Prayer in Troubled Times

A Targum on Psalm 74

O God, why have we cast You off?
Why do You let our fear choke the sheep of Your pasture?

Remember Your creation, which You called into being,
which You redeemed.
Remember how You dwelt among us,
remember how the Spirit was given to us.

Direct Your mercy to the perpetual ruins;
We have destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
We fashioned ourselves as foes
and roared in Your sanctuary about our needs and our safety.

We claimed Your creation with the flags of our white fathers.
We hung banners, which became walls.
With doctrine, silver swords, tractors and oil rigs we carved up all Your work.
We set Your sanctuary on fire; we desecrated Your dwelling place,
bringing Your name ridicule.

We said to ourselves, “We believe in Jesus plus white supremacy;
Jesus plus comfortability.”
We preached this in churches.
We obscured Your teachings;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.

How long, O God, will we forget Your name?
Why do You not protect our victims;
why do you keep back Your justice?

Yet God is King, working salvation in the earth.
You divided the oceans with Your might;
You made the rushing waters obey Your voice.
You crushed the evil one.
Yours is the day, Yours also the night;
You lit the sky.
You lifted up mountains; You made summer and winter.

O Lord, we tried to recreate You in our image.
Do not let us have our way;
do not forget the lives of the refugee, the captive, the poor.
Have regard for Your covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
Do not let the victims bleed out;
let the poor and needy sing praises because of Your deliverance.

Rise up, O God, set this world to right.
Do not ignore the tears of your children.
Forgive us, O God, Lord have mercy, kyrie.

Emily Ulmer

Leave a Reply