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Mission Trip Lament

In another timeline, a group of youth from my congregation would be preparing to go on a mission trip to Tennessee next week. Understandably, that trip was canceled a couple months ago. Time has felt particularly off for me these last couple of months because I have not had my usual markers of time's passage to go by. No last youth group of the year. No youth fundraiser. No mission trip prep. No chasing down the last deposits and required forms.

No opportunity to watch a group of middle and high school students grow closer, work hard, and learn about our world.

That last one is a loss I lament.

God of service and sacrifice, 

There were plans.

There were hopes. 

We were going to travel, 

to gather with others,

for the good of the whole. 

We were going to offer our energy,

our time, our attention,

to the needs of others. 

We were going to learn,

expand our understanding of this broken world,

through partnerships with other faithful servants. 

And yes, we were going to have fun.

Create inside jokes,

make memories with our seniors,

sing and play games,

laugh together. 

But here we are at home. 

We lament today that trip that will not be. 

The work that will not be done. 

The learning that won't happen,

...this year. 

We lift up to you those people who were counting on our presence. 

We pray that others will heed the call,

stepping into the places we have left vacant. 

We pray that you will cast our attention closer to home.

Help us recognize calls to serve

in our own backyard. 

For those in our community

and in the community we were called to serve

who have been impacted by our current reality

whether illness, economic hardship, difficult decisions, 

or other pain we know not,

surround them with your comfort and your love.

May we and others be equipped

to offer compassion and assistance in those places of struggle. 

Our service to you is not limited 

to the structure of one mission trip.

Indeed, you call us to continuous service, 

steadfast learning,

faithful compassion,

and lasting partnerships,

even as we grieve this lost opportunity. 

As we mourn what has been lost,

bless this week and what it will be.

In the absence of what was to be,

create something new,

that we may still serve you

and our neighbors,

in love.


June 24, 2020

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