“Tuesday’s child is full of grace.” For the next five months I will share sections from the new book — A Child Laughs — Prayers of Justice and Hope (edited by Maria Mankin and Maren C. Tirabassi) Pilgrim Press, May 1, 2017.
This book asks the question — what does it take for all the children in the world, all the children in the world, to be not only fed and sheltered and safe but also to be able to laugh. More than one hundred themes and issues crucial to hope and justice were crowd-sourced to create this collaborative anthology of fifty-two reflections from seventy-seven writers in eleven different countries. Of course I would love to have my readers buy this book, but even more I want you to hear some of these voices, each so very different. Every Tuesday I’ll going to share a prayer or reflection or poem from one of these.
The powerful chapter on Street Ministry was written by Quentin Chin and Becky Crane. This is a litany taken from that chapter.
Quentin says this about himself: Quentin cooks, sings, and plays violin (functionally) which helps him serve as a chaplain at a shelter for homeless veterans. Becky says this about herself: When Becky is not busy as a clinical social worker or engaged in street ministry, she can be found looking for poems in the woods.
Street Ministry – Quentin Chin, Becky Crane
Loving and merciful God, your compassion knows no bounds. You are a source of hope for people whose lives are a constant struggle. You love us, even when we don’t feel we are loved. You know our names. We pray for those in our community who need your love and compassion. We pray that you give them strength for their days. We pray that you shine a light to dispel their darkness and give them hope to end their anxiety.
We pray for Ken, who struggles with his addictions. He lost his home and his family. Help him in his recovery, which is day by day. We need to know Ken,
Because Ken is our neighbor.
We pray for Julie, a single mom who lost her job and without work couldn’t support her children. They went into foster care. She cries every day and wants to work so she can get them back. We need to know Julie,
Because Julie is our neighbor.
We pray for Barney, a veteran with PTSD. He drinks a lot. He can’t go to the shelter. People shun him because of his rage. We need to know Barney,
Because Barney is our neighbor.
We pray for Beth. She fights the voices in her head every day. They make her ill. She says they drive her crazy. We need to know Beth,
Because Beth is our neighbor.
We pray for Steve. He just got out of a house of correction for the fifth time. He says he was wrongfully accused. His wife won’t take him back. He is angry and no one will hire him. We need to know Steve,
Because Steve is our neighbor.
We pray for Annie. Every day she walks her baby in a stroller. She loves her baby, talks to her, shows her off. Her baby is a doll. We need to know Annie.
Because Annie is our neighbor.
We pray for Susan. She was raped as a teenager. Her husband physically abused her. She ran away. She shoots heroin. We need to know Susan,
Because Susan is our neighbor.
We pray for Carl. He had a business in town. He lost it in the recession. His husband kicked him out because he drank too much. No one wants to hire him. We need to know Carl,
Because Carl is our neighbor.
Though our neighbors won’t sit next to us in our pew, help us, O God, to sit next to them. Prod us to leave our building to sit with our neighbor. Open our ears to hear their stories. Give us strength to help bear their stories. Open our hearts that we might love them as Jesus would. Amen