Sunday, February 17, 2019

Plain Talking: Sermon for the Sixth Sunday After Epiphany C


Last week, in the gospel many of us didn’t get to hear thanks to that rotten weather, Jesus is at the lake of Gennasaret. The crowds were pressing in on him so much, he had to get into a fisherman’s boat there on shore and row out a ways so that he would be able to teach without being knocked into the water. The boat he borrowed belonged to a fisherman named Simon, who had just come ashore to hear this wandering preacher speak. After Jesus finishes teaching the crowd, he tells Simon to row even further out, into the deep water, and let down his net. Even though Simon points out that the night before, when the best fishing often takes place, they had caught nothing, Simon does as Jesus says. And, let’s face it-- that’s always a wise thing to do at all times.

In fact, in the gospels it’s always better to do what Jesus says than what Simon says.

Now the deep water was a place of fear to many Jews. Even fishermen usually stayed close to shore, because in the Jewish cosmology, or mental model of the universe, the deep waters were often places of chaos. It’s where Leviathan lived. It’s a place where if your ship wrecked, you drowned. And there are still many among us who are fine swimming in a pool, or near shore, but get a lot more nervous when the water is so deep you can’t see bottom. We like to be where we can see what’s coming ahead. It’s human nature.

But Simon finds out, as does the watching crowd, that it is in the deep waters where we are often called to do our most abundant and fruitful work. He lets down his net, and as he pulls it up, he gets shocked with the catch of his life. In fact, the catch that Simon draws up in his net is so abundant it threatens to break the nets, and then to swamp the boat.

And our life in ministry—all of us, whether lay or ordained, for we are ALL ministers, as our Book of Common Prayer insists over and over again—is so often like that. Jesus leads us out of our comfort zones. Out where we fear the water is over our heads. And yet, that is where our real work is. And that can make us uncomfortable, or outright frighten us.


That’s when it’s vital to remember this: that Jesus is right there in the boat with us. He’s right there with us when he urges us into the deep waters of mission. He’s right there with us even when we feel the cords of the net straining and feel the boat, hanging above what seems to us to be an unfamiliar abyss, list to one side as we struggle to haul those nets up. Jesus never sends us into the deep waters without coming with us and staying right beside us, supporting us in our ministry.

And then this week’s gospel helps reinforce that. Moses had taught the people of Israel from the mountain, and Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes has Jesus doing the same. That’s why Matthew’s version of our gospel story for this week is called “The Sermon on the Mount.” Matthew sees Jesus as the new Moses, so if Moses teaches from a mountain, so will Jesus.

Luke takes a different tack. Luke starts our story with Jesus going up on a mountain, all right, but to pray, which is omitted from our gospel, but alluded to, because the first words we hear are “Jesus came down with the twelve apostles…” Luke has Jesus going to the mountain to pray, to spend time with God, but then he comes down to a plain to present his teachings on the Beatitudes. And his labelling of who is blessed and who is filled with woe can seem like deep water indeed.

And what basically does Jesus say? I hear a message in this gospel and last week’s gospel that speaks eloquently especially for our ears, as we commit ourselves to being witnesses to God right here at St. Martin’s. I also think these two gospel passages speak to us as we begin in earnest with the search for the next bishop of Missouri, whether we do that as the laypeople of this diocese or as the ordained, whether we do it in filling out the surveys and partaking in the Holy Conversations, or whether we do additional work as members of the Standing Committee, or the Transition Committee, or as our consultant, or as the Search Committee who are doing their particular part.

We’re told all the time that Christianity is dead, that the nets are empty. Yet I am convinced that we are being encouraged to have the faith to go out into that deep water and let down the nets in the places that may scare us, in the places that others have abandoned. I think we are being told to remember that those who are hurting and hungry are the exact places where Jesus is.

Jesus once again comes down in the plain—in the midst of the people. Even though he is God’s Son, he gets right there among us, using his power to heal and to teach. And he tells us this, which was also emphasized in our reading from Jeremiah and from Psalm 1: Those who put their trust in God are those who are blessed, or truly happy. Those who put their trust in themselves, and turn away from trusting God by making themselves the center of attention, will come to woe, even though sometimes it doesn’t look like it in our society.

Sometimes being above deep waters can have a clarifying effect on helping us to remember what is important. Blessed are those on the margins, Jesus tells us—and he urges us to make those margins our home as well as the church. Those who are comfortable believe in their own ability to put themselves into a position of comfort. Putting our trust in God and God’s promises is hard—we tend to come up with work-arounds that in the end undermine further undermine our sense of God’s presence with us.

Jesus is God’s son in human flesh, and thus is our way of seeing what God the Creator is like. We just have to watch. And when we do that, we see that Jesus spends a good part of his ministry living with the poor, and feeding those who are hungry, and comforting the weeping, and healing those whose illnesses caused them to be considered throw-away people.

The Beatitudes are another broad brush stroke in Jesus’s revelation to us about the priorities of God. Staring even before Jesus’s birth, in Luke’s gospel we get revelation after revelation about God’s love for those that society might deem “losers:” the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the outcast, the notorious sinner. We started with the Magnificat, with its proclamation that God has filled the hungry with good things, while the rich God has sent away empty, a raised-fist shout of defiance from Mary, Jesus’s mother that is repeated her in our gospel by her son thirty-some years later. We heard it a few weeks ago, when Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Freedom, release, contentment, jubilee. These are the gifts God gives to those who allow themselves to trust in God, rather than trusting in the working of the human will above all else.


In our gospel passage today, it does not escape our notice that Jesus addresses his remarks to his disciples--not necessarily to the crowd around him, but to those who stand for the church. Jesus has just finished calling the last of the twelve apostles, and already he is giving them their marching orders: If we want to live a godly life, we have to put our hearts and souls into the love of God, into reflecting God’s kingdom values. And Jesus, who reminded us a few weeks ago that his ministry inaugurates the in-breaking of God’s kingdom in the world, leads us to understand God’s love of those who are marginalized.

Where Jesus is, there we must be also, if we are to actually be disciples, and not just fans. As we seek to witness to the life and vitality of the gospel in our hearts and here at St. Martin’s we have to cast our nets our wide in sometimes deep water, and do the hardest thing of all for modern people: to reflect God’s priorities in all we do.

As we seek a new leader for this diocese, that’s a vital understanding of our diocesan mission to carry with us, too. To remember to not rest comfortably on our own knowledge and our own resources, but to listen to the Spirit of God in all things. To not be afraid to cast our nets far and wide into the deep waters, and to rejoice at the catch we bring up rather than fear it will swamp the boat. To pray for someone who will lead us out even deeper into the fertile mission field of this anxiety-ridden, grossly unequal society around us, and model a different way. A way itself modeled for us by God Godself in human form. A way our world has lost sight of, and in losing sight of this promise, we have lost the cohesion and connectedness that is at the heart of relationship, and at the heart of the gospel. 

But not here! just by being here, we model part of the truth of God-- and the power of a shared identity despite our differences in a world that too often fragments people and seeks to divide them in order to overpower them. Our willingness to open our hearts to those others despise is one of the strongest strands in the nets we let down into the deep.

That’s where the blessings are—over the deep, out in the margins, where we remember how much we depend upon God, yes. But also, paradoxically, we see that the deep water is also the place of blessing, reminding us that God never fails us, never abandons us, and is alongside us always. That’s the greatest blessing we can proclaim through hopeful hearts. And that’s the blessing we can BE as the people of this parish out in the world.

Amen.

Preached at the 505 on February 16, and at 8:00 and 10:15 am on February 17, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

Readings:
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6:17-26

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Prayer 2209


Almighty God,
Lover of Our Souls,
we lift our hearts to you in trust and faithfulness,
singing out our praise for your tender care of us.

May we extol the power of love
in every action we take,
-- love that gives itself for others,
with no agenda but kindness
and the well-being and flourishing of all living things.

May we walk in love,
unified by your gospel, O Christ,
witnessing to the reconciling power of your wisdom
that binds us in empathy as companions and soul-friends.

Holy Spirit, descend upon us
and lift us higher
that we may dedicate ourselves to God
and be guided by the lamp of mercy and justice.
Press the kiss of your blessing, Beloved Jesus,
upon all whose hope is in you, as we pray.

Amen.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Prayer, day 2206


Most Merciful God,
who sustains us and broods over us,
holding us in a mother's embrace,
we gather before you in love.

Accept our heartfelt repentance
for our manifold weaknesses,
and renew and restore our hearts in your grace,
we humbly pray.

Teach us gentleness, humility, and kindness,
that we may live in unity
and peace with all creation.
Envelop in your care
all those who are in danger, sorrow,
or troubled in any way, Lord Christ.
For you are our refuge. Holy One.
We commend to your abiding love
all who seek You,
and rest your peace upon those we now name.

Amen.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Prayer 2205: the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany



Almighty God,
you call us to trust in your abundant blessing,
to have faith to cast down our nets
wherever we are
and draw in those who seek You.

Beloved Savior,
let our lives preach your gospel
to all who see,
that seeing, they may know you through us.

May we trust in your healing hand, Lord Christ,
to rest upon our cares and concerns,
to heal our heartaches and brokenness,
that we may shine forth in darkness
and praise you forever.

Holy Redeemer,
we place our cares and concerns
into the broad net of your mercy,
and ask that You grant your peace over them,
and over those for whom we pray.

Amen.

(Luke 5:1-11)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Prayer, day 2204


O God,
thank you for bringing us in safety to this day,
whether it holds sunshine or snow,
for both are blessings from You.

Open our lips to proclaim your praise;
our hearts to enshrine your Love;
our minds to receive your Word.

Create in us clean hearts,
and renew our spirits to do your work.
Bless and consecrate us this day
to go forth into the world
bearing your message of justice and peace.

We turn to You in joy and sorrow,
hope and anxiety,
for you sustain us always
with your bountiful Spirit.

Uphold your servants who call upon you
in their cares and concerns,
especially those we now name.

Amen.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Prayer 2203: Praise song for a Bright Winter Day


As morning light gilds the heavens,
drawing an azure veil over the dancing stars,
we praise you, O God.

As noonday sun makes shadows disappear,
we think of your steadfast love beside us,
through whatever may come,
and we praise you, O God.

Though winter chill abides with us still,
we hear the whispered promise of spring
as the dry branches murmur their secret
of abundant green life rising, surging,
deep within their veins,
and we wonder in awe of your mysteries,
O Lord of Creation.

As evening sets the sky alight,
catching fire to the wingtips of darting sparrows
whose trills of joy stir an echo of hope
even within the winter heart,
we remember your tender care, O Holy One,
your watchful eye on the smallest creature,
and we praise your steadfast lovingkindness.

Even as the shoulder of Earth
turns toward night with a sigh,
like a sleeper settling deeper into dreams,
so we too rest secure, Blessed Savior,
within the bounds of your mercy,
and ask for your healing hand
to rest upon the brow of all for whom we pray
by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Prayer, day 2202


O God, You are our Defender and our Strength:
let our prayers ascend to You like incense.

Happy are we
who feel the light of God's countenance upon us!
We will praise You, O Lord Most High,
and enter into your sanctuary with thanksgiving.

Lift up our heads to see your grace
even in anxiety and sadness.
Send the warm wind of your mercy and love at our backs,
and propel us past the shoals of pain and fear.

Grant your peace and healing,
abundant beyond our understanding,
to all those for whom we pray, O Merciful One.

Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Prayer, day 2201


We come before You in humble prayer, O God,
and ask that You rule in our hearts.

Drive far from us all fear and anger:
fill us with your light,
that we may walk your path
of righteousness and love.
May our footing be sure,
and our feet never slip:
may we open our eyes
and be mindful of each step we take in your name.

Strengthen our hearts,
that we may be loving to those who hate us,
and generous to those who are angry.
We thank you for the blessing of community,
and rejoice in the gift of all who love us.

In your compassion,
draw all who mourn within the enclosure of your love.
Heal our infirmities and soothe our spirits, O Loving One,
and keep us in safety today,
as we pray for the needs of our loved ones.

Amen.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Prayer 2200


Blessed are You, O God of Our Strength:
your hand has held us tenderly through the night,
and your Name of Love has been our Shield.

We turn to you in faith, Beloved Savior,
for we know You are our ever-present champion and help.
Guard and protect all those who turn to You,
O Holy One, O Creating Spirit,
and let your mercy and peace rest especially
upon those facing trials:
the defenseless, the ill,
the refugee, the unhoused,
the underemployed, the oppressed.

Make smooth the path of all who travel, O Lord,
and guide us all into paths of integrity and justice.
Kindle the flame of empathy
within the hearths of our hearts,
O Merciful One,
and gather within your embrace those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Prayer 2199


Almighty God,
with each breath we praise your Name
and give thanks for your sustenance and care.

May we know the bowl of your grace overbrims,
and fill our hearts to overflowing.
May I too may be one
who stands in unity with others,
sustaining and protecting the gift of our common life.

Holy One, open our ears and our eyes
to see clearly the face of Christ in all around us,
and fill us with a spirit of compassion.

Bless and keep us in the Way of Love,
and strengthen us in faith, O God.
Grant your blessing upon our labors,
and cast the mantle of your peace over those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Living in Jubilee: sermon for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany C


What a difference a few verses make in our understanding of the gospel story of Luke chapter 4. Last week we heard Jesus demonstrate his knowledge not just of scripture but of prophecy. Contrary to some people’s modern claims, Luke depicts Jesus as not just able to read, but able to preach, teach, and interpret. Last week’s reading ended with everyone smiling on Jesus as they heard his gracious words—local boy made good.

Jesus’ reading of the scroll of the prophet Isaiah (which we heard last week) and his claim to be the fulfillment of prophecy shows, once again, that Luke emphasizes that Jesus is a figure who fulfills Old Testament hopes—that he is a good and righteous son of the Torah— habitually observing the Sabbath, both reading and interpreting the Scriptures, and attending synagogue—as well as being the longed-for Messiah.

Here, at the start of his ministry, Jesus publicly claims his place as the Messiah, and although his friends and neighbors speak well of him, they also seem to take Jesus for granted and have the impulse to define him very narrowly as a simple carpenter’s son. They do not see that Jesus is the Son of God. He then challenges his listeners, and speaks of deeds of healing that he has accomplished elsewhere (in Capernaum, which in this gospel actually get recounted right after this—the chronology is very odd). The point is, it is outsiders who are willing to accept Jesus as Messiah, and they receive the blessing of that faith in receiving healing.

Prophets are an important touchstone in Luke, and Jesus specifically identifies himself with prophets. He points out that prophets are often rejected by those who know them best—familiarity breeds contempt. But in a broader sense, prophets aren’t running popularity contests. They say uncomfortable things, they blame you for your own failures instead of conveniently pointing the finger of blame somewhere else, they sometimes even do weird things like lay for over a year on just one side (Ezekiel) or claim to have (perhaps metaphorically) married prostitutes (Hosea) to demonstrate Israel's infidelity to God. 

Just like people everywhere, even now in our time, Israel has a long history of reacting to prophets with disdain, because it’s easier to view prophets as irritants and foretellers of doom than to accept their correction and see it as God’s correcting love in action. Remember, Martin Luther King was largely reviled during his lifetime, and he paid with his life.


Why does what he says infuriate his neighbors? We have to remember to connect this week’s words with last week’s words:

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. 

But then in this week, we get the rest of the story. As his interpretation sinks in, he continues with predicting that they will not truly accept his message. And man, does that make them angry! Because in each of the instances he cites, outsiders—sinners, enemies—received the blessing from the prophet, while those in Israel were not healed or helped due to their intransigence. Jesus points the finger of blame—like all prophets do—and those getting pointed at, once they get it, don’t like it, not one bit.

Especially in the ancient world, where one’s birth was generally one’s life-long status, people are unsettled by the thought that someone so great could come from such humble origins. Jesus completely pushes them-- and us-- out of the comfort zone with words of challenge rather than words that seek to soothe. Even Elijah did not heal among his own people. Elisha only cleaned an outsider of leprosy.

It’s important that we overcome the challenges of the weather and single services and time and remember the context of this week’s gospel. What we haven’t heard yet in our readings but has already happened in the gospel story is that Jesus has returned triumphant from being tested in the wilderness. He returns to his hometown. He is known in the synagogue there. Maybe too well known. But when he reads from the prophet Isaiah he reads promises of God’s justice. So the ultimate context should be joy—proclaiming the year of Jubilee.


Jesus says that he has been specially set aside (anointed) to do five things, and they are all based upon restoring justice—God’s justice, based on mercy and restoration, which is often at odds with human justice based on punishment. Jesus proclaims that he is the prophet who has been sent to
1 bring good news to the poor,
2 announce freedom to captives,
3 give sight to those who cannot see (literally as well as figuratively),
4 free people from oppression, and
5 proclaim the year of God’s favor (a Jubilee year).



This "Jubilee" was also promised in Isaiah 49 and in Leviticus 25. I don’t know if you remember this concept. After 49 years, there is set aside a Jubilee year- a sacred time of freedom and of celebration when everyone will receive back their original property, and slaves will be freed to return home. It was a time for the restoration of justice and forgiveness of debts, a time of restoration of that which makes you feel secure and therefore a time of rejoicing. In Hebrew, the word for this year was yovel—“a trumpet blast of liberty.” It is a year of favor that is unearned. Another word for this is “grace.” 

Like grace, Jubilee is such a powerful concept. Once in 50 years—after seven cycles of seven years, a Sabbath of all Sabbaths—all things would rest and be at ease. If you had sold away your patrimony, it would have to be returned. If you had sold yourself into slavery over debts, you would be freed. It was revolutionary. No wonder we have no record that the year of jubilee was ever actually enacted. Yet here Jesus aligns the year of Jubilee with God’s kingdom values. No wonder it scares many who hear of it –especially those who are already comfortable or powerful.

Yet it’s also such a powerful concept that even secular songs are written about it. In Mary Chapin Carpenter’s description in her song “Jubilee,” she portrays Jubilee also as a way to free ourselves from the pains, the doubts, and the fears that hold each of us back. She claims Jubilee not for “them,” but for US, for all of us.

Now, no matter if this is a country/folk Americana song, that’s good theology. She sings:

I can tell by the way you're walking
You don't want company
I'll let you alone and I'll let you walk on
And in your own good time you'll be 

Back where the sun can find you
Under the wise wishing tree
And with all of them made, we'll lie under the shade
And call it a Jubilee.

And I can tell by the way you're talking
That the past isn't letting you go
But there's only so long you can take it all on
And then the wrong's gotta be on its own.

And when you're ready to leave it behind you
You'll look back and all that you'll see
Is the wreckage and rust that you left in the dust
On your way to the Jubilee.

And I can tell by the way you're listening
That you're still expecting to hear
Your name being called like a summons to all
Who have failed to account for their doubts and their fears.

They can't add up to much without you
And so if it were up to me,
I'd take hold of your hand, saying, “Come hear the band!
Play your song at the Jubilee!”

I can tell by the way you're searching
For something you can't even name
That you haven't been able to come to the table
We’re simply glad that you came.

When you feel like this try to imagine
That we're all like frail boats on the sea
Just scanning the night for that great guiding light
Announcing the Jubilee. 

And I can tell by the way you're standing
With your eyes filling with tears
That it's habit alone that keeps you turning for home
Even though your home is right here

Where the people who love you are gathered
Under the wise wishing tree
May we all be considered, then straight on delivered
Down to the Jubilee.

Because the people who love you are waiting
And they'll wait just as long as need be-- 
When we look back and say, “Those were halcyon days,”
We're talking about Jubilee!



The Jubilee is love and freedom—true freedom-- in action. The Jubilee is a time of peace for everyone, because in truth, even the powerful often cling to power because they are afraid, because they instinctively are aware that injustice and oppression make them vulnerable even as they profit from those systems. Jubilee encourages us to break that cycle, for everyone’s good, for everyone’s joy, for everyone’s freedom.

And this is where our reading from 1 Corinthians comes in: we can do all kinds of things in the name of God, but if we do not do them out of love, they amount to nothing. And that’s a message for us today, too. Especially today, when some people use the name of Christian to help them maintain their privilege and look down on others for being what they’ve decided are outsiders, or sinners, in their determination. Who hold that the poor and oppressed deserve their status.

When I was a kid growing up, there were lots of those kinds of people hanging around there in the Bible belt. People who were angry, bitter, who referred to this life as a trial only meant to be endured until Jesus’s return or until they got to heaven, people who believed that they followed every minute law in scripture (which is impossible, by the way)—except the biggest one: the law of love. The law of mercy rather than self-righteousness. The one of forgiveness and kindness and shalom.

Jesus speaks words of correction to his listeners—and remember, that’s who we are too. That correction is love—love in action. How do we proclaim good news to the poor, freedom to captives, restoration to those whose physical difficulties isolate them, or freedom to the oppressed, except through love put into action—real, concrete action?

Paul’s meditation on love includes what love looks like not as a feeling but as action. Love never rejoices in the pain or oppression or misfortune of others. Instead listen to the heart of the reading:
Love is patient; love is kind;
love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


These same things align with Jesus’s kingdom values listed in the scroll he reads. Kingdom values we, as Jesus’s followers, are called to enact. Love that leads to the joy of Jubilee- not off in the future but here and now.

May we hear Jesus’s proclamation and let it convict us to do the same: bring good news to the poor, to announce freedom to captives, to provide insight about the Way of Love to those who cannot see it, to free people from oppression, and to proclaim the time of God’s favor --a Jubilee-- by living with joy and abundance in all we do. By putting love in action. For in doing so, we bring freedom and justice and hope to ourselves as well.

That is our sacred calling. To speak and act from love —all as a reflection of our love of God and love of each person created in the image of God. That’s how we claim ultimate joy, ultimate freedom, ultimate witness to the gospel of Jesus--

the gospel of love, mercy, and forgiveness that calls us to Jubilee!

Amen.


Preached at the 505 on February 2, and at 8:00 and 10:15 am on February 3, 2019, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville.

Readings:
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

References:
Mary Chapin Carpenter's song "Jubilee" is the tenth track on her superb Stones in the Road album from 1994. I encourage you to listen to this song and indeed this album, and hope that you will even buy it and her other work if you are so inclined. We must support working musicians and poets, and Mary Chapin Carpenter is a treasure.

Prayer 2198; Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany


Lord of Life,
teach us to live our lives
dedicated to embodying Love in Action. 
Make us patient, kind, and humble,
that we may never sunder the bonds of fellowship
with those who are oppressed or distressed,
but rather make their cause our own
in the name of Jesus.
Re-center our hearts,
O Holy One,
and open them to the abundance of your blessing,
that we give glory and honor to your Name.
Strengthen us against temptation, O Holy Spirit,
we humbly pray,
that we may exemplify the path of Jesus
and witness to God's truth.
Merciful One,
grant your peace and blessing to all who seek you,
and give your comfort to those whom we now name.

Amen.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Prayer 2197: A Prayer of Rededication



God of Grace,
we lay our hearts bare before You,
and ask that you cover them with your wings.
Gather us within
the expansive pastures of your mercy,
O Holy One,
for we are prone to wander all astray.
May we ever seek your voice of love,
confess our failings,
and resolve to be guided by your wisdom,
gathered as one people
in amity, charity, and abundant goodwill.
Precious Savior,
may our hearts resonate
to the melody of your healing and mercy,
and may we resound in harmony with your truth,
proclaiming your gospel with our lives.
O God of Tenderness,
place your healing hand upon us
and upon all for whom we pray.

Amen.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Prayer, day 2196: A Prayer for Remembrance


Holy One, we come to you in silence
seeking rest and comfort:
let us rest here awhile and take strength.
In the midst of mourning,
may we remember laughter.

In the midst of pain,
may we remember beauty.
In all that tries us,
may we remember your sheltering arms
and cool, sweet mercy.

Give respite to the weary, Lord,
and peace to the troubled,
and light to those who search for a path through this day.

Amen. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Prayer 2195


Almighty God,
you pierce the darkness within us
and make us glad:
let us arise to sing a song of praise to You.
Take us by the hand today, O Lord,
and guide us in the ways of peace.
Let no word leave our lips
but that which sings of your mercy and lovingkindness.
Weave your love
into the fabric of our souls,
that we be knit together as a holy people.
Inspire us to place our selves in your service,
that we burn brightly
as a beacon of justice and reconciliation.
Soothe us in body, mind, and spirit,
that we may always remember your great goodness.
Hear our thanksgivings and our petitions
for our brothers and sisters,
and bend near to all who call upon You.

Amen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Prayer, day 2194


Creator God,
we marvel at your wonders all around us.
This day is your gift to us:
guide our path through each hour,
that we may testify to your mercy and lovingkindness
and bear your love into the world.

Come, Precious Lord, Reconciler and Friend,
place your hand of wisdom upon us.
Let the works of our hands
be always works of our hearts,
that we may praise and glorify You with all we are.

Come, Fairest Jesus,
place your hand of compassion among us,
that we may forgive as we have been forgiven,
that we may honor your image in each other
and truly walk in unity, kinship, and love.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and place your hand of healing upon us,
especially all whose cares we place before you.

Amen.
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