God Help Us

I don’t talk much about spirituality, particularly my own. Not in public, not in private and not on this blog. But this morning I took part in a unique event that had me very visibly praying on a busy, six-lane suburban street corner with almost 900 others, everyone standing, sitting or kneeling six feet apart and wearing face coverings per a new state law. We stretched for blocks in every direction. We were grateful for the annual weather phenomenon known as June gloom that kept things cool.


We were part of a much larger group of thousands throughout San Diego County participating in We Pray San Diego, a special event created and coordinated by a Maranatha Chapel pastor and Miles McPherson, the former-NFL-player-turned-megachurch-minister. We peacefully assembled and took our places and at 9 a.m. began listening through headphones and earbuds to McPherson lead a recorded online prayer vigil that included biblical scripture to connect with our own reflections, confessions, petitions and acceptances. 


We prayed for the health and safety of hospital workers and COVID patients.  We prayed for the healing and restoration of victims of racism and improved relationships between law enforcement and black people. We prayed for national unity and wisdom for city, state, national and spiritual leaders. We prayed for our families, our enemies and our collective mental health. We prayed for jobs and provisions to be given to those in need, for a much-needed revival.


We bowed our heads and clasped our hands. We burrowed knees into flimsy cushions and sometimes changed positions for pain relief. We raised our arms and opened our hearts and at least one of us cried without knowing it, so enraptured by the solemnity of the moment, the communal calm in such a chaotic world. We answered questions by curious bystanders and smirked when motorists honked their horns in support. We cheered when the hour ended, believing somehow, somewhere we’d done good. We smiled and welcomed all the blessings from strangers of different faiths, all of us united by a belief in the power of prayer. We returned to our homes feeling spiritually renewed and maybe more hopeful—if only because for one hour today we were surrounded by love and kindness, not hate and cruelty; gratitude and support, not anxiety and abandonment. 


We hit the streets en mass today, if not arm in arm or shoulder to shoulder. When time was up,  we hugged household members, virtually high-fived others, then hobbled back to our cars knowing we are not alone in this crazy, mixed-up world. Today the world was made a little better,  if only in our heads.


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