Lent should not ever really begin the way it did. But then tragedy does not seem to have a timetable. At least not one I like.
My feelings are still too raw to blog about this now. And some of you who read this are raw as well. So I’ll stick with one of the prayers I prayed in the memorial service today. It’s a prayer for children, and it followed a reading of Luke 18:15-17.
Jesus Christ, we love our children. You love our children. You love us as your children.
And so we bring you our children now . . . the children of our own households and families, of our schools and teams, the children we have loved, the ones who are grown, the children we have lost and mourned, the children we hoped for, even the children we grown-ups once were. We bring them all to you now. And we receive your welcome with glad hearts.
God, we are looking after the children in our lives. We are hugging them a little tighter. We are kissing their heads more often. We are watching them eat their suppers and tie their shoes, play their games and do their homework with a little more longing. For it is in that space between our hearts and their lives, that tender space where we know and experience the deep unfathomable presence of your love.
Spirit of Wisdom, we ask for your guidance in how to look after the children in our lives. Help us to see their grief and to hear their words and feelings. Doubts, questions, anger, sadness, joy, hope, and longing. Help us with patience and kindness. Help us as grownups to be honest about our own losses and pain. Melt our defenses. Turn our hearts to our children. Help us learn from them when they are teaching us about so many things.
For the reign of God is ours to behold, and to live. But you say to us in these words of Jesus that we must be ready to receive your presence among us as children. Help us all to live knowing we are your children. And help us to love one another as your children.
My grandiose plans for Lenten posts are somewhat in shambles. Maybe in a few days I’ll be able to see what’s next. Until then . . . Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.