I sometimes wonder if God
ever tires of our prayers.
Weekends must be the worst.
Friday prayers at the mosques,
Saturday appeals in the synagogues,
Sunday petitions from the churches.
An endless round of requests.
Do this, O Lord
and do that, Almighty God.
Watch over the sick,
care for the lonely,
help the poor,
encourage the unemployed,
bring peace among the nations.
As if addressing every human problem
great and small,
is part of God’s job description,
and somehow God has forgotten.
Someday I imagine
that God will lose patience
with our foolish words
and will tell us in no uncertain terms
that the care of the world,
the care of one another,
is our job.
“This is your mess, not mine,” God will say.
“Get busy and stop bothering me.”
Perhaps God will add with a chuckle,
“Amen, so be it.”
© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer
I am told that God answers prayer.
But then a few caveats are added,
meant to temper my expectation
for a quick and positive response.
First, they make it clear
that sometimes the answer will be “no.”
And secondly, I am told
I should not expect a speedy reply
because the answer will come in God’s time, not mine.
With seven billion people in the world,
if only a fraction pray every day
God’s in-box must be jammed 24/7.
The volume must be immense
since God also hears unspoken needs.
I wonder if God employs a triage system
so that brain cancer takes precedence over a math quiz.
Perhaps God weighs the requests on merit
based on an extraordinary need
or an intensity of feeling
or the strength of belief.
If so, my odds of getting through
are slim to none.
I have left messages, repeatedly,
but God never picks up.
Call me back.
© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer
When we pray
come, Lord Jesus—
do we mean to say:
come, you malnourished stranger
come, you unwanted migrant
come, you ragged child
come, you crying crack baby
come, you dirty panhandler
come, you dying alcoholic
come, you addicted whore
come, you imprisoned gangbanger
Come, and join us.
Share our table.
Be our guest.
© 2014 Kurt Struckmeyer
God of love,
source of mercy and compassion,
weave your dream for the world
into the fabric of our lives.
Remove the scales from our eyes
and lift the indifference from our hearts,
so that we may see your vision –
a new reign of justice and compassion
that will renew the earth.
Transform our lives,
so that we may accomplish your purpose.
Anoint us with your spirit of love
that we might bring good news to the oppressed,
bind up the brokenhearted,
and proclaim release to the captive.
Give us a new urgency
and a new commitment
to feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
shelter the homeless,
and visit those who live in isolation.
Help us to reach out to those
whom no one else will touch,
to accept the unacceptable,
and to embrace the enemy.
Surround us with your love,
fill us with your grace,
and strengthen us for your service.
Empower us to respond to the call of Jesus –
to deny ourselves,
to take up our crosses,
and to follow.
Make us your disciples.
© 2010 Kurt Struckmeyer
In a certain city there was a certain judge who did not fear God and who did not care about people. In that same city, there was a widow who kept coming to him and demanding, “Give me a ruling of vindication against my adversary.” For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I’m going to give her a favorable ruling, or else she’ll keep coming back until she wears me down!”
― Jesus (Luke 18: 1-8)
You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.
— Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939)
In a late night session on February 7, 2017, during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General, just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read comments made decades earlier by Edward Kennedy and Coretta Scott King that criticized the civil rights record of Senator Sessions. Warren was censured because Senate Rule XIX prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” To silence her, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a party-line vote that forced Senator Warren to take her seat and refrain from speaking. McConnell later said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
That phrase, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” became a rallying cry for the women’s movement that had been ignited by the election of Donald Trump. Writer Valerie Schultz wrote in America: the Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture
, “It is a phrase we women embrace because persistence is what we do.”
We women persist. Isn’t that our job? Throughout history, we have persisted in our quest for respect, for justice, for equal rights, for suffrage, for education, for enfranchisement, for recognition, for making our voices heard. In the face of violence, of opposition, of ridicule, of belittlement, even of jail time, nevertheless, we have persisted.