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. Mark 1:10-12
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? I 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