Most Merciful God,
our souls in silence wait,
and we worship and bless You
as our Creator, Shepherd, and Shield.
Whether we feast or fast, Lord,
we know that all things come from You,
Our Source and our Dwelling-place.
Make us holy and upright, O God,
gentle and compassionate,
to love without calculation,
to serve rather than be served.
Renew and purify our hearts, Lord Christ,
so that we may, in humility and devotion,
love each other as You loved us,
and laid down your life for us.
May we use this holy time, O Holy Spirit,
to heal all that divides us,
to renounce exploitation and violence,
the using of others for our own ends.
Holy One, You know our needs before we ask:
gather within your arms all those who seek your face,
and all whose concerns we lay before You.
Image: a collage of depictions of the Rev. Absalom Jones, whose feast day we celebrate today, from the website of the parish he and Richard Allen founded, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. Their excellent website is found here.