Archive for September 22nd, 2021

Blessed Are the Powerless


Written by Vicki Kemper, a contemporary pastor.

Here are some things I learned from almost four years of walking with the faithful, strong, courageous, and utterly vulnerable Guatemalan immigrant who took sanctuary in our church: Powerlessness is exhausting. It affects every single thing. Powerlessness will chew you up, spit you out, and then come back for what little is left of you. Powerlessness will leave you gasping for breath and grasping at straws. Some days will feel like a roller coaster ride, others like a train wreck. Fear and desperation will never be far away. The temptation to despair will be constant. Anger and bitterness will nag you to feed them. Powerlessness can be existential or circumstantial, trivial or life-threatening, imagined or all-too-real. You may feel powerless over the design flaws of your kitchen, powerless to change your partner’s annoying habits, powerless to end systemic racism, powerless to get out of debt, powerless to fix the climate crisis, powerless against gun violence, powerless against the ravages of Covid-19, other diseases, or the bittersweet march of age. You may feel powerless in the face of your job’s nonstop demands or the constant clamoring of your kids. So here are some other things I learned, most of them from Lucio Perez, the seemingly powerless immigrant who lived in our church, and his family: God’s faithful love lasts all day long, every day. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door. There is power in community and strength in solidarity. Blessed are the powerless, because they know their need. Blessed are the powerless, because God dwells with them.


From the Roman Breviary, the liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church. Published in 1482, it became known as the Liturgy of the Hours.

Almighty and merciful God,

you give your faithful people

the grace that makes every path of this life

the straight and narrow way which leads to life eternal.

Grant that we,

who know that we have no strength to help ourselves,

put all our trust in your almighty power,

and by the assistance of your heavenly grace,

always prevail in all things,

against whatever arises to fight against us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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