Holy Trinity Episcopal Church


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Falling into our prayers

Posted by Rev. Sarah Carver on

We had a flat tire the other day. And it wasn’t just a slow leak from somewhere in the tire, or the obvious foreign object jutting out of the tread…this was a three inch gash that ended the life of the tire instantly, and was well beyond repair. There was no limping home with this and my bewildered husband had to pull the car over immediately to avoid ruining the rim as well. As I was driving our other car over to help him, I kept thinking that the tire seemed like so much more than an annoyance—it was suddenly the most absolutely, unequivocally, most Murphy-ist law, 10-on-a-scale-of-10-in-ruining-our-lives, horribilist thing that could have happened. AND it was interrupting lunch.

Except that it wasn’t. It was just a flat tire, and we got it replaced almost right away.

It’s just that in the middle of all that is going on, with the rapid transmission of this brand-new virus, and with the growing disruptions to our lives as we distance ourselves from on another in an effort to control this outbreak—even those things that were once simple inconveniences, can now seem like catastrophes. As our world gets smaller, small things seem to get bigger. How do you not sweat the small stuff then? To be honest, some days I do better than others.

It has been hard to settle into this new normal. For one thing it keeps changing and I keep having to let go of things that like you, I had counted on (regular worship with my church, get-togethers with friends, travel to see loved ones, children’s activities). If I’m not careful, I find myself brooding and irritable—which, I realized recently, is what we all tend to do and become when we are anxious and when we are grieving. Yes, I’m betting a lot of us are grieving the year we thought we were going to have and have been anxious about the year coming which we don’t recognize anymore. If you’re like me, you’re angry and scared and if we’re not careful, all we will see is the bad.

But life is also continuing. I’m in touch more often now with friends and family, my daughter is learning to ride her bike, birds are singing and spring is unfolding before us. Three babies have been born to families in our parish community, and in spite of the social distancing, we remain connected to one another. The daily offices, particularly Morning Prayer, which are often not a part of our communal life now serve as our main worship experience. It occurred to me that with all that is uncertain in the world right now that the steady rhythms of faith are one way we can keep our bearings around us. The Offices—morning, noonday, evening prayer and compline can serve to steady us when life becomes volatile and stormy. And no matter how we find ourselves in the midst of all that we are going through, prayer remains available to us as individuals and as a community. And prayer is also about connection. Remember that Jesus spent his time in the wilderness in prayer—connecting to himself and to God. Lent is about reconnecting and strengthening our connections spiritually; prayer is a manner through which we remain connected to God and one another as we hold up the needs of the world to God and also to ourselves. In prayer we are called out of ourselves to remember our brothers and sisters, to remember the things for which we are grateful, and prayer allows us to settle and to take time and reflect on both God’s presence in both the need and the blessing.

So in this long Lent, I invite you to let yourselves fall into your prayers and let them hold up your spirits—no matter how you find yourselves: anxious, grounded, angry or at peace. Let your prayers hold you and remind you of God’s goodness and steadfastness as we continue, together, to walk through these difficult times.