God by Our Side: Prayers After the Hurt


As the 42nd Synod of the Anglican Church was coming to a close the Wine Before Breakfast community gathered for our summer worship, which we have happily named “Wine Before Beer” (we meet in the evenings in the summer, not at 7.22am). For many of us the failure of the vote to change the marriage canon had been traumatizing. And there were other things that had happened in our community, or in sister communities, that were weighing heavy on the hearts of many of us. So when our music director chose “When the Poor Ones” as our post-sermon song, it seemed that this hymn could be the template for our prayers. As we came to the end of the song, the band continued to play quietly while the prayers were layered on top of the music. The refrain would then return as we sang our responses.

Hymn “When the Poor Ones” (Text: Jose Olivar, trans. by Martin A Seltz, music by Miguel Manzano)

When the poor ones, who have nothing, still are giving
When the thirsty pass the cup, water to share
When the wounded offer others strength and healing

Refrain:

We see God, here by our side
Walking our way
We see God, here by our side
Walking our way

When compassion gives the suff’ring consolation
When expecting brings to birth hope that was lost
When we choose love, not the hatred all around us

Refrain

When our spirits, like a chalice, brim with gladness
When our voices, full and clear, sing out the truth
When our longings, free from envy, seek the humble

Refrain

When the goodness poured from heaven fills our dwellings
When the nations work to change war into peace
When the stranger is accepted as our neighbour

Refrain

Prayers of the People

When we hardly have a voice to keep on singing.
When the children’s cries pierce the night.
When we hold each other in our sorrow.

We see God, here by our side
Walking our way
We see God, here by our side
Walking our way

When we sit in grief at another funeral.
When the ground receives another friend.
When we stumble from the weight of all this pain.

We see God, here by our side
Walking our way
We see God, here by our side
Walking our way

[spoken prayers beginning with “When …” The community will respond with the refrain]

When the pleasant turns to bitter in our lives, Lord.
When the poor find refuge under your wings.
When there is justice and generous protection.

We see God, here by our side
Walking our way
We see God, here by our side
Walking our way

When we gather at this table in our longing.
When we reach for the bread that gives us life.
When we share in the chalice, the wine of healing.

We see God, here by our side
Walking our way
We see God, here by our side
Walking our way

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian and the CRC Campus Minister at the University of Toronto. He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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