The Big Mess: A Prayer of Repentance

Even in the small schemes of our lives

there are times when we come upon the big mess

which we may or may not have caused.

The challenges given, the first shots fired,

volleys of words thrown like grenades,

the bodies prone, the revenge promised…

war even on the tiniest scale wreaks havoc

and rejects consolation through the years.

The fog of war never completely lifts

but the casualties are completely clear.

Trust and innocence blown to smithereens,

hope sidelined in the trenches

with bitterness like a rat

gnawing on grudges.

Jesus, make it stop.


Give us imagination

to see relationships restored

forgiveness offered

good will renewed;

give us vision to see this battlefield transformed.

We long for a field of winter wheat

green after the fiercest season,

friends embracing enemies,

an armistice to the cold war–

a white flag in the spring of peace.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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