Preacher: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
Seeker: Every member of humanity has know, in some way, that something greater was over the world and creation. They could not always name it or describe it, but they knew there was some force beyond their understanding that existed.
Preacher: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Seeker: Stories were told and were passed down from generation to generation – stories that sought to explain how the world – their world – came into existence. Some stories were as foreign as the people who told them. Names and traits were given to explain why the world worked as it did, and why the people under this unknown being suffered and were rewarded. Sense and explanation were brought to bear on the seeming randomness of existence. Each story claimed to be the correct and original story. And each storyteller claimed to have authentic knowledge. And each story was sadness and loss.
Preacher: “You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
Seeker: Untold generations asked why do things happen this way, and why do they happen to us?
Preacher: “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.”
Seeker: For all the stories that were told, and for all the beliefs that were passed on though, only one story persisted from its original telling to the present. Was this because it was closet to the truth? Or explained creation in a way that all humanity can feel that it might be story of their beginnings?
Preacher: “You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.”
Seeker: Who are we to you, Divine creator? Why were we created? What part do we play? Why are we so briefly here, and then vanish leaving no more than a faint footstep and a trail of dust?
Preacher: “Turn, O LORD! How long? Have compassion on your servants!”
Seeker: The ancient called and chosen people claimed to know your name; and claimed they had a purpose in living, and left a legacy after their death. Does that apply equally to us? Can we also claim to be called and chosen people? Or are we just inheritors of a story that once explained the origins of humanity?
Preacher: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
Seeker: We seek knowledge, Lord God. But sometimes we look in the wrong places. And our human knowledge betrays us. The stories we tell ourselves sound faint and hallow, because the world around us mocks our devotion.
Preacher: “Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.”
Seeker: We try so hard to understand, and belief. We suffer through long times of confusion and disbelief to only have a few brief moments of understanding and illumination. But how we crave that understanding and illumination.
Preacher: “Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.”
Seeker: So we toil on, and in our toil seek to keep body and soul together. We commit ourselves to belief, and hope that belief will save us. And in our salvation, we hope and pray to find peace and solace.
Preacher: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands — O prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17)