Psalm 91: 1-2, 9-16 – Lent 1C
Living Psalm 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.
Two years ago this week, I wrote a prayer for Wuhan,
for the silent streets, for the agony and the fear.
I remember sitting at my little desk,
staring out at the doves on my back fence.
I thought then that I understood suffering
because I had become acquainted with grief.
My discipline for Lent that year was to write
a few lines each day. When I read back,
I watch the pandemic begin to unfold –
a paper crane systematically pulled apart
until the hope it represents is just another
sheet of paper, waiting.
I don’t know why I think of Sadako Sasaki,
the little girl who tried to fold a thousand cranes,
at first to heal herself, and then, as she grew weaker,
in hopes of changing the world.
Or Malala Yousafzai, who got married last fall.
I cried when I heard, because in my heart,
she is the girl who survived the impossible,
and who made me believe that all girls could.
Or Gitanjali Rao, Jayden Foytlin, Greta Thunberg,
Milou Albrecht, Xiye Bastida, Autumn Peltier,
Bana al-Abed, Sophie Cruz, Deja Foxx,
Nupol Kiazolu, Sara Mora, Marley Dias…
The list, thank all that is holy, goes on and on –
young women who don’t pray the hurt away
but are compelled to speak up, to create, to heal.
This year, this Lent, when I am tired in a way
that words can’t touch, when a few lines
can’t express what two years has changed,
I have a new practice. I search out these
young love warriors, and I listen.
I fill the silence where my certainty used to live
with their justified rage, their hope for something
greater than what we have given them.
I stand in a pit of vipers, disease at my door,
feet bruised and bloody, and I listen.
I am waiting for my chance to be a messenger,
sent to lift up these blessed bringers of truth
and withstand suffering to protect those
who fold hope for us all.
Living Psalm for Lent 1, Year C: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 was written by Maria Mankin.
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 2022 Maria Mankin. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.