Children’s Sabbath II: Pastoral Prayer

(A note about structure: these prayers aren’t always meant to be poetry, really. They’re written this way because they’re usually on scraps of paper when I write them during the service, based on what is going on in worship on that particular Sunday. I also write them this way to help me remember when to pause at the end of ideas. Anyway.)

In a few minutes we will pray “thy kingdom come”
and we want it to be how we picture it
everything perfect, pure, and in its place
silence when we want silence
order when we want order

Yet we hear you say
whoever is not like a child
will never see the kingdom
and we wonder whether you’ve really thought this through

A kingdom where no piano is left unplayed*
where no floor ever quite gets clean**
every table has streaks from markers, paint and glue**
a kingdom where we are dependent
It sounds like a noisy, messy place
not what we picture at all

But that is your kingdom
that is the kingdom you have in mind
when we say “thy kingdom come”

Help us to remember that even here, even now
the last shall be first
the lowest shall be raised up
and somehow by some miracle
we are called to be part of a kingdom of children

Let us first care for the children who are with us
the children who share this world
When we neglect them,
we neglect your kingdom
When we allow them to suffer,
we let suffering into your kingdom
When we love them and care for them,
then, only then
“thy kingdom come”

*There is always the sound of kids banging on the church’s pianos, audible when we’re quiet and praying
**Also descriptors of our floors, our tables

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