We Are Takers: A Prayer by Walter Brueggemann
Photo by Flickr user Artotem
The following prayer by Walter Brueggemann was the final reflection used in a recent human circles event in Portland, OR. The prayer challenges me every time I walk past another downtrodden-looking Portlander with a cardboard sign that says, “Out of Work, Anything Helps.”
With my own wallet shrinking, I tell myself I have nothing to spare. But is that being a Christian? During this time of economic struggle, many Christians are asking the hard questions about what it means to be faithful in a time of need. In a recent video, Dr. Brueggemann says that love of God and love of neighbor have been separated in our churches and hinder God’s justice. Do you agree? What does it mean to love one's neighbor? Do you struggle with measuring out what you give in proportion to what you get? How does God’s grace spur you toward generosity?
We Are Takers
You are the giver of all good things.
All good things are sent from heaven above,
rain and sun,
day and night,
justice and righteousness,
bread to the eater and
seed to the sower,
peace to the old,
energy to the young,
joy to the babes.
We are takers, who take from you,
day by day, daily bread,
taking all we need as you supply,
taking in gratitude and wonder and joy.
And then taking more,
taking more than we need,
taking more than you give us,
taking from our sisters and brothers,
taking from the poor and the weak,
taking because we are frightened, and so greedy,
taking because we are anxious, and so fearful,
taking because we are driven, and so uncaring.
Give us peace beyond our fear, and so end our greed.
Give us well-being beyond our anxiety, and so end our fear.
Give us abundance beyond our drivenness,
and so end our uncaring.
Turn our taking into giving … since we are in your giving image:
Make us giving like you,
giving gladly and not taking,
giving in abundance, not taking,
giving in joy, not taking,
giving as he gave himself up for us all,
giving, never taking. Amen.
--Walter Brueggemann, from Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann.
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