Prayer for the Day Script - Saturday 16th September with Pádraig ÓTuama
I work at a reconciliation centre in Northern Ireland. We regularly have people coming from different sides of political or religious or national divides to meet each other in an atmosphere of truth and understanding.
It’s not easy for them. It takes a lot.
One time there were two people who were from deeply divided communities. They each had been bereaved and they each, in their own way, found the other community to blame.
They were both right, each in their own way.
They were taking part in a shared memorial service, each remembering their loved one. They found it difficult to share this with each other, because to acknowledge the grief of one seemed to undo the grief of the other.
One of them was trying to light a candle of remembrance as part of the memorial service. They couldn’t. Their hand was shaking too much. Shaking with everything that shakes a body: anger, pain, nervousness, anxiety.
But the other put a hand on the shaking hand.
Together they lit a match. They lit the candle.
Human touching in a place of division can bring us to something powerful. The two disagreed as much afterwards as before.
But the quality of their disagreement had changed, had focused, became fruitful not destructive.
God of the earth
We live in divided times
Referenda, Elections, Policies, Borders.
We find ourselves divided by deeply-held positions.
In our disagreements, help us nurture the kind of touch
and humanity that helps us work with each other
for a common good
not against each other
because even when we still disagree
we know that we can
do better than our worst.