For several weeks our European Communitas* community have held Monday afternoon meetings for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the unusual times we’re finding ourselves in. One thing we identified is the weak theology of suffering we find in many contemporary free churches. God, the Bible, and Life almost always needs to be explainable. If we don’t understand we start to struggle and doubt. Our obsession with answers, meaning and solutions is a typical left-over of the enlightenment, which grew out of the 30-year war, with was a result of the reformation. Eastern Orthodox churches, however, never went through a reformation or counter reformation, which can easily be recognized in their theology. “If you can understand it, it’s probably not God” – some of our orthodox siblings would simply say – and then keep immersing themselves in mysticism.
I’m not really recommending Orthodox churches, but I am recognizing them as part of the Body of Christ and I am definitely strongly advocating to learn from each other. And in times of suffering the (still pretty young) Western free church can learn a little from its great grandparents.
So we started to focus on the Biblical exercise of lament. Well done, lament is hygiene for the soul. Before we celebrated communion together, connected online and in the Spirit, we formulated and prayed our psalm, inspired by its many models in the book of psalm. Join us in prayer! Here it is:
Praying in a Pandemic
Of Communitas. A Covid Psalm.
(I) a O God, our healer, who holds the future,
b loving King, reigning from heaven,
c Abba Father, Lord of all Creation,
(II) a we need you now! This is our sorrow, our dismay, our complaint.
b How long? Where are you? What are you asking of us? Here we are, we want to serve but we can’t. What is this supposed to mean?
c We don’t understand what you have planned. Why have you allowed this virus to take lives, to destroy the economy, to shut us up in our own homes? There is no going back to the normal it was and we grieve our lost futures.
d When will life be normal? Will it be normal?
e What is your bigger picture? What is next? Where do we find hope?
(III) a Give us hope! Give us understanding. Show us what to do and how you want us to respond. Show us how to live and give hope.
b Show yourself! Use this for your good. Don’t let this time go to waste. Comfort the sick and dying. Help us growing our patience.
c Help us to hold on to the good that we have found during this time.
d Don’t let us go back to the old normal. Don’t let us forget we’re not in control. Help us to remember. You alone are sovereign.
(IV) a We trust in you, your power, bringing a hope and a future.
b You are the creator of hope and we will trust in you.
c You are patient with us. You have not left us. You have sustained us through similar situations in the past. You will sustain us even now.
(V) a Thank you that you are the God who does heal. You are fully aware of what we are going through. You are fully in control of the future that you have designed.
b Thank you that you have not left us now will you never leave us. Thank you that we can recreate with you.
c Thank you for the healing in our world that is going on in these days and weeks.
* Communitas is the organization we’ve been serving with since 2005.