A Psalm in the time of COVID-19

My heart has no joy, O Lord,
For it is weighed down with imprecations.
I struggle to feel anything but contempt
For those who spread lies, who conceal the truth,
Who reject the opportunities to help others.

I lament the truth of history,
Wherein people have been treated worse than animals,
Making persons in the present rightly distrustful and apprehensive
Because their ancestors died in the experiments of mine.

Overwhelmed, I am prostrate in front of my prayer candle
Bearing the image of St. Dolly of Tennessee,
For I am terrified for my immune compromised child,
Who is too young to be vaccinated and
Too young to perceive the callousness of her community,
Wherein those who could choose to reject vaccination.

I cannot forget that the world is full of others who have not yet had a chance at vaccination.
While I live in a place that debates boosters or third doses,
It remains true that others have yet to have shots in their communities,
Adding to their reasons for distrust of those who make promises
With no followthrough, except to bring grief.

I do not have the bravery of the writer of Psalm 137,
Who knew how to write a sharp closing line with honesty.
I cannot utter such a thing, even in my heart.

But I do have some desire for vengeance, for just desserts,
For reprisals, for satisfactions.

Something like the biting of a million fire ants until their hearts are softened.
Something like haunting dreams until they are persuaded.
Something like an itchy bottom in a public place until they repent.

Speaking of hardened hearts…
I suppose mine isn’t exactly pliable in this matter.

I am so angry, God. So angry.
And you know better than I do all that is cloaked in that anger.

Once again, my imprecations become a plea for mercy.
Mercy as you see fit.
Mercy in your love.
Mercy in tangible ways in our own time.


The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Big Timber Lutheran Church (ELCA)  in Big Timber, MT. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit and is President of the board of RevGalBlogPals, Inc.

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