A Prayer on Ezekiel 34 in a Time of Pandemic

To the One in Whom we live and move and have our being:

Though I long for normalcy
May we never return to normal.
May we cling to the embrace of the world
With the tenacity of a lover
Or a child to its mother.
May we hold tenderly
the knowledge that we are one human body
And that what affects one affects all.

May we never again return to normal,
Looking at the world as if we were hoarders,
Viewing the world through the lens of scarcity.
Let us see your abundance:
That there is more than enough for everyone,
More than enough food
More than enough housing
More than enough health care.
Let us all see clearly that the ideology imposed on us
Is arbitrary
Let us expose the lie
That in order to have food
We must be employed by the rich
That in order to have housing
We must be employed by the rich
That in order to have health care
We must be employed by the rich
That in order to deserve time off
We must be rich.

May we never again return to normal.
May we see with clarity
Who are the real “makers and takers.”
May we value garbage collectors and grocers and farmers
The way we value our own digestive systems.
May we value teachers and professors and counselors
The way we value our own brains.
May we value orderlies and nurses and doctors and researchers
The way we value our own health.
And may we value the proper role of government
Instead of trying to drown it in a bathtub
So that we are left without competent leaders
In the midst of a crisis.

May we never return to normal.
May we restore to their proper role
The shepherds we have appointed
Who should be judged on their ability
Not to make money for investors,
But to take care of the flock
To bind up the injured,
Who take seriously the notion
That they will have to give an account to you
For every one lost, exploited, or shoved aside.
Hold them accountable, God,
For they have fattened themselves off of the flock
And allowed the fat sheep to foul the water with their feet
And trample the pasture with their feet.

God, let us not waste this opportunity for peaceful social change,
Because as surely as predators hunt the weak among us,
There are those already working
To seize property
To enslave us even more
To impose burdens on us just because they can,
Who claim, like Pharaoh,
That those who work for liberation, for sabbath rest,
For reparations, and for justice
Are simply “Lazy, lazy.”

May we never return to normal
Forgetting how intimately and physically we are connected:
That what was in one body
So easily takes up residence in another.
We have lived so long under the lies
That we do not need each other,
That we do not belong to the Earth,
That we are not part of the same web,
That some of us are more important and more worthy than others.
Too many eyes are shut tightly against the light of your revelation, Lord.
Open them. Help them bear the truth which hurts
And sets free.

God, though I long for normalcy,
May we never, never return to normal.