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Prayers for a Privileged People Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann
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“Here we are, practitioners of memos:     We send e-mail and we receive it,     We copy it and forward it and save it and delete it.     We write to move the data, and                 organize the program,                 and keep people informed—     and know and control and manage.   We write and receive one-dimensional memos,         that are, at best, clear and unambiguous.     And then—in breathtaking ways—you summon us to song.”
Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People
“We carry old secrets too painful to utter,                                 too shameful to acknowledge,                                 too burdensome to bear,     of failures we cannot undo,     of alienations we regret but cannot fix,     of grandiose exhibits we cannot curb. And you know them.     You know them all.     And so we take a deep sigh in your presence,        no longer needing to pretend and                       cover up and                       deny.   We mostly do not have big sins to confess,     only modest shames that do not         fit our hoped-for selves.   And then we find that your knowing is more     powerful than our secrets. You know and do not turn away,     and our secrets that seemed too powerful         are emptied of strength,     secrets that seemed too burdensome                  are now less severe.   We marvel that when you find us out         you stay with us,      taking us seriously,      taking our secrets soberly,          but not ultimately,     overpowering our little failure     with your massive love                and abiding patience.   We long to be fully, honestly         exposed to your gaze of gentleness.     In the moment of your knowing                we are eased and lightened,     and we feel the surge of joy move in our bodies,          because we are not ours in cringing                  but yours in communion.   We are yours and find the truth before you     makes us free for         wonder, love, and praise—and new life.”
Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People
“We know about your presence          that fills the world,          that occupies our life,          that makes our life in the world true and good.   We notice your powerful transformative presence     in word and     in sacrament,     in food and in water,     in gestures of mercy         and practices of justice,     in gentle neighbors         and daring gratitude.   We count so on your presence     and then plunge—without intending—into your absence.     We find ourselves alone, abandoned, without resources         remembering your goodness,         hoping your future,     but mired in anxiety and threat and risk beyond our coping.   In your absence we bid your presence,     come again,     come soon,     come here:         Come to every garden become a jungle         Come to every community become joyless                           sad and numb.   We acknowledge your dreadful absence and insist on your presence.                           Come again, come soon. Come here.”
Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People
“As we go to the places where we are called by God—sometimes gladly, sometimes reluctantly, always in anxiety—we are drawn into the newness of God's future.”
Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People
“It is no obvious or “natural” matter to resituate our lives with reference to the holy power and purpose of God. But that is what we do in prayer.”
Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People