“Create in Me a Clean Heart: A Prayer for the Third Season of Shutdown”

Create in me a clean heart, oh God and renew a right spirit within me.

Relieve me of my resentment.

Release me from resenting those who post pictures of family gatherings and no-longer-allowed “social bubbles.” Release me from resenting the people “not taking things as seriously” as I think they should. Release me from resenting the people who had Easter dinners anyway. Release me from resenting people I love, simply because they live in a part of the world with less restrictions than I have, or have access to vaccines that we don’t.

Rescue me from my rage.

Remove the anger I feel when people say they “just have” to see their loved ones, or travel, or have a birthday party . Take away my anger at conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and politicians that I long to blame for my own exhaustion. Remove the anger I feel at the pastors insisting on gathering their churches as they claim persecution. Father, forgive them – and forgive me.

Keep me from comparisons.

Save me from the sanctimonious naming of why things are harder for me than other people. Help me remember we are all hurting, including the people whose families live closer, whose jobs seem easier, whose regions are opening up instead of shutting down. Remind me that I do not need to say “I haven’t seen my family in almost two years.” Remind that I do not need to say “At least you weren’t shut down over Christmas.”

Save me from self righteousness. Give me the humility to remember the times I have done what I should not, for the masks I failed to wear or the distance I didn’t keep. Upturn my indignation. Remind me of the times my bubble was too big or I said “Oh it’s fine” when the lawn chairs were too close during garage visits.

Restore my hope in humanity. Help me assume people’s good intentions. Give me a heart of love for those who are suffering. Give me grace for the people who succumb to covid-fatigue. Help me discern when my anger is weariness disguised as rage. Help me know when I need to rest, go outside, drink a glass of water, get off social media, or stop checking the latest covid numbers.

Restore onto me the joy of your perseverance. And renew a right spirit in me.

Amen.

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