Saturday, March 28, 2009

When Hope Trembles Naked

The late Kenneth G. Phifer, when he was pastor of the St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, authored A Book of Uncommon Prayer. I treasure it both for Dr. Phifer's spiritual perception and his poetic style. My wife and I often read the book together in the late evening hour before we go to bed.

A few nights ago, reading a prayer labeled "I Am Impatient" (and aren't we all?), I was struck by these lines. I've gone back to them several times for a rereading:

There is a time . . .
to wait until the night has gone,
and the dawn has come once more,
and hope trembles naked in the chill of morning.

Words written nearly thirty years ago, but how expessive of the time we're living in, when we wait so impatiently for justice and compassion to overrule greed and repression, for wars to cease and our economy to recover, and for raw political ambition to give way to a desire to serve the common good.

I struggle for faith and patience in every dark night, and shiver in naked hope whenever a new day appears to be dawning.

~ Bert Johnston, Author of Parson Campbell's Breakthrough

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