“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24)
Back when I was in seminary, we held a pray vigil for a sociopolitical event of the times. I really can not remember what it was, but I am pretty sure it had to do with peace issues. Peace issues were a going concern in the early 21st century. I signed up to do one hour; people were scheduled in ones or twos to be in the seminary chapel over a 24 hour time period. When I signed up I was not exactly sure what I would do during that time. But what happened during that hour turned out to be very interesting.
I started out by praying. And then, as the situation seemed to call forth, I sang some songs concerning peace and God’s presence in situations. In the chapel the chairs had slots for song books, and one of the song books was from Taize. One of the songs in the Taize book in the chapel was “Wait for the Lord” It is comprised of a simple two line refrain that is repeated as often as dictated by the service it is used in. “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. / Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart!” I felt lead to pray for different things, and after each prayer I would sing the refrain several times. In essence, during that hour I constructed ad hoc my own personal worship service. And the hour that I thought would drag on, sped by. It made me wish I had signed up for two hours instead. In fact when the next person came to relieve me and continue on the vigil, I was loathed to leave. But I wanted them to have their time too.
This one hour going deep into a spiritual experience was one of the significant moments on my spiritual journey. To be quite honest, I am not sure whether our seminary’s vigil had much impact on sociopolitical stance of the United States. I have come to see that these vigils are not so much for the players in the events but for those of us on the side lines who feel helpless in it all. That is not to say the prayers of the righteous do not have much effect. But if we seminary students and faculty did have sway by our prayer vigils, I am hard pressed to explain why American troops are still in Afghanistan. Perhaps the question of our influence will be answered when Christ returns and we are then able to see the true total picture of what happened. Until then we can but cling to such verses as above and the songs of faith and spirituality they inspire.
May you gentle reader find inspiration at every turn, and you be strong, take heart, and hope in the Lord. Selah!