Lectionary for the week. You are welcome to use these in worship or in your own devotions.
And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
Hey, God --
Remember when I was seventeen and contemplating
bailing out on my parents’ church
and maybe bailing out on You
in all my teenage sophistication?
And how my parents bought me my own brand-spanking-new NIV Ryrie Study Bible
(with the genuine bonded leather burgundy cover and my name embossed in gold?)
Do You remember how I decided one day to read
the opening chapter of Mark’s breathless gospel,
really reading the words for myself for the first time?
And for the first time I found myselfWondering why Mark insisted that the heavens were “torn apart,” and not just “opened,” and
Yearning to hear Your tender words to Jesus for myself: “"You are my Son, whom I love” and
Smiling wryly at the thought of a long-haired, sandaled Nazarene
being “driven” into the wilderness
(my mind’s eye picturing a laughing Spirit gripping the wheel of
a speeding Jeep CJ-5 with the radio turned up and the top stowed down
and the still-wet-from baptism Jesus hanging on for dear life
as they bolt out into the desert for a mutual adventure.)
Do You remember?
Much later now, I remember.
And I’m so grateful for my own 40 days, 40 weeks, 40 years
in so many wildernesses since then,
and the syncopated rhythm of
temptations and rest, silence and resilience, friends and solitude
and the terrifying assurance of Your wild, unleashed presence
undergirding all of it.
Prayer by Rev. Mitchell Hay, Essex UMC, Essex, VT
Painting by Carol Aust, who has granted permission to churches to use the image with credit