August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. The churches of New Hampshire have both felt the pain of our state’s addiction crisis and have supported a diversity of recovery-related ministries. The NH Council of Churches encourages your congregation to set aside time on Sunday, August 26 for preaching and prayer on the theme of Overdose Awareness.
Here is a version of one of the Revised Common Lectionary passages for tomorrow.
Ephesians 6: 10-17 – a recently uncovered version
Finally, be strong in God’s … wearhouse
and do not hide yourself from these days.
Put on the recovery community
like running gear, so you are at full speed
when an opioid crisis comes near you.
Our struggle is not against struggling people,
but against fentanyl, heroin,
crack cocaine, methamphetamine,
the exploitation of oxycontin,
the ease of getting prescriptions,
and against despair and depression and loss.
Take up the whole recovery of God,
the “under-armor” of our time,
so you may be clean and sober,
and never afraid of those who are not.
Therefore, carry Narcan like a cell phone
wherever you go, and be tattooed
with kindness for those who lose recovery.
Wear prayer like a hoodie
for those who mourn children or parents,
aunts or uncles, brothers or sisters,
and so many friends who have overdosed,
and swaddle with love NAS babies
suffering from narcotics exposure,
and their neo-natal caregivers,
parents who fear to lose them,
givers of foster care and
those who decide the babies’ welfare.
Paul calls them shoes – but we know
first responders walk the walk,
looking like police, EMT’s,
triage folks in emergency rooms and clinics,
counselors and corrections officers.
The rest of us are their orthotics
as they travel a journey of hope.
With all of these, open an umbrella of education,
over every church, synagogue, mosque,
every school, every home.
Sorrow does not look like arrows now,
but missing shoelaces, silver spoons,
burnt straws, plastic bags, foil in the pocket.
Take the ball cap of one-day-at-a-time,
and the scooter of the Spirit.
Pierce yourself with the word of God,
or, if you are too old-fashioned
wear it as a backpack or purse –
with a crossbody strap touching your heart,
remembering the cross is for every body.