An Atheist’s Prayer and a Theist’s Meditation

by Rev. Sean Neil-Barron

An Atheist’s Prayer 

To whom it may concern, 
Which I say in all sincerity. 
For this prayer’s only recipients
Are those with concern. 

Concern for this planet– which nourishes and sustains all that we call ours. 

Concern for humanity — this rag tag band of all we got. 

Concern for ourselves — as we navigate the body blows of life

Concerns that hold on to us, like long lost friends, into the night. 

Offering us a chance to take up our part.

To hold on to gratitude amid the 
randomness of life’s pain,
And the calculated chaos of human inaction. 

To hold on to what is true, 
That ever evolving state of knowing,
discerned and understood, 
With a scientific eye. 

To be reminded of all that IS, 
IS here
IS right
IS present. 
IS already. 

That in this tangled blessing that is our lives,
Joy and suffering, 
Mortality and transcendence,
Wonder and science,
Limitation and boundlessness 
Coexist together, 
unified in this one life.  

For all we are yet to become, and what we may do together. For the person and people we are creating each day. We are grateful. 

A Theist’s Meditation

Spirit of life, 
That which abounds beyond my understanding
Whose pulse feels vivid and real,
Glimpsed in moments fleeting and abundant.
Be present with us, here. 

In this room there are
 Aching hearts
Confounded minds
Struggling bodies

God who is comfort, walk with us. 
Help us to navigate the obstacles that dot our ways 
With humility, compassion, and resilience. 
Turn us to see those pilgrims who walk beside us
That connection is open and ready for us. 
Quiet our minds so we may hear the whispers of elemental love:
Our belovedness that can never be taken away.

God who is power, 
Unlocked through human hands and hearts,
Convict our wavering hearts as we struggle towards justice. 
Stem our resistance born of privilege and ignorance. 
Steady our hands as we try on new ways of being

Drag us towards doing the right thing, 
Even when we don’t want to

God who is redemption
Forgive us for all that falls short, 
all the ways we can’t quite seem to live up to even our own standards. 
Break open our hearts to find compassion for ourselves
as we human our way through life.
But above all else, never let us give up on the possibility of redemptive love,
That wherever we are going, we all go together. 

God of surrender,
Who holds our burdens and pain,
Who see the ways that love is working beyond our vision
Stay fast with us, and help us to do our small part in the work to come. . 

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