Our God, our help in ages past,

You have loved creation through it all.
Through the rise and fall of every civilization.
Through every pandemic.
Through every human power — just, and unjust.

Our hope for years to come.

In a year of social distance, ventilators, and empty churches;
In a year of flags, robocalls, rallies, and division;
In a year of layoffs, shortages, and cancelled plans;
We entrust to you our deep and timid hope
That the years to come will be better than this.

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

We are so fearful.
And so weary of all the anxious thoughts we carry.
We are unmoored by all this change, 
Sometimes it catches our breath
to see our kids playing soccer in a face mask,
learning math from a teacher on a computer screen,
giving airhugs to their Nana over Facetime.
It is not what we wanted, what we hoped, what we believe is good.
And we’re afraid, too, of what might come. 
Threats of violence seem more real than before.
Divisions deeper, hatred stronger, weapons more common than we knew.
We long for a feeling of safety, of shelter.
We long for the one who calms the storm.

And our eternal home.

You are the one who hems us in,
Who makes a space for our weary, frightened bodies 
under the shelter of your wing.
Our lives are in your hands,
The hands which made us, 
which sustain us, 
which spanned the cross in deepest love.
Give us glimpses of what is eternal,
And practice remaining true to the things which last:
Faith.
Hope.
And love.

May we be ever, always, the ones who love.

Amen.

Kate Kooyman

Rev. Kate Kooyman is a minister of the Reformed Church in America who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

19 Comments

  • Cory Van Sloten says:

    Thanks Kate, I appreciate you!

  • Ed Starkenburg says:

    This is a wonderful blessing to my soul. My eyes cannot hold back the emotion it unleashes. Thank you!

  • John Kleinheksel says:

    Kate: You lifted up what needs to be accented today.

    Descriptive. Prescriptive. Faith, hope and love. Yes.
    The dying of the old, the rising of the new. Lament. Patience. Persistence. Reality is good (not whimsical, indifferent, random or evil).
    Good will shine through the gloom. Eyes to see it, find it, live it, be it.
    Like you, I’m sick of the wasteland, the wilderness, the desert. The overload. The loss of former connections, patterns of community. Getting through it all to tomorrow. Ugh.

  • Kathy Van Rees says:

    I needed this today, Kate. Thank you.

  • Nate Johnson says:

    Beautifully put, Kate – thank you.

  • Jim Payton says:

    A much needed tonic in these trying times … thank you for this, Kate.

  • Karl VanDyke says:

    This Is another testimony to the value of the classic hymns. The words all have significance together with music that speaks to our souls. I miss the congregation singing in this time of isolation. Thanks Kate.

  • Ken Boonstra says:

    Lovely, simply lovely. And side bonus, teaching everyone that there are multiple lectios ready to lead us to pray.

  • Thanks for this wonderful prayer. My only regret is our concern for “empty churches.” I keep reminding myself that the church is the Body of Christ and the churches are no emptier now than they were a year ago. When Mao Tsetung, in the 1950’s, closed down all the worship buildings in China, the church did not empty, but eventually grew a hundred times over. What lessons can we learn from this? Perhaps Covid will help us in America to correct our language about church?

    • Henry Baron says:

      We, the Body of Christ, sorely miss seeing and greeting each other in our church buildings, joining our voices in praise and lament, our hearts and souls in prayer, and receiving together the Word from the pulpit. We need that and taste the communion of the saints.

  • Thank you for this beautiful prayer from a loved hymn. I wonder if I could us it in a service (giving credit to you, of course) since we are not able to sing.

  • Sheryl Beerens says:

    Thank you for this heartfelt prayer, Kate!

  • Willa Brown says:

    Beautiful prayer, Kate. Adding my “Amen”.

  • Dawn Alpaugh says:

    Kate, I wanted to say that your prayer was breathtakingly beautiful. We used it on Sunday in worship, with the singing in between by our music director and it was haunting and perfect. In a week that feels so tentative and so unsure and so filled with fear, your words were perfect. You have a beautiful way of saying what needs to be said. Thank you for your gift.

  • Chelsea Lampen says:

    Oh Kate. Amen and amen. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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