I quoted from this poem at the Remembrance Day service in Hardwick this year.  It’s from the collection ‘Prayers for a Privileged People’ by theologian and writer Walter Brueggemann.


The Threat Upon Us

Summertime . . . when the living is easy.

You give us summer and winter,

cold and heat,

seedtime and harvest,

but summer is special-

grills and patios and pools

and baseball.

We take our ease,

even amid terrorism.

The threat is mostly remote,

and the war in lraq (or Afghanistan or Sudan or . . . )

scarcely calls us in our privilege to attention.

And then, right in the middle of our easy living,

the bombs burst

on the street corner,

on the bus,

on the train.

the smoke, the fire, the shrieking,

the dash of emergency vehicles,

all brought very near,

all brought right up against our easy summer living.

We experience a sinking sense

that the world is not safe,

that our life is not free of threat,

and we wonder where and when next

will come assault on our well-arranged lives.

We turn to you, partly out of need,

partly out of habit, partly out of trust.

We know you to be Creator, who maintains order,

Redeemer, who loves us more than we love ourselves.

But we are so self-sufficient,

we do not easily turn from our ways to yours.

And so amid our trust in you

comes our fated self-confidence,

our urge to manage,

our wish for self-sufficiency.

So we, unsettled in deep ways,

want to believe more than we do.

But even now we believe enough to know that your

good way does not depend on our trust.

So be our God – yet again-

this time, and

we will be honest in our double-mindedness

as we turn to you in our fear.