an appropriate prayer?

I prayed for extermination this past Sunday in church. Felt strange. In church. In worship. What with my theology stressing God’s blessing of creation independent of human beings. What with my confessed appreciation and celebration of the interconnectedness—indeed the interdependence of creation.

Everything in its place though, I say to myself. I’m fine sharing the world with bed bugs, just not my bed. So does that condemn someone else’s bed? If they’re not in my bed, they’re dead or in someone else’s? I don’t know if we’re the only meal ticket of the bed bug. Surely not.

And it’s a cop-out, anyway, to say I’m not praying for the eradication of a species (though I must admit there’s even some temptation there too!), but only for the complete and total destruction of the particular bugs in my house, right?

And that is, in truth, my honest prayer for the comfort, the safety and security of my family.

I’m working very hard not to think of the peaceable kingdom where the baby lies down with the bed bug, and the child with the lice, and the children with the rodents and the fleas. I don’t think that poster would sell very well, by the way. But surely it’s not fair just to imagine the attractive and impressive animals together in God’s vision of communion.

There are times I truly hate implications.


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