A Prayer Entitled, “Cross-Shaped Eyes”

A prayer prepared for public worship on July 10, 2016—a tough week (another tough week?) for us all. 

Lord Jesus,

Our mothers used to warn us: “Don’t watch too much TV—your eyes will turn to squares.” As adults, we wake to find our mother’s words ring true.
We have televisions and tablets and iPhones and Androids.
And they have, indeed, given us square-shaped eyes.

The blue light of our devices glazes our eyes, and slowly blinds them.
Though they bring us bad tidings of great sorrow for all people,
We cannot see them. Seeing, we do not see. Reading, we do not read:

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and Brent Thompson
Patrick Zamarripa and Michael Krol and Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith.

The names pass our eyes like the ten million images we see each day.
Though we know we ought to be stunned by sorrow and confused by chaos,
we realize, to our surprise, we are numbed to pain.
The blue light of our screens have dulled our feelings: there is nothing there.

Like the lepers You healed of old, like the paralytics You commanded to rise,
our hearts, like their limbs, are without sensation: dull, lifeless, unfeeling.

Then there’s You.
You, our Suffering King, are acquainted with grief.
You, our Slaughtered Lamb, know what it is to be stricken and afflicted.
You, our Yahweh, He-Who-Is, know pain.

(deeply, intimately, profoundly)

You come to us, eyes squinting with pain, shoulders hunched by the weight of your griefs.
You spit in the dirt, and make mud.
You rub the dirt-You-made-on-the-dirt-you-made,
And suddenly, we see and we discover:

Square-shaped eyes cannot see what we must see. Only cross-shaped eyes can do that.

Like the lepers You healed of old, like the paralytics You commanded to rise,
our hearts, like their limbs, start to tingle: the stir to life, and we find that we feel.

So, we pray: open our eyes, heal our limbs, speak our hearts into feeling.
For you have shown us what is good, You have told us what you require:
to act justly,
to love mercy,
to walk humbly—and falteringly—
on legs newly healed, with eyes freshly opened.

We pray this in the name of our cross-shaped God.
His name is Jesus.

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