In early March, a copy of Speaking Truth arrived at my house, and I was excited to read it. I was busy pastoring during Lent and making plans for Easter, excited for this celebratory season in the life of the church, so this collection of prayers and reflections seemed perfect.
And then, a few days later, everything changed. COVID-19 quickly rewrote all our daily patterns and our expectations.
As I write this, we’ve been living in this pandemic for over three months; though stores and restaurants have reopened, cases in my community are spiking, so worship remains virtual and my family remains at home.
Three months is a long time… and yet, I can’t really remember what life was like before; this season has been an entire lifetime and a breath, both at once.
If you’re like me, you started quarantine back in March with a big stack of books and, in the midst of dread and fear and anxiety, harbored a small sliver of joy that you would finally have time to get to them.
ALL THE TIME! I thought. THERE WILL BE SO MUCH FREE TIME!!!
Then, if you’re like me, it was much harder to take advantage of that time than I anticipated. After several weeks of quarantine, the stack of books still sat on my side table, staring at me. I opened a couple early on and had a hard time focusing, reading a few sentences until I found my mind wandering to how to upload the next worship video or making a mental checklist of the parishioners I needed to call.
That was my experience with every book I tried to read… until I got to Speaking Truth.
What a breath of fresh air.
This book, published by Abingdon Press, is a follow-up to We Pray With Her, a collection of prayers written by women who sent daily prayers to Secretary Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign in 2016. Speaking Truth took that premise and expanded it, including more voices — particularly of women of color and queer clergy.