July 9, 2021
A daily prayer from the New England Conference
The clergy and laity of the New England Conference 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.
Sebastia/Sabastiya, Nablus, West Bank, Palestine As you walk toward the place near where John the Baptist was killed and buried you step under a canopy of almond branches with delicate pink blossoms. It is a hilly, dusty, windy place that is rarely quiet or still. Looking out, you can see row upon row of olive trees for miles in every direction. Looking down, you can unearth ancient treasures beneath your feet — small pieces of Roman glass that rise like specks of ocean in desert sand, and the food — a rich banquet of local herbs and grains, oils and warm flavors reminiscent of something you cannot quite put your finger on until you remember … there was another banquet in this place, and a demand, a tragic, terrible taking of life, and a burial by faithful friends. It is so beautiful here. There is so much life here. How can this be the place of such loss, then and now?
Holy God, may the ceaseless winds that blow over this holy ground carry our prayer to you. Ours is a prayer in awe of your stunning power to renew and transform. You take the horrific things that we do to each other— the things you do not want for us— and tenderly, tenaciously bring about life again, and again, and again. Help us to speak about and listen for all that is good and sacred. Help us to avoid acting out of crippling grief, or under social pressure, or in fulfillment of promises we should have never made. Help us to drink deeply from your ocean depths, and to eat fully at your feast of forgiveness. Help us to learn from our stories, and to write new ones. You can make all things beautiful again. Please do—through us, despite us, near us. Please do. Amen.
Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, Green Mountain District Superintendent Inspired by Mark 6.14-29