Spider Prayer

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As I write this, a spider spins her web. Around and around she goes, methodically, meticulously.
She weaves her way the way we walk a labyrinth, the way we pray. The cicadas have silenced. The air conditioners still rumble. Crickets. Tree frogs. And a low grumble from a Tecumseh dog.

In the distance, a train whistle blows. Above me bats flap their wings, eating the very bugs I want to escape. Between the trees, a sliver of the moon plays peek-a-boo. The stars are doing their thing, too.

Did you know you can figure out the temperature by the frequency of cricket chirps?

It is warm out. A little sticky. Another train passes through town. I wonder out loud to Chloe where the passengers are going. Or what the conductor is hauling.

I wonder where we are going.

It has been a hard week for our country. And it is only Tuesday. The stillness of the night is disrupted by a car speeding down Pulaski Street. Crickets.

My prayer, amidst the finger-pointing and politicking, is that of the psalmist:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain[a] in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Has God forgotten us? Has the One who created all things good turned Her back on us? Has God given up on us?


I keep praying:

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

Yes, God, consider our prayers, and answer us! Crickets.

Yes, God, give light to our eyes, or we will sleep the sleep of death. Tree frogs.

Yes, God, we are our enemies. Silence.

I keep praying:
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Right, God. Everywhere in the Bible poets and prophets, shepherds and bakers, those who climb sycamore trees and those who live by the sword, always…Always…ALWAYS…receive the promise of hope, the promise of a new creation, the promise of your steadfast love in this moment.

The spider is gone now. She has reclused to her chamber. Tomorrow her web will be gone, destroyed by a rambunctious puppy or the dew from the rising sun. Still, she will return with her courage to begin again. Moving from the outside in, and then from the inside out. Her work, like ours, is always beginning in a moment like this one.

Adam Quine, First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln


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