Response #13 Nails on a Chalkboard

Ahh! Ben! Why?!

Prayer of Grating Anguish

God, I’ve been praying for deliverance so much recently. Everything screams out at me. I can’t escape the shrill tone of suffering that haunts your creation. My twitter feed updates me on very clear suffering around the world. The news rolls me around in the details of every possible tragedy. You gave me a heart and a brain so I know that there is even more beyond what I can hear. Jimi Hendrix didn’t save us from the sound of nails on a chalkboard and Jesus didn’t save us from our suffering. There’s things I can hear, but I can’t change. And God help me! The things I can’t hear I don’t stand a chance of changing. But God, you see them, you change them. You ask too much of me. You’re on notice God, your deliverance is incomplete.

Amen

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Response #12 Dead Worms

Mysterious Theologian: Ben

The first thing to know about dead worms on your sidewalk, is that the reason they show up after a rain, is that they are traveling.  According to Dr. Chris Lowe, Lecturer in Waste and Environmental Management, University of Central Lancashire in Preston, United Kingdom, because worms need to be wet in order to breath, they usually have to stay in moist soil and can’t travel above ground. However, when the ground is wet due to rain, Dr. Lowe explains “It gives them an opportunity to move greater distances across the soil surface than they could do through soil.”  When the rain stops and the ground dries up, they would normally burrow, but of course, if there is concrete in the way, they can’t.

Worm Cross

Oh Dying Earthworm, you dwelt among your people in the barren soil of injustice, and when the Rain of God drew near, you broke free from the dry dust and crawled upon the surface toward a promised land flowing with the moisture and nutrients of peace.  But when you reached the hardness of the concrete human heart, you found neither traction nor entrance into the soft soil of my soul.  And so you were left to die, drying on the sidewalk.  And yet, from the earth, a thousand more worms will rise, trusting in the promise that you have seen. Give me their faith, that my life also may be devoted to following the Reign of God. Amen.

Response #11 Cockroaches

Gross, good one.

A Prayer for Dark Nights

There are many tangible and intangible things in my life that frighten me and make me anxious. When I lie in bed at night thoughts and feelings about these things arise in me and plague me. In the dark night and the dark times of my life I am afraid my courage and my faith might falter. Send your Holy Spirit to be with me. Come out at night. Skitter across the floor, surround me, tell me not to be afraid, tell me you are with me to the end of the age in… in the those dark moments, those nooks and crannies of my dark nights, like your creepy little creatures the cockroaches.

Amen

Response #10 Acne

Mysterious Theologian: Ben

Alas, my 5 0’clock shadow does not cover my nose, which is where an eternal zit loves to sit.  See below.

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Almighty Acne, when I look into the mirror with either vanity or despair at the form I see, you grace me by welling up and blossoming on my skin. Remind me with your pimply presence that my worth comes not from the smoothness of my flesh but from the sacred oil of your Anointed with which you sealed the very core of my being forever with the cross of Christ. With your never disappearing love, Oh Zit, lead me to wash daily in the waters of baptism. Amen. 

Response #9 Dandruff

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A Three in One Prayer

Giving God, bless us with the courage to wear love and compassion on our sleeves like snot we’ve wiped from a child’s nose. And the courage to wear hope on our faces like chronic acne. And the courage to wear faith and trust on our shoulders like dandruff. And let that faith, hope, and love be your faith, hope, and love. It will be disgusting and unbelievable to some but to others, your children, it will be a beautiful and broken sign that points to the wholeness there is in you.

Amen

Response #8 Stuffed Animals

Mysterious Theologian: Ben

Puffy

Puffy McKernan, 28 years old and still as beautiful as the day she was given to baby Elana.

Blessed are you, worn and dirty Stuffed Animal. When the night is dark and monsters lurk, you are my guardian who does not sleep.  When the fever comes and doctors leave, you are the healer who gladly soaks my sweat into your stitches.  When my parents fight and I flee to my room, you are the comforter who dries my tears with felted paws. When it is my birthday and I am alone, you are the guest who always comes to my party, eager to hide crumbs in your fur for later.  You smell of the shame of wet beds, the triumph of trees climbed, the joy of mud wallowed.  You are more precious to me than my final piece of candy, and yet when I met my very best friend, I will give you to that person.  Because you are love.  Amen. 

Response #7 Boogers

Mysterious Theologian: Chase

A Prayer of… Aaaachooo!… Thanks

God bless you… God. If that makes sense. You know me completely. I can hide nothing from you, yet you love me and I witness your grace all around me. I feel your grace through my friends and kind acquaintances who pretend not to notice the embarrassingly human things about me. Or who, unable to ignore my foolishness, are able to laugh the pangs of embarrassment away with me. Send more angels like these to me, I’ve got a lot of embarrassingly human tendencies, habits, and um, disgraces.

Amen

Response #6 Fingernails

Mysterious Theologian: Ben

First of all, Chase…maybe you should talk to someone about your relationship with fingernails…

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Oh Sacred Fingernail, just as you formed the letters on the tablets of stone given to Moses, so too you traced every detail of my being into the dust which you gave life.  In your own image, you gave me fingers with which to caress and examine your creation.  Protect their tips from doors slammed in anger, trunks closed in thoughtlessness, and boxes dropped in weariness. Scrape away my fear, that like Thomas’s finger, I too may venture into the wounds of injustice in your resurrected and incarnate love.  And when anxiety overwhelms me, let me chew on the truth that you are always at my fingertips and taste all the places through which you have journeyed with me. Amen.

Response #5 Snow Sludge

Mysterious Theologian: Chase

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A Prayer of Sludge and Snow

God, the snow doesn’t start out grimy. Neither do I. Snow becomes grimy. And so do I. On Sunday your word falls on me and the world becomes clear and bright. I feel renewed, cleansed, and capable of doing your will. But by Monday I am tired. By Tuesday I am annoyed. By Wednesday I am disgusted. By Thursday I am broken. By Friday I am desperate and by Saturday I am in doubt. Stay with me God. Send me, each day, the word that reveals your reign in this world and shake the sludge off of me. Give me vision, give me hope, and give me the power to see and do your will throughout the week.

Amen.

Response #4 Smog

Mysterious Theologian: Benimage

Oh omnipresent Smog, though you formed me to filled with your pure Spirit, in my ignorance and greed I have corrupted your life-giving breath.  In your mercy you show yourself as a pillar of toxic cloud that I may see the sin which chokes my soul and be led out of the industrial wasteland that I have built. Guide me to no longer consume the fuels of fossilized death, but set me on fire with your Holy Spirit, that others may see my clear light and give you praise.  Amen.