The Common Good

My Morning Prayer

Dear God,

Giving word cloud, Genotar /
Giving word cloud, Genotar /

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

As my son Zeke says in his daily prayers, so I say in our prayer this morning, "Thank you for all of the good things in the world."

One of those good things happened to me when I stopped by the water company to pay  my bill. I walked into the building and stopped at the receptionist's desk to borrow a pen to write the check. I heard a family behind me and turned a saw a small child leading her mother by the hand, a mother carrying a baby in the cradle of her arm. The child listened to her Mother speak to her in Spanish, then looked at the receptionist and asked in English, "Can you show us where to pay our bill."

Suddenly and surprisingly the child looked up at me and threw her arms around me in a happy hug. "Mr. Barton!" she said. "I'm glad to see you, Mr. Barton!"

The child was a seven-year-old, second-grade student at the school where I teach. Her name is Maria. She is so small you can easily overlook her if you aren't looking for her. Her smile is broken because she is missing two teeth, but it is warm and wonderful and softly bright like the light of the sun at the dawn of a new day. Her eyes are earthy brown and full of friendship.

"Hey Maria!" I said. "I'm so glad to see you, too."

She led her Mom and baby brother on through the maze of poles and people and I lost them in the crowd. But I found something in that moment with Maria that reminded me of words Oscar Romero spoke over the radio to his people in El Salvador a year before he was martyred for his service to the poor:

"How beautiful will be the day when all the baptized understand that their work, their job, is a priestly work," he said. "That just as I celebrate Mass at this altar, so each carpenter celebrates Mass at his work-bench, and that each metal-worker, each professional, each doctor with the scalpel, the market woman at her stand is performing a priestly office! How many cabdrivers I know are listening to this message there in their cabs. ... You are a priest at the wheel, my friend, if you work with honesty, consecrating that taxi of yours to God bearing a message of peace and love to the passengers who ride in your cab."

So little Maria was a priest to me in the line at the water company that day.

Loving God, help us throw our arms around each other, our community, and our world as Maria threw her arms around me that day. Help us love.

Hopeful God, help us see the world as Maria sees the world, as a place to help instead of a place to fear. Help us hope.

Faithful God, help us find you in those who seem to be the smallest and most forgotten ones around us, for you said you would be here with us in them. Help us have faith.


Trevor Scott Barton is an elementary school teacher in Greenville, SC. He is a blogger for the Teaching Toleranceproject of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Giving word cloud, Genotar /

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)