Living Psalm 144 – A prayer of Grounding in this Time of Coronavirus
Living Psalms Book
Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.
Living Psalm 144
A prayer of Grounding in this Time of Coronavirus
For you, holding the anxiety of a system. Pastors and caregivers. Nurses and doctors. Teachers and school decision makers. And more.
The collective systems of support that are anxiously preparing. For me.
Pray alongside Psalm 144, as below (NRSV). Breathe between the verses. Speak, pray, think, hold words alongside so many others holding these words at this time.
Light a candle to direct your own intention, or, hold the tangible thing you have carried to remind you of grace; whatever that is.
Ps: Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Oh beloved, we are they who follow a God that knows of preparation; for what we do not know will follow in this time. We know that we are not alone. We know we can center alongside generations of prayer and positioning.
my rock and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
Oh, beloved, we are they who cry out with faith that holds the faith of many, conduits of hope for many who have lost their own, seeking centering in our own foundation of care. Remind us of our reason for doing this work.
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues the peoples under me.
Oh, beloved, we are gathered in a web of connection and care, where our messaging is similar. Protect the most marginalized. Hold the community. Do our best.
O Lord, what are human beings that you regard them,
or mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
their days are like a passing shadow.
Oh, beloved, our mortality is before us in ways we didn’t anticipate. We remember our faith of resurrection. We remember ashes, remember witness, remember community. Remember God’s story which is present in this day and all days.
Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
touch the mountains so that they smoke.
Make the lightning flash and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them.
Oh, beloved, we are they who are praying for intercession. Someone, someone, come and offer a solution. For the vaccines. For the broken systems. For the healthcare industry. For the competing values of capitalism and care. For those who invested time and energy and care into events that will not happen in the near future. For clear-headed leadership of our country.
Stretch out your hand from on high;
set me free and rescue me from the mighty waters,
from the hand of aliens,
whose mouths speak lies,
and whose right hands are false.
Oh, beloveds, we pray for the deliverance from Fake News, and opinions functioning like facts. We pray for reason and science to have a stronghold in our collective responses. We pray for care of our people, that no more may die unnecessarily from preventable circumstances of any kind.
I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
the one who gives victory to kings,
who rescues his servant David.
Oh, beloveds– we who can be moved to tears in music, or have a day shift in song. We who know the creativity of God’s created people and our collective response to delight in beauty. May we lean into those beautiful things. May we re-member the moments of community at its best, and pull from that to hold the response needed in these days.
Rescue me from the cruel sword,
and deliver me from the hand of aliens,
whose mouths speak lies,
and whose right hands are false.
Oh, beloveds. Let us cry out in supplication together for the work we must do. Let those who stand in our way, the naysayers and those who cannot perceive the systems we set up as valuable, not be the voices defining our actions. Let us hold fast to our faith, our call, our responsibilities of care.
May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars,
cut for the building of a palace.
Oh! Beloveds. Let us set up something for our collective children and children’s children. Let us evolve together in ways that our grandchildren will be proud of. Let us create flexible systems of support that add wisdom into our human condition for times of struggle. May we listen to the wisdom of the young in their adaptability, and not hold them to our own pain.
May our barns be filled,
with produce of every kind;
may our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields,
and may our cattle be heavy with young.
May there be no breach in the walls, no exile,
and no cry of distress in our streets.
Oh, beloveds. May we know everything we need to know. May we share everything we need to share. May our leaders step up and in. May we hold everything we need to hold. May our personal boundaries serve to protect our emotional and spiritual selves.
Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall;
happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
Oh beloveds, may there be grace upon grace, and joy upon joy. May there be moments of laughter in the midst of the chaos, and support aplenty. May we know we are not alone in the midst of preparation and love and care. And may we hold close to the heart WHO we are and WHOSE we are: beloved children of a Compassionate, Loving, Healing God.
Living Psalm 144: Prayer of Grounding in this Time of Coronavirus was written by Rev. Dr. Chris Davies, Minister and Team Leader for Faith INFO, Justice and Local Church Ministries, UCC.
Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. Maren Tirabassi, editor
Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.
© Copyright 2020 Chris Davies. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.
Living Psalm 144–Prayer for Grounding in a Time of Coronavirus