A Prayer After the Bombing in the Karada Marketplace in Baghdad
July 3, 2016

Lord, we will lift our eyes to the hills,
Knowing our help is coming from you…

But how, Lord? But when?

They were doing Saturday things, God.
Fruit and vegetables in the marketplace
the warm smell of fresh baked bread
Women embracing, exchanging their news of the ordinary
Men in quiet conversations
Children shrieking in laughter, dodging the stalls and the vendors,
Chasing a ball, a puppy, a friend.

And then, Holy One, another truck rumbles through another marketplace
Another week, another world ends
Children shrieking, this time in terror, in pain.
Women embracing, in horror, in grief.
Men, helpless to stop the suffering.

God help us.
Help us not to give up
Help us to care even more deeply
Help us to remember that Baghdad is just around every corner

You are the source of our strength
You are the strength of our life—

Make our hands, your hands of healing, of welcome, of relief
Make our hearts beat as one with the neighbors we have never seen
Lift us above our petty preoccupation with differences,
Our careful clinging to our illusions and our privilege
Break our hearts and remake us as one in your image.
God help us.

The italicized lines are from the song “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood.
The text at the beginning is Psalm 121 

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