We Had Hoped

A Message from Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

 

Dear Friends,

It does not take much these days for us to feel the weightiness of this season. Open your newsfeed, turn on the television, and the scenes from hospitals struggling to care for very sick COVID patients, the images from Afghanistan, the photos from Haiti, the fires burning through the west, the hurricanes swirling in warm waters while people in Southwest Louisiana still recover from last year’s storms - all of this is painful to watch and even more so when the faces are familiar. 

In times like these, we must rely on one another and the words from the scriptures. It is the time for us to turn to liturgy as we combine our prayer with the prayer of others resulting in the prayers of the people. It is in these times that faithful followers of Christ turn to the hope we know that is in Christ Jesus. We are reminded that even in our moments of deepest darkness, in him, there is no darkness at all, that the night and the day are both alike. 

So, I asked our dear friend Britney Winn Lee if she could write something for us for this season. She is a gifted writer from Shreveport and always seems to find the right words when some of us have none.

Below, you will find her offering to you. Receive it as a gift. Use it for yourself, your family, and friends, share it with your congregation, make it part of the rhythm of your life for the days ahead. 

I trust that when we all join in prayer, we will sense the movement of the Spirit among us.

Grace and Peace,
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey



The following liturgy is an original piece of work by Louisiana's own Britney Winn Lee, written specifically for the Louisiana Conference for this season. While the work is original, it is shareable. In fact, we encourage you to share it with as many as you'd like and in as many ways as you feel called.
 


 

"We Had Hoped"

A Liturgy Based on Luke 24:17-23, 30-32
 

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ONE: We had hoped that we would be somewhere else by now, that things would be different, that relief would be ours. 

COMMUNITY: We hoped for a better year, a better outcome, a better society where people could work together for each other’s good. 

ALL: Tell us again about hope, God. 

ONE: We had hoped that our weariness about the weariness would be replaced with joy and energy, that loss would not be the theme of most stories. 

COMMUNITY: We hoped for another kind of phone call, another kind of headline, another kind of school year where milestones could be marked with proximity. 

ALL: Tell us again about hope, God. 

ONE: We had hoped for peace instead of war, flourishing instead of floods, and abundance instead of scarcity. 

COMMUNITY: We hoped that dry bones would fill with life, waves would part for rescue, and the crowd would not insist on putting Love on a cross. 

ALL: Tell us again about hope, God. 

ONE: But here we are, in a place that is more chronic than interim. We feel the ache of those traveling to Emmaus who did not yet have hindsight in their corner. 

COMMUNITY: Here we are. Wondering what could have been and should have been, feeling unnerved about how little we feel at the moment. 

ALL: Tell us again about hope, God. 

ONE: Will you tell us again about hope, God?
 

Pause for Breathing
 

ONE: And Jesus asks, “What are you discussing together?” 

ONE: It is on this road, as we walk and review all that was and wasn’t, that you join us. Before we can even utter “Where has God gone?” you are here. 

COMMUNITY: “This is not the end,” you insist; you incarnate. Death is not where it culminates. Violence is not our best, disease is not our last, and fear is not our truth. 

ALL: Are not our hearts burning within us?

ONE: It is on this road where you teach us the mysteries of a story that came before us and will sustain after us—a story of exodus and homecoming, of resurrection and renewal.

COMMUNITY: Where you show us how goodness and suffering can be held together by God-made hands; how we have never—not for one second—been alone. 

ALL: Are not our hearts burning within us?

ONE: It is from this road that you rejoin us at the table, the Body and Blood holding the blood and body, as you did before when you promised Love would win. 

COMMUNITY: We were not ready for the trauma that came with thinking we had lost the Light. Give us today the bread we need for today that it may nourish us towards healing even as we are hurting. 

ALL: Are not our hearts burning within us? 
 

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