off

A Prayer For Trying Times

Daily Devotional for Friday, October 9, 2020 from Rev. Robert Johnson


For today’s Daily Devotion, I am sharing an item from The Atlantic magazine earlier this year. James Parker gives us a prayer for these trying times. 

Read below. Listen here.

Dear Lord,

In this our hour of doorknobs and droplets,
when masks have canceled our personalities;
in this our hour of prickling perimeters, sinister surfaces,
defeated bodies, and victorious abstractions,
when some of us are stepping into rooms humid with contagion,
and some of us are standing in the pasta aisle;
in this our hour of vacant parks and boarded-up hoops,
when we miss the sky-high roar of the city
and hear instead the tarp that flaps on the unfinished roof,
the squirrel giving his hingelike cry, and the siren constantly passing,
to You we send up our prayer, as follows:

Let not heebie-jeebies become our religion,
our new ideology, with its own jargon.
Fortify us, Lord. Show us how.
What would your saints be doing now?
Saint Francis, he was a fan of the human.
He’d be rolling naked on Boston Common.
He’d be sharing a bottle. No mask, no gloves,
shielded only by burning love.
But I don’t think we’re in the mood
for feats of antic beatitude.
In New York City, and in Madrid,
the saints maintain the rumbling grid.
Bless the mailman, and equally bless
the bus driver, vector of steadfastness.
Protect the bravest, the best we’ve got.
Protect the rest of us, why not.
And if the virus that took John Prine
comes, as it may, for me and mine,
although we’ve mostly stayed indoors,
well—then, as ever, we’re all Yours.

Until further notice,

AMEN.


About the Author
Robert Johnson is the pastor of the New Hanover Presbyterian Church - and feels blessed to be there! “New Hanover is a uniquely caring and close community” said Dr. Johnson. “Serving here has been a great privilege for me, and has given me a real sense of joy in ministry!” Robert has been at NHPC since 2015. Before serving this congregation, he was a parish pastor in Ohio and Virginia, a theologian in the Office of Theology and Worship of the PC(USA), and a missionary in Pakistan where he was a college and seminary professor. Originally from the Great State of Texas, he has degrees from Austin College, Princeton Theological Seminary and holds the Ph.D. from Union Seminary in Virginia. Robert enjoys cooking, travel, reading up in World and National affairs and playing at singing, guitar, bass guitar and trombone. His wife of 36 years, Marianne Vermeer, is the Chief Administrative and Financial Officer for the Medicines for All Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University. They have two adult sons, Nathan and Peter and an elderly dog named Cinnamon.