Monday, May 14, 2012
A Prayer for the Family
One of the best things about Mondays for me is the gathering of moms and toddlers for “All God’s Children’s Story Time.” As I write this, they are done with the stories and the songs and are enjoying a beautiful spring day on the playground. Running feet and happy voices, what could be better?
But there is also a counterpoint.
On Mother’s Day I am always aware that the celebration of mothers and motherhood is not a universally positive experience. Not everyone lives in a Norman Rockwell painting. Looking out at our congregation yesterday, I saw one young mom whose husband died just a year ago, and another recently diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, and one with multiple sclerosis. And then there are those who want to be moms and are coping with infertility. Others have recently lost their mothers, and still others have lost a child. And that is just a small sampling.
This has me thinking about Walter Rauschenbusch
Rauschenbusch is remembered as the greatest prophet of the Social Gospel awakening of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His theological analysis of the social situation and his application of biblical principles to social issues provide a continuing legacy for Christians who want to understand the practical meaning of the Gospel. But during his lifetime, Rauschenbusch was known and loved for his prayers. He lost his hearing at an early age when he caught the flu while serving a church in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, and the isolation this imposed made him a keen observer of the people around him. He was often moved to tears by the simple scenes of love and caring and pain that took place silently around him. In remembrance of Mother’s Day, his prayer for the family is especially appropriate:
O God, we who are bound together in the tender ties of love, pray thee for a day of unclouded love. May no passing irritation rob us of our joy in one another. Forgive us if we have been swift to see the human failings, and slow to feel the preciousness of those who are still the dearest comfort in our life. May there be no sharp words that wound and scar, and no rift that may grow into estrangement. Suffer us not to grieve those whom thou hast sent to us as the sweet ministers of love. May our eyes not be so holden by selfishness that we know thine angels only when they spread their wings to return to thee. Amen.