On Wednesday Transitions celebrated is opening. The event was momentous for our entire community. Homelessness is a regional problem that cannot be addressed without regional cooperation. While the center is in the heart of Columbia's downtown at the corner of Main and Elmwood, the people it serves come from all the surrounding counties. As a member of the Midlands Housing Alliance Executive Board, I've witnessed the birth of the new transition center from the inside-out. Too many people to name deserve our thanks but if you see Larry Arney, our executive director, or Cathy Novinger, the chair of the board, let them know the Midlands looks a little more like the Kingdom of God because of their work. On Wednesday I was invited to offer a prayer at the event. The full text of that prayer appears below. You might find it strange that a pastor needs to compose his prayers in advance. I don't. For me it's the difference between a meandering mash up of disconnected thoughts and something coherent. I'm not saying that God doesn't hear all the "umms" when we pray extemporaneously. But when I'm praying on behalf of others in a public setting, I need to prepare and pray in advance.
A Prayer for Transitions on the Eve of her Birth
God, You are the creator of all good things;
things that have passed,
things that remain,
and those that we cannot yet see.
Acknowledging you as the ground upon which we stand,
we bow our heads and lift our prayers,
daring to mutter a word in this fleeting moment of celebration;
to You, the One who is not bound by time.
On some days our prayers are questions;
on other days they are requests.
But on this day, we only have time to say thank You.
For the pain that comes before a new thing is born
For the conflict that generates new ideas
For the passing of time that allows old things to die
For the stubborn prophets who led us to this day
For transitions that compel new beginnings
and for a community that has learned what collaboration can conceive.
On this day, we only have time to say thank you.
But tomorrow when the doors to this house will be open
our prayers will be different.
For those things that we cannot yet see, give us grace to believe you are there also.