A few months ago, one of our vestry members made a marvelous suggestion. We need to find ways to connect to one another, she said, and not everyone likes connecting via the internet. What if we were to find a time to pray together as a parish, even if we weren’t able to see one another doing it, trusting that the Holy Spirit could bind us together even if we were praying in different places? And the Atonement Daily Prayer was born. Since then, we have invited you to offer a simple, common prayer together every day at 3:00 pm. The prayer that we created was very clearly a prayer for a pandemic; it was a prayer for healing, connection, and calm in a time when everything felt deeply unsettled and frightening. My friends, everything still feels deeply unsettled and frightening, but now the reasons go far beyond just COVID-19. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the tumultuous political situation in our nation right now keeps me up at night. I lie awake and pray…and fret about what the landscape will look like in a few months…and then realize that I’m fretting and so pray again. There are important things that we can all be doing right now. We can make sure we’re registered to vote and that we know exactly how we’re going to cast our ballot. We can make sure our elected officials have heard our positions on issues of justice, equality, and care for those who are in need. We can make sure that our interactions with others, wherever they stand on the political spectrum, are marked by honesty, mercy, courage, and compassion. And, my friends, we can pray. So today I invite you to join us in Atonement Daily Prayer, Part II. From now until Election Day, I encourage you to add this prayer for our nation to your daily prayers at 3:00 pm. The words are adapted from a prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. You will read in them an attempt to acknowledge some of the eternal tensions of our nation – that we are blessed and we are struggling, that we have much to be thankful for and we have much still to strive for. And that above all, we are in need of God’s mighty hand to rain justice and mercy, truth and love upon us and upon this land. Please. Pray.
Almighty God, who has created this good land and us, your children: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought here in many ways and out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.