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December 2019

Morning Prayer at Burning Man

IMG_4157At 10am every morning campers and guests would gather in our chapel for Morning Prayer and Bible Study.  It was a time for us to connect with one another and center ourselves before the adventures of the day, or perhaps after the adventures of the night. Prior to the Burn we created a Prayer Book with readings based on the 10 Principles and rites for Morning Prayer and our various Temple services. One of my favorite prayers was one we prayed daily in the morning. I use it now as part of my default world morning prayer.

Leader  Eternal Spirit who sees and loves those who often are unseen and unloved by others,
We lift up to you all those who may be carrying heavy loads; 
those who have brought their losses and emptiness to the playa;
those held down by addiction or threatened by violence;
those who suffer in mind and body; 
those who feel unloved and unwelcome.  

May they find in us your hospitality, with no agenda of our own  except to welcome and listen, offering a cool breeze on a hot day.  

You are the God who is simple, direct, clear with us and for us. You have committed yourself to us. You have said Yes to us in creation, Yes to us in our birth, Yes to us in our baptism, Yes to us in our awakening this day. But we are not like you. We say “perhaps, maybe, I can’t.”  *

People  In your mercy you call us again.  Today you called and we said Yes. Because we are like you: loving and creative. We claim our Yes today in this place:  hot, exposed, uncontrolled, and not of our own making. We claim our Yes because today we are committed to Jesus’ command to love you, love ourselves, and love our neighbors. We claim the weird, ordinary, and unmet parts of ourselves saying Yes to you today because we are religious as fuck,  we are your church, and we are not giving up. In your mercy and helping one another, hear our prayer: we say Yes. Amen. 

Isn't that a great prayer!  I love how it names the brokenness that people bring to the Playa and also reflects the open, agenda-free, healing hospitality offered by the playa that we want to embody in our camp. I also adore the, "because we are religious as fuck" line. Whenever we would get to that part of the prayer, there was always a laugh of surprise. Beneath the light shock of it was a proclamation: we are a people of love and hope, no matter what. And we aren't giving up. 

The Prayer Book  was created by Alex Leach, Patty Jenkins, Michelle Booth and Tom Gartin. This prayer was written by Patty. The paragraph with the * was inspired in part by the prayer "Yes" printed in Walter Brueggemann's Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth.