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  • Kimberlee Runnion

September 20, 2020—A Prayer

originally prayed at Open Cathedral in Leander, TX


Let us cry out to God. Let us cry out loud so that God can hear us.[1]

Let us pray.

During the day, when we are in trouble, we look for our God.

At night, our hands are outstretched; our spirits refuse to be comforted.[2]

Mothering God, where are you?

We cry out to you by day, but you do not answer.

At night, we still find no rest.[3]

God whose heart breaks with ours,

is your heart broken yet?

We cry out on behalf of over 30 million people who have suffered from COVID-19,

who are left to wonder how this disease will affect them for the rest of their lives.

We cry out on behalf of the nearly 1 million people who have died from COVID-19;

who have died because our governments, our leaders, have failed us.

We cry out on behalf of scientists who knew this pandemic was coming,

who cried out and were ignored,

who cry out still and are vilified.

God of Tamar[4] and the nameless secondary wife,[5]

whose bodies were assaulted, raped, and mutilated,

we cry out to you on behalf of the women

who have woken up from medical procedures to which they did not consent,

whose lives are forever changed,

whose futures are altered in ways they have yet to fully grasp.

Like Tamar, they wake to find their bodies torn apart by a man;

like the nameless secondary wife, their body parts scattered to places unknown.

Did you create us to be this way?

Was this a part of your grand plan?

Yet we remember their bravery.

We remember those who made sure the stories of Tamar and the nameless women in the Bible

were passed down, were shared, were written into our sacred texts

so that we may remember them with Holy anger.

We remember their subversion.

We see the ways these women have called to us through every generation.

We see their hand in the book of Isaiah when they cry out to you,

“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord!

Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago!”

הֲלוֹא אַתְּ־הִיא

Are you not SHE who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon?

הֲלוֹא אַתְּ־הִיא

Are you not SHE who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep;

who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over?”[6]

הֲלוֹא אַתְּ־הִיא

Are you not SHE?

Are you not she who called Deborah, a woman of torches, to be a prophet,

To bring justice to your people, who marched into battle in your name,

who mothered your people?[7]

Are you not she who called Jael, a woman who turned the tables,

a warrior who killed through hospitality, and ensured the safety of your people?[8]

God of the swirling stars, we feel hollow.

The news around us empties us, leaving us broken, battered.

Yet you can use even our hollowness.

You carve us so deep the stars will shine in our darkness.

We become cups to catch sacred rain.

Light will flow in our hollowing,

filling us with light,

even our bones will shine.[9]

God of women—survivors, warriors—

we thank you for the women who have showered us in sacred rain.

Especially today, we thank you for the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

who brought hope through dissent, light in the darkness.

May she rest in your perpetual light.

May she be greeted at the door as you say,

“Well done, good and faithful servant.”[10]

God of our ancestors,

God of Tamar,

God of nameless women throughout history,

God of Deborah,

God of Jael,

God of Ruth,

God of whistleblowers,

may we be ever faithful,

ever awake to hear your call—your voice in the wilderness.

May we rise up. May we dissent. May we be filled with Holy and righteous anger.

And may all of creation hear our battle cry!

Amen.


[1] Psalm 77:1. [2] Psalm 77:2. [3] Psalm 22:2. [4] 2 Samuel 13 [5] Judges 19 [6] Isaiah 51: 9–10 [7] Judges 4–5 [8] Ibid. [9] Mother Wisdom Speaks, from a poem by Christine Lore Webber, found in WomanPrayer

[10] Matthew 25:23

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