A Prayer for the Empty Chairs (Thanksgiving in a Pandemic)

Eternal God,
we come to you in prayer today
over the empty chairs.

We pray with longing
for the friends and family
who cannot come to the table today
and while we give thanks
for Zoom and text and phones
it's not the same
as passing the rolls
and hugging them tight.

We pray with grief
for the chairs that will not be filled
when this pandemic is over.
We pray for all whom we have lost,
250,000 loved ones in this country,
and over a million worldwide.
We rage and cry at the unfairness of it all.
We stare at empty chairs,
and wonder where you are.

Remind us, Lord,
that you are in the empty chairs,
sitting with us in our loneliness,
our grief, and our exhaustion.
Remind us that you laugh at our jokes,
and like our cooking even when it's burned.
Remind us that you are with us
even now, even today,
pouring as much love and strength into us
as we can consume.
You fill our empty chairs,
and you fill our empty hearts.
So, holding onto gratitude with our fingernails,
we give you thanks,
and thanks, and thanks.

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