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March 2023

If this book could talk

I retired my prayer book this week. It might look familiar to you – It’s blue – I don’t know the brand, but they call It moleskin. I don’t know if any moles died to make it… I hope not… I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a real mole… Regardless, this book has been a fixture of my time here at United. It accompanies me to the building every time I come; sits on my desk or travels other places in my backpack. It’s been to Rochester a lot lately. It has lots of “Pilot G” blue ink scribbles, smudges, crumbs, and tea stains. I write the prayers of the people in it every week. It is a part of my spiritual practice, my sermon preparation, my pastoral care cue. Flipping through its pages, it jogs my memory if someone comes to mind, but I can’t recall the circumstance – the bearer of God winks as I call it. It is a time capsule of my prayer life and the life of prayer in this church.

Looking back, I watch with awe as I see United praying. I can follow the trajectory of loved ones in trouble – people I will never meet, problems solved or still pending, people healed in this life or entrusted into the next. I see hurt relationships, financial setbacks, unexpected life journeys, joys and triumphs; new jobs and new tech equipment and new cars – the things of life. I see the life of our church. We have mourned together when a beloved member moved to the next life, and when those whose seats were always filled became empty or filled by another and they became less mobile members. We worried and prayed when a member had surgery or got hurt. We’ve prayed for backs and knees and necks and stomachs, for babies just born and for those moving to skilled care. And it’s not only for us - I see our church, and its heart – praying for the hurts of the world. For ends to gun violence and opioid addiction, wars and uprisings, homelessness, and climate crisis. For the church down the road, across the country, across the world.

Today, as I retire my blue book, every page as full as my heart, I say one last prayer. Thank you, God. Thank you and Amen.

With love,

Rev Brae


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