Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all our dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy spirit, one God, now and forever.
Talley had been one of the driving forces in the congregation I served. She was the last founding member of the parish. When I arrived, however, a younger woman, who had long served alongside her, brought her to church. Talley shuffled into the building most Sundays, physically exhausted by the trip up the ramp. There was no talking with Talley. Dementia had robbed her of that. She sat in front, taking in the music, the Word, and how much more? I do not really know. I am dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do what I cannot.
We pray in this prayer that God grants us strength and protection because we are frail and walk through many dangers and temptations. Our culture has glorified self-sufficiency and personal strength. The ideal man or woman is not dependent upon anyone else. We will stand alone! Until we cannot. Then, all those years of neglecting or even pushing away friends and their helpful community may come back to haunt us. We cannot stand alone, not always. The day comes when we cannot do much of anything alone anymore.
The younger woman who had served alongside Talley was an instrument for God to keep his baptismal promise, which he had made to Talley many years before. She could no longer stand. She was frail and, robbed of discernment, could no longer tell friend from foe. One day as I was bringing the sacrament down the steps to her in the pew, I caught her napping. I knelt on the pew in front of her and spoke her name. She startled and quickly aimed her best right hook at my jaw. She was all of 90 years and 90 pounds. She was no threat to me, but she could not see that I was no threat to her. She needed her friend that day to put arms around her which she trusted and to speak reassurance into her aged ears. God has given us friends and family for a purpose. We all come to days of weakness and frailty. Do you have a friend whom you have not been in touch with lately? Consider giving them a call, send a note, or reach out some other way. God answers this prayer for you through friends and for your friends through you.