a prayer on losing faith

on reading today’s newspaper…

it’s easy to jump straight to writing a prayer
for peace
but i need to live for a moment
with the reality
that i am terrified

struck dumb by knowing there is no prayer I have the faith to pray
that will help those
who watch rockets go overhead
(waiting for the moment one will hit, when they will live in fear no more).

i read the newspaper stories
until the words of ‘revenge’, ‘retaliation’, ‘provocation’, ‘fierce response’
all jumble into one
blurred against the heartbreaking photos of those whose lives are destroyed
(it seems grief looks the same in any religion)

and until i can no longer look, full face, at anger this fierce.

so I turn the page, story unfinished,
aching, but immobilised
knowing I have the luxury of being able to turn the page,
to pour another cup of coffee and talk of the day’s meals
(to say ‘amen’ at the end of the prayer, and move on to the final hymn),
and yet, somehow, the responsibility not to.

All the while, you, God of Abraham,
must be weeping for love of your children.
each one of them.

i fear my faith that peace and justice will win this war
is deserting me,

(i pray someone else will hold that faith for me)

and the only act of faith I have left
is to honour the grief and the terror of those living it,
alongside you.

Maybe – faint hope – that will be enough
to provoke me to make peace with my neighbours
and to practise being gracious in my own life
(even when I am attacked without provocation).
to recognise the loved-ness of the other
as easily as I recognise their other-ness.

and instead of saying, that will have to be enough,
I should have the faith that
it is the only that which will be enough.