Any thoughts on this, from Catherine herself?
For liturgy, God is always a moving target: we pray to him and get equivocal answers, or none; we ask to see his glory and are shown only his back. Any assertion we make of God's grace and mercy is at once undercut by the contingency of our daily experience. Any assumption we make of God's indifference or hostility is eclipsed by the appearance of mercy and grace in our lives. The declaration from the burning bush, ehyeh asher ehyeh ("I will be what I will be"), is a promise and a threat in equal measure, and hints at the simultaneous presence and absence of God at the other end of our prayers. Yet whether God is present or absent is not a final or even an answerable question, only a sort of spiritual brain-teaser by which our minds stay alert. With or without God, what is unequivocally present is the human other in need. --Catherine Madsen, The Bones Reassemble.
As I read it over now, I'd say we should cut in at the second sentence ("Any assertion..."), rather than the first. I think our siddur needs to emphasize, early and often, the "with or without God" motif.
"I believe in prayer and the need to believe--
even the great Nothing signifying God."
--Agha Shahid Ali