a Baltimore prayer

We live mostly on the surface of things—

suspended over the deep

on the thinnest veil of presuppositions, assumptions, and taken-for-granteds—

of habits, justifications, collusion.

I am not, in fact, sure we can do otherwise.

But we don’t have to live ignoring or denying that this is the case.

And too often, we do.

As if benefitting now—from now

is not a debt incurred—

payment to be marked due.

It would behoove us to pay greater attention

to the depths beneath us

and the currents within them—

comprised, at least in part,

by the truths we force below the surface of things—

below that thin veil of appearance—

the systemic injustices we don’t want to acknowledge,

the privileges of the few and the prejudices of the many,

the profound inequities

justified politically socially economically

philosophically theologically—

all the -ally’s—


God who hovered over the surface of the deep—

who separated the dry land from the waters,

hover again.

Call forth from the chaos of our time

the strong foundation

that will bear the weight of community.

Separate from the chaos—

and the rhetoric—

the work of justice and peace,

of righteousness and humility—

and, for many of us,

the work of confessing

that we assume such a solid foundation

would cost us more than that thin veil—

whose costs we don’t immediately see—

buried as they are in immediate benefits and gratifications.

God, may we who profess your story,

live it—

live its transformatively loving topsy-turviness

in more honest and vulnerable ways

than in what typically amounts to just subtle and blatant

approval of us.


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