Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought in safety to this new day: Preserve us with our mighty power that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in al we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I always look forward to the Wednesday Morning Office because one of my favorite prayers is normally used on that day.
It’s a prayer I most often say early in the morning, sitting in my study with a cup of hot coffee at hand. But I have also said it from a hospital bed hooked up to a variety of tubes and monitors. It’s been a prayer said as a litany while on a walk, naming each of our children, grandchildren and godchildren with each iteration. It’s been a prayer said for friends and enemies. It is a prayer, my prayer, of great thanks and great hope.
This morning, January 13, 2010, sitting in my cozy study and comfortable chair, surrounded by books and icons, coffee cup at hand, two dogs sleeping at my feet, grateful for yet another day that has safely arrived, I wonder. I wonder about an impoverished Haitian, for whom life has always been hard, sitting homeless in the debris of a rain soaked street with the bodies of family, friends and strangers for company. The earthquake that struck last night and this morning’s aftermath present an image that is another sort of icon, one through which the complexity of natural disaster and human moral evil come into sharp focus. That sharp focus sheds momentary light on conditions like it elsewhere in the world, and reminds us of events and conditions in our own communities where personal safety arrives with no new day. What then of this prayer?
The key is the last petition; “direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose through Jesus Christ.” In whatever way we are able, let us be this day agents of God’s redeeming grace in places where that grace is most desperately needed. That might be Haiti or Sudan or some other far off place, but it might also be in the house next door.