Prayer for heroin addiction – a gloss on Isaiah 53

Who has believed what we refuse to see
or hear or understand –
those who were beautiful children
have grown up with tracks
under their long sleeves, long pants,
with dry mouths, short breath,
constricted pupils.

Surely, you, O Christ, have borne
our heroin addiction,
this migration from oxycontin,
prescription pain killers.
Your arms and legs are bruised.
You are dirty,
no longer interested in hygiene,
and we have dismissed you
as deceptive to those who live with you,
as garbled of speech,
withdrawn, hostile, apathetic.

You are hyper-alert then nod off,
despised for stealing,
rejected by friends, family,
seen with missing shoelaces,
acquainted with silver spoons,
burnt straws, plastic bags,
foil in your pockets,

among those who hide their needles,
who are given narcan,
but few resources for treatment.

You overdose for our indifference,
strung out while we say
it won’t happen to anyone close to us.
On you is laid loss of marriage,
of job, of personal dignity
and you die alone
waiting for justice, for love.

All we, too willing to sleep,
have turned to our own ways,
criticizing understaffed police, clinics,
calling a crime
a deep illness of our society.

But, Suffering Servant, you are there.
You are always there
not in an old prophecy, or red-letter gospel,
but with whoever it is
now, even now,
cut off from the land of the living.

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3 Responses to Prayer for heroin addiction – a gloss on Isaiah 53

  1. rezrevres says:

    Since I retired I’ve continued with some volunteer prison ministry, and regardless of the actual charge that brought them to this facility, for the vast majority of the incarcérées this passage has a very direct relevance. I think I will share this with some others also involved in a ministry behind bars. Thanks Maren.

  2. Maren says:

    Thank you for bringing it there. Hidden, it is everywhere — four deaths in my town of 29,000 since November. The hospitals are overwhelmed and often do not think that the religious community cares.Perhaps we do not … enough.

  3. Pingback: Litany of prayer for the heroin epidemic | Gifts in Open Hands

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