Prayer During the Unitarian Universalist Vigil at Boulder, March 23, 2021

By Carlton Elliott Smith

Spirit of Life, that which is us, in us and all around us,

We return to a familiar, sorrowful place tonight.

Our rituals have become rote --

The breaking news reports, the shock, the tears, the anxious calls, the thoughts and prayers, the body count, the makeshift memorials, the blaming, the biographies, the smiling faces we shouldn’t know, the promises of prevention and the failure of the same … the waiting … for the next time … the prayer … that it will be somewhere … way over there … and yet over there is always somewhere where someone is hoping it is not their turn to be among the grieving … the wounded … the dying.

We pray tonight for every ended life.

We pray tonight for every imminently at-risk life.

We pray for every broken-hearted life.

We lift each other up in hope.

The valley of the shadow of death seems less a place we pass through, but a place where we reside.

Even if the world unravels in this mad, mad reckoning, may we still be present for each other. May we still be witnesses for love and beloved community.

May we still carry forth the courage of those who went before us, who also lived in perilous times. May we be inspired by their examples.

May we draw from the deep wisdom of the ancestors to know how we should be today.

They have not left us comfortless.

The world is always unravelling.

Out of the broken threads, the broken hearts, the broken bones may we choose to reweave the fabric of our communities.

After we have shed our tears and connected to each other once more, let us do what all that love requires, knowing that with every brave act of resistance, with every random kindness, with every grateful heart, we are drawing closer to the world in which we can all live in peace.

Life is the greatest gift of all the riches of this earth

Life and its creatures great and small, of high and lowly birth

Let us treasure it and measure it with deeds of shining worth.

May it be so.

Ashe, Amin, Amen and Blessed Be.

About the Author

Carlton Elliott Smith

Rev. Carlton E. Smith is the Regional Lead for the Pacific Western Region. From 2013 to 2020, he was a member of the UUA Congregational Life Staff Group serving in the Southern Region....


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