The recent weeks of political turmoil and civil unrest have brought to mind a prayer written by one of my favorite Old Testament scholars, Walter Brueggemann. I think he penetrates our current time with a stunningly accurate diagnosis of our culture (both Christian and non). I hope you’ll find Dr. Brueggemann’s words as comforting and as unsettling as I do. What a prayer for our time. What a prayer for our lives. We live in a seduced world of euphemism. In this world, we need the words of God to call us into truth and name things for what they are. We need a “faithful utterance of reality”.
God of all truth, we give thanks for your faithful utterance of reality.
In your truthfulness, you have called the world “very good.”
In your truthfulness, you have promised,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
In your truthfulness, you have assured,
“This is my beloved Son.”
In your truthfulness, you have voiced, “Fear not, I am with you.”
In your truthfulness, you have guaranteed that
“Nothing shall separate us from your love
in Jesus Christ.”
It is by your truthfulness that we love.
And yet, we live in a world phony down deep
in which we participate at a slant.
Ours in a seduced world,
where we call evil good and good evil,
where we put darkness for light and light for darkness,
where we call bitter sweet and sweet bitter (Isa. 5:20),
where we call war peace and peace war,
so that we rarely see the truth of the matter.
Give us courage to depart the pretend world of euphemism,
to call things by their right name,
to use things for their right use,
to love our neighbor as you love us.
Overwhelm our fearful need to distort,
that we may fall back into your truth-telling about us,
that we may be tellers of truth and practitioners of truth.
We pray in the name of the One whom you have filled
with “grace and truth.” Amen
- Walter Brueggemann, Awed to heaven, Rooted to Earth: The Prayers of Walter Brueggemann