Prayers from the Pews March 17, 2019. “The Sanctuary Between Us.” by Kathryn Anderson

I.  Laundry Prayer.

A woman stands in her sunny kitchen, sorting baskets of laundry.

A few blocks away, another woman has forsworn the sight of the sun,

To live in a basement.

So she can raise her children. This means that she can no longer do her family’s laundry herself, as she’d like to.Who among us would not willingly forego the light of the sun for a lifetime.  If it meant keeping our dear ones safely with us?

“Goodbye to the sunshine

Goodbye to the dew

Goodbye to the flowers…”

Dear Lord Jesus

Accept thou this, the work of my hands

“The work of this thy servant“

This laundry

“These two tiny, pink socks I have managed not to lose in the wash.

Accept thou this laundry

Let it comfort and adorn thy holy feet.

In gratitude from one who is privileged to walk freely beneath the life-giving sun.

At least for now.

In aid and in honor of a woman who has risked absolutely everything.

To be able to hold her child in a safe place one more day.

Accept thou, O Lord, this washload

Which the woman would complete for herself and for her family, if she could

Except that she has banished herself below ground

Not to see the sun

Not to feel the breeze

Not to smell the rain-soaked sidewalk.The woman in the basement waits. For now, her hands braid a small child’s hair.

II. Abide with Me

Accept thou, O Lord, this pair of strangers

Who sit comfortably with each other, not necessarily talking,

Because they know that they are here for the same reason.

Accept thou, O Lord, this man who, for his shift

Merely wants to be left alone in the very last pew of the afternoon-darkening church for three hours,

head leaned against the back wall, book open on his lap

.Accept thou, O Lord, the hands that open prayerbooks in Hebrew, Spanish, English, Greek

Accept thou, O Lord, this woman, wearing her favorite hat, who took two buses after work in order to be here by 6.

She was thrilled when she got here early, carrying on her shoulders two straining-at-the-seams reusable shopping bags,

plus a bedroll, across 3 towns

So she could sit in a small room And sleep on a borrowed bed Away from her own home, spouse, children, comforts So that a woman she will never see, and whose true name she will never know Can sleep near her children tonight.

Accept thou, O Lord, this silent routine of hands, of feet, of books, of sitting,

Accept the whisper of electrons, a constant prayer like the humming of bees,as hundreds of strangers conspire, plan, worry online For this woman and her family, one more day.

Accept thou, O Lord, the work of our hands

The work of our days and nights

The work of our breath

The work of our bodies, sitting.

On the other side of the wall, a family snuggles down for the night, having managed to stay together for one more day.

III. Keep Watch…

The Lamp of the Presence

Is temporarily detached, in repair.

It will be fine. It will be back.

For now, during Eucharist, as Eucharist,

A woman is cooking for her family and the people upstairs smell, rather than see,

The Onions of the Presence

The Garlic of the Presence

The Carrots of the Presence

The Soup of the Presence

Holy Wisdom lives in the basement

Holy Wisdom is cooking for her children;

Maybe she is humming as she chops and stirs.

All’s right with the world

Jesus has not left the building.

Monday, the child will only wiggle a little bit

While her mother helps her on with two tiny pink socks

The utter foolishness of Wisdom to risk everything for the love of a child in her sock feet.

Accept, O Lord, from this thy servant;

Two little feet, in two little socks, in two little shoes

Skip to preschool, for circle time, for snack time, for story time, for nap time.

Her mother will welcome her home with hot soup….Shield the joyous.

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