It goes without saying: Worship has been dramatically altered by the pandemic. Some of these alterations have been less than desirable, of course, but some of them have also been worth celebrating. Among the gifts of the pandemic, I would suggest, is our increasing attentiveness to everyday work and workers. Over past months there has been a new energy given to our congregational prayers for front-line medical workers, for those who deliver online orders, and for staff in grocery stores.
As we enter the new normal of worship in the days ahead, my hope is that our shared prayers for everyday work will be enriched and deepened—that we will remember that most of us participate in God’s mission through our everyday work; that our everyday vocations are a means by which we serve Christ in the world. As an encouragement in this direction, I offer these prayers for some of the workers I have encountered in just the past few weeks.
O God who provides home and shelter, we lift to you those who install windows and doors. As they pry out old, rotted window frames, scattering dust and splinters of wood, they thwart drafts and mildew. As they install new windows and doors, they provide protection against wind and cold and rain and heat. Remind each one that their work with hammer and level and cordless driver are your work for the wellbeing of others. As we celebrate their work, O God, we also remember and pray for those who live without such protection from the elements; we pray for the coming kingdom of Jesus.
As she bounds up the steps of our home, our postal carrier is keeping us connected with the wider world. Sometimes she delivers bills, yet even bills keep us in contact with someone who has served us or blessed us. On occasion she brings hand-written notes from someone who insists on yester-year’s technology; a greeting inscribed with pen and paper. O God of covenant and relationships, we thank you for those who deliver our mail, doing their part to keep us in touch with the wide world. We pray that their work may contribute to the building of relationships oriented to the way of our risen Lord.
The guys at the Home Depot were helpful and patient. When I realized I’d gotten the wrong length of 2×4’s and 2×12’s, they loaded them up and trundled them back to the shelves with me. They showed me where the correct lengths were and then cut them to the more precise lengths I needed. Those boards will constitute new benches in our quiet courtyard in the middle of the city. O Living God, thank you for the kindness and patience of retail staff. Thank you for their performance of the simple task of cutting lengths of board in service of a quiet spot to sit and reflect and pray. Bless the work of their hands, feet, and voices.
O living God, our life together is often within the structures of institutions and organizations, and we thank you for lawyers who help us to live well within such structures; lawyers who help us understand and interpret the law. In the writing of contracts and the vetting of policies, they provide us with essential help. Through their professional competence we are able to work together with transparency and integrity and in the ways of justice. We pray your blessing on lawyers, that their service may be for the upbuilding of our shared life in institutions, and for your glory.
May all such prayers be offered through the one who is the Lord of our daily lives; Jesus, the risen one.
This is my latest column in the Christian Courier