This prayer is part of Mennonite Church USA’s Cost of Poverty: Learn, Pray, Join initiative.
Lane Miller is a theologian working at the intersection of faith, economics and ethics. He graduated from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary with a Master of Divinity, subsequently served as an associate pastor of worship and formation, and is currently a macroeconomic analyst and wealth manager.
Thrust from the garden, we toil to sustain ourselves
working the soil
working the clock, the balance sheet, a system that doesn’t sleep,
balancing demands for money with
Some have achieved the supposed security of wealth.
Others have found a settled and comfortable middle,
maybe striving for more,
maybe content with what is.
Many, though, struggle at the margin of not enough and not in time.
These stark divisions remind us you meant for more.
The garden has not been regained,
nor has your reign been established on earth.
Amidst all this, we gather for worship.
The differences we live through six days a week are left unmentioned there.
Money and poverty go often unnamed.
This costs us.
It costs us knowing our neighbor.
It costs us a vital community of exchange, equal giving and receiving of goods and goodness.
It costs us faithfully following after Jesus.
But worship is a womb. A place of creativity — the form of grace our economies need.
Yes, we need better stewardship.
We need greater generosity.
We need effective political action.
But mostly, we need different.
We need different ways of seeing and being,
like an artist ready to sketch something new,
a builder with fresh designs,
a gardener mixing and planting and pruning the cursed earth of human failings into
divine abundance patterned after your creating.
We need to wrestle with scarcity and wring from it an abundance of goods and goodness
to feed the fullness of ourselves, our neighbors and our enemies.
And we need your spirit. Oh, that is paramount.
We need your wind in our hearts to blow away apathy,
in our minds to topple ideology,
in our bodies to dismantle hesitancy and resistance.
Wrestle us in our worship and our work.
Wring from us that which is not of you so we may follow more faithfully your way.
Your way, in which there is no hunger or unmet need,
in which poverty is vanquished,
in which the riches of your world are at your disposal,
for this vision we pray.
Mennonite Church USA encourages you and your congregation to participate in the Cost of Poverty: Learn, Pray, Join initiative as one way to learn more about the topic of poverty from theological and practical perspectives, as well as learn how to get involved.
Find upcoming webinars and ways to get involved at mennoniteusa.org/ministry/peacebuilding/learn-pray-join/cost-of-poverty/.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.