Blessed Are the Powerless
Hey, powerful person! Why do you brag about evil? God’s faithful love lasts all day long. – Psalm 52:1 (CEB)
Here are some things I learned from almost four years of walking with the faithful, strong, courageous, and utterly vulnerable Guatemalan immigrant who took sanctuary in our church:
Powerlessness is exhausting. It affects every single thing.
Powerlessness will chew you up, spit you out, and then come back for what little is left of you.
Powerlessness will leave you gasping for breath and grasping at straws. Some days will feel like a roller coaster ride, others like a train wreck.
Fear and desperation will never be far away. The temptation to despair will be constant. Anger and bitterness will nag you to feed them.
Powerlessness can be existential or circumstantial, trivial or life-threatening, imagined or all-too-real.
You may feel powerless over the design flaws of your kitchen, powerless to change your partner’s annoying habits, powerless to end systemic racism, powerless to get out of debt, powerless to fix the climate crisis, powerless against gun violence, powerless against the ravages of Covid-19, other diseases, or the bittersweet march of age. You may feel powerless in the face of your job’s nonstop demands or the constant clamoring of your kids.
So here are some other things I learned, most of them from Lucio Perez, the seemingly powerless immigrant who lived in our church, and his family:
God’s faithful love lasts all day long, every day. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door. There is power in community and strength in solidarity. Blessed are the powerless, because they know their need. Blessed are the powerless, because God dwells with them.
That you, O God, do not leave us powerless, we give you thanks and praise.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.