Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Prayer, day 2012: Song of Praise


As the night whispers its tale to the dawn,
and the Earth turns and declares the glory of creation,
let us arise with a song of praise!

Holy One, we gather in your Name,
You who hold our souls tenderly in life,
and abide with us forever.

Lead us, O Shepherd,
in paths of peace, contentment, and mercy,
that we may live abundantly, in gratitude.
May we walk in humility with each other
and in reverence for the whole Earth,
extolling the unity and beauty of your creation, O God.
Let us take each other's hands
and lift each other up,
united, reconciled, and renewed for this day's journey.
At night, when your celestial wonders dazzle our eyes,
O Creator,
may we lie down in peace,
having used this day to embody your love,
forgiving, reconciling, and healing where we can.

Resting in your sure embrace, Blessed Jesus,
grant your peace and blessing to us,
and to all for whom we pray.

Amen.
1770

Monday, July 30, 2018

Prayer 2011: In honor of the Philadelphia Eleven


Merciful God,
whose Spirit yet moves over the waters of creation
and over the waters of our hearts,
we draw near to you and worship you with joy.

Blessed Jesus, thank you for raising up among us
strong women who remain faithful to your call
and who persevere even today in serving you
with abounding love, bravery, and faith.
Help us always to listen for your voice, O God,
to find you not just in pages and verses
but in the face of every stranger
and in the cry of every seeker.
Guide us to witness to your beauty and wisdom,
surpassing all our meager understanding,
O Creator, Sanctifier, and Life-giver.

Bless us as we seek to serve You and each other today, O Holy One,
God of All Compassion,
and grant your blessing over these beloveds.

Amen.

Image: The ordination of the Philadelphia Eleven:
Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth, Allison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield, Jeannette Picard, Betty Bone Schiess, Katrina Swanson, and Nancy Wittig,
on July 29, 1974.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Prayer 2010: Tenth Sunday After Pentecost


(John 6:1-21)
Blessed Savior,
you gather us to yourself like a mother hen with her chicks,
your nourish us with the bread of generosity and kindness,
and bind up all our wounds with your healing touch.
You bid us to sit down when we are hungry, O Holy One,
and feed us abundantly from our humble offerings:
our cups overflow by your love and your blessing--
there is plenty for all, and more besides.
May we trust in your abundant grace,
abundant love,
abundant mercy,
to give our all without fear, but with joy, O God,
and embody your lavish love and compassionate action,
healing, feeding, and teaching in your name.
Spirit of the Living God, rest upon us
and set our hearts on fire with your truth,
and grant your blessing upon those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Prayer 2009


Abundant God, our Creator and our Hope,
our Good Above All Other:
your mercy and grace canopies over us
as broad as the heavens,
as deep as the sea.
Purge our hearts of all darkness and faithlessness,
that we may be always generous, compassionate, and holy,
led by the example of our Savior Jesus Christ
to follow his Way of Humanity and Peace.
Your steadfast promises of love and faithfulness
are our bedrock and our sure foundation, O Holy One:
let us build a community of welcome and fellowship
with all the living Earth.
Gather within your saving hand
all who turn to you for succor and respite, O God,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit
grant your peace to all who seek your face,
especially those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Prayer, day 2008


Eternal God, we open the doors of our hearts:
enter into our lives this day, and make us whole.
Reconcile us to You, and one another
 that we amend our lives
and repair our relationships.

Let the radiance of God's glory
shine forth from our countenance
and testify to God's unending mercy.
May we embody
the compassionate, healing love of Christ,
living as true disciples and companions in the Way.
Teach us to cast wide our nets,
drawing all to you in freedom, justice, and peace.

Draw near, O God, to the broken-hearted:
give your angels charge over those wait upon You.


Amen
1642

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Prayer, day 2007


Almighty, Merciful, Beneficent One:
we bow before You in prayer.
We thank You and bless your holy Name,
which hearts sing out when tongues cannot.
You are our God:
bless us and mold us, and hear our prayers. 

Loving One,
help us to never be a stumbling block for our neighbors,
but give us generous, loving hearts for all.
Make us gentle, grateful stewards of your creation,
that we may love it and care for it
as we do our own body.
Purify our hearts and minds,
that we may serve You night and day
with alleluias on our hearts and minds. 

Remembering our faults,
may we be filled with mercy and compassion for all we meet,
who are made in your image.
Now, in your goodness and grace,
send your healing, comforting Spirit, we pray,
upon these who call upon You.

Amen.
548

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Praise to the Creating God: Speaking to the Soul, July 25, 2018


Yesterday morning, I rose early, and took my prayer book and Bible out into the fields, meadows, and woods that surround the cabin where I am staying for a mini-retreat, as a busy month draws to a close. This summer has brought even more changes and challenges than usual: one beloved dog suddenly died, another has been found to have lymphoma. Our youngest child is getting ready to head off to college, and his embrace of this new phase of life is both sweet and bitter, and I have been called to my first parish after spending the summer serving as a supply priest all over the central part of the diocese. So this respite was most welcome, indeed. 

 
Windridge Solitude cabin.
The gentle ridges and slopes that are home to the retreat center were farmland just a few years ago, but there are stands of trees and swaths of wildflowers and grasses ribboning through the property calling for exploration, and benches conveniently situated for meditation and observation. It’s been dry here in mid-Missouri, and the grass crunched underfoot, startling grasshoppers to explode from the path just ahead of my boot, their wings brilliant yellow bowties until they caromed into a new patch of thatch, no doubt glaring balefully at me.


Every few steps, I would pause. Sight, sound, touch and smell were all enticed as I walked. Cascading showers of golden birch leaves, prematurely aged by the drought, arrowed down from above and stippled the path like raindrops and landed on my shoulders. The sweet smell of the pastureland across the fence, recently hayed, reminded me of the blessing of each breath. The nodding grasses, hip-high, parted by the breeze to reveal, mixed among the tickseed and spent, desiccated coneflowers, the hilariously named “bastard toadflax” plants that interrupted here and there with their green foliage and wee white flowers. Droning flies and rasping beetles and buzzing bees and dozens of kinds of birdsong were carried on the welcome breeze. In the woods, the trees held the shade with a mother’s care and murmured and rubbed together companionably in the wind. 

As I rounded a bend in the path, a meadow opened before me, and three deer exploded from the verge of Indian grass and sedge that fringed the field mere feet away from me. Deciding it was a sign as good as any to pause, I sank down onto a bench and began morning prayer. Afterward, I let my Bible fall open, and this is what my eye fell upon, from Job 12:7-10:

“…ask the animals, and they will teach you;
   the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
   and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
   that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
   and the breath of every human being.”

Even in this former farm, the variety of native species have resurged in this little corner of Earth, helped by the Sisters who care for this place with a mixture of tenderness and practicality. All the living things here proclaim the wonders of God’s continuing, present-tense handiwork, the ongoing creation that reminds me that the very ground so easy to take for granted beneath our feet is a living thing beloved of God, sustaining us all, and drawing this prayer of praise to the Creating God:

Most Merciful God,
who is creating the heavens and earth,
I sing a song of praise and gratitude
for all the wonders of your hand.

For the electric flash of a bluebird
racing from redbud to hackberry,
the swoop of the martin over a pond at dusk,
and the mockingbird standing sentinel on the rooftop,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the rasp of cicada,
the swooping trill of the wood thrush,
and the hammering percussion of the woodpecker,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the tumble of black swallowtails on summer phlox,
the sparkle of dragonfly wings,
and the industry of the bee on Queen Anne's lace,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the spiced scent of fallen leaves
subsiding into earth,
and the greening tang of hedge-apple,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the sinuous branches of this bur oak,
and the curling bark of the river birch,
Creating God, I give You praise.

Holy One, Ground and Source of All Being,
You adorn the Earth with beauty
and sustain us by your abundant grace and tender love.
Bear us within your embrace this day,
that we remember our kinship within creation,
and dependence upon this good Earth,
that even now is bearing us through space.

Plant your peace and compassion within our hearts,
O Lord of Life,
and make your face to shine upon all for whom we pray.

Amen.

This was first published on the Episcopal Cafe's Speaking to the Soul on July 25, 2018.

Prayer 2006: On the Feast of St. James the Apostle


Most Merciful God,
place your hand upon us
and guide us in paths of compassion and faithfulness,
that we may follow you always at your call.
Help us put down our nets and all that ensnare us
and draw us from you, Lord Christ,
that we may witness to your love and healing.
Gentle us, Beloved Savior,
and help us temper our zeal
with lovingkiness and humility
that we may walk beside you always.
Sustain and bless us by the power of the Holy Spirit, O God,
and place your hand of blessing
upon these beloveds for whom we pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Prayer 2005: Thanksgiving from a morning hike


Most Merciful God,
who is creating the heavens and earth,
I sing a song of praise and gratitude
for all the wonders of your hand.

For the electric flash of a bluebird
racing from redbud to hackberry,
the swoop of the martin over a pond at dusk,
and the mockingbird standing sentinel on the rooftop,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the rasp of cicada,
the swooping trill of the wood thrush,
and the hammering percussion of the woodpecker,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the tumble of black swallowtails on summer phlox,
the sparkle of dragonfly wings,
and the industry of the bee on Queen Anne's lace,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the spiced scent of fallen leaves
subsiding into earth,
and the greening tang of hedge-apple,
Creating God, I give You praise.

For the sinuous branches of this bur oak,
and the curling bark of the river birch,
Creating God, I give You praise.

Holy One, Ground and Source of All Being,
You adorn the Earth with beauty
and sustain us by your abundant grace and tender love.
Bear us within your embrace this day,
that we remember our kinship within creation,
and dependence upon this good Earth,
that even now is bearing us through space.

Plant your peace and compassion within our hearts,
O Lord of Life,
and make your face to shine upon all for whom we pray.

Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Prayer 2004: On Mary Magdalene, First Apostle of the Resurrection


Almighty One,
we center our hearts in prayer
and listen for your guidance as we seek you:
grant us your counsel
and strengthen us in purity and hope.

Roll back the stone of our hearts,
O Resurrected and Living Savior,
and help us to recognize you
in the creating power of the Holy Spirit
moving through our lives,
and in the faces of those we meet,
especially those in need or trouble.

Make us steadfast, brave, and loyal disciples,
and grant us discerning spirits and steadfast devotion
like Mary the Magdalene, Beloved Jesus,
in our faithful witnessing to your spirit and love,
in never abandoning you,
even in times of persecution, mockery, or fear.

Lord Christ, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us--
you know our pains, our sorrows,
our bereavements and our trials:
scatter the seeds of your peace within our hearts,
and spread the awning of your mercy
over those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Rest of the Story-- Sermon for Proper 11B


When I was a kid, my siblings and I would often be cooped up for hours on long car rides across the Oklahoma prairie to go visit one of my grandmothers. No matter which grandma we were going to go see, even with my father’s lead foot, which was known to Oklahoma state troopers far and wide, we would be trapped for at least 3 hours in the back of one of the used Lincoln Continentals that my dad loved to buy.


These were the days when children were seen and not heard, and above all, when children better not force Dad to pull over—ever. So there we were, zooming past wheat fields trying not to get carsick as Dad alternated among smoking, drinking Folger’s coffee with the pungency of turpentine, and chewing tobacco. If Mom opened up the Vienna sausages or the Underwood Devilled ham, all was lost, but most of the time we knew that if we refused to admit we were hungry, we might be spared that layer of odor that would push at least one of us into turning green. Good times.

Dad controlled the musical selections, as well, and so when he got tired of his collection of 8-track tapes by Marty Robbins, Connie Francis, or Lord help me, Conway Twitty, he would spin the radio around the dial until he found something he liked. If it was noon on Friday, chances were it would be Paul Harvey’s voice that would jolt us out of our stupor in the backseat. “Hello, Americans! This is Paul Harvey. Stand-by for the neeeews!” he would intone. 

After twenty minutes of reporting on whatever had caught his eye that day, Paul Harvey would often do his famous segments called “The Rest of the Story,” where he would provide little known facts or stories supposedly from history, always with a twist at the end. He would always end with, “And now you know… the REST of the story.”

When reading three of our readings today, one of the things that struck me is what was LEFT OUT of the story, and it made me think of Paul Harvey. We need to know the rest of the story, if we are to make heads or tails of these readings, and learn from them.

Our reading from 2 Samuel ends abruptly in the middle of verse 14, with God promising to be a father to David’s future offspring, whom we know with hindsight to be Solomon. All sorts of things are promised to Solomon. What gets omitted, however, is the second half of verse 14: “When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings.” Wow. That’s decidedly different in tone from the previous promises made to David about him and his dynasty.

David himself sometimes did terrible things, especially when he thought he could do what HE thought best rather than what God thought best, and he himself believed that he was punished by God for them. And if you know anything about his son King Solomon, he may have been rich and wise and dripping in hundreds of wives, but he was also the last king of a united Israel, and was supposedly punished by God for allowing his wives to worship their own gods, among other things. So that’s part of the rest of the story.


Likewise, in our psalm for today, the verses that are presented only detail the covenant made between God and David and his descendants. It abruptly stops right at the same point our reading from 2nd Samuel stops—where we learn that David has been punished by God for disobedience, for breaking the covenant God had made with him. More of the rest of the story. And in these two cases, we get warnings about leaders who become so arrogant they forget the good of the people. They fail to be good shepherds for their flock, and they do things like take other men’s wives, or worship power instead of God. That’s the rest of the story.

Then we get to our gospel. There are some interesting choices going on here in this editors of the lectionary in putting the verses in our gospel together. Omitted in the middle are the stories of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, as well as Jesus Walking on Water. Instead of working sequentially, we get the verses before these two amazing miracle stories, and then the verses after those two amazing miracle stories.

So, just like with our psalm and with our reading from 2 Samuel, we have to do some digging to find out “the rest of the story.” If you recall, a couple of weeks ago Jesus had sent the apostles out to evangelize. It is evident that they have returned. And it sounds like they are exhausted—exhilarated, but exhausted. That’s why Jesus has compassion on the apostles, sees what they need, and prescribes a little quiet time with God as just the thing to recharge their batteries. And so he sends them off. Then they feed the 5000, and Jesus walks on water, which we don't hear today.

Our story then takes up again with them having crossed back to Gennesaret. Yet Jesus’s reputation as a holy man and a healer precedes him even in the countryside. Word has gotten out that Jesus and his disciples are in the neighborhood, and a crowd gathers, trying desperately to find them. Jesus sees the crowd, but rather than being annoyed or feeling overwhelmed by their constant demands, Jesus has compassion upon them, because he sees how desperate they are. It is highly probable they were drawn there by Jesus’s miracles—probably the very miracles our lectionary omits.

But I think there is some wisdom in not hearing those stories for us today. It helps us hear details we normally wouldn’t, distracted as we would be by those shiny miracles.

Jesus’s ministry is not just about miracles. It’s about teaching and healing, but in Mark, especially the healing—which often involves reconciliation, restoration of relationships, and providing peace of mind. The crowds of people mentioned in this gospel we hear today do not have peace of mind. They are desperate. That’s why they are rushing around all over the countryside, so desperate to even touch a thread of one of Jesus’s garments that they are trying to anticipate where Jesus and his disciples might go next and get there first.



If you notice in what we read today, first Jesus teaches them. Then Jesus heals them. Understanding Jesus’s teaching takes effort, and requires give and take between the teacher and the student. Healing is passive on the part of the sufferer, besides requiring faith. All they have to do is receive the healing. In both the teaching and the healing, Jesus demonstrates his compassion, and tries to lead us into compassion as well.

And it’s even harder for us. Especially now, when compassion is not seen as a virtue by the warped values of the world, but often as a weakness. It’s easy to chase after Jesus when you’re looking for a miracle. It’s harder to allow ourselves to be transformed and changed by Jesus’s teaching. That requires real effort and will on our part. Yet it’s the transformative nature of Jesus’s gospel that truly saves us.

Jesus as the Incarnation reveals to us who God is, as well as whom we are called to be as fully enlightened beings created in the image of God. This characteristic of compassion is pivotal both in terms of our understanding of God and our understanding of ourselves. Jesus calls us to ourselves embody the same kind of compassion he had—one that is not condescending, looking down on those seeking healing, but one that places us right alongside our brothers and sisters—shoulder to shoulder as equals, regardless of our differences.

Rather, Jesus teaches us that true compassion can be an act of resistance and even disruption to the status quo. Jesus teaches us that true compassion is standing with those in need of relief, standing with those in need of justice, standing with those whose human dignity is being denied, and sharing in their struggles as an act of justice.

Jesus teaches us that true compassion takes seriously the very real possibility that other people suffer indignities, inequalities, and outrages that we ourselves may be blessed to be in a position to avoid—and choosing to use our power to imagine ourselves in their shoes, and act as their true brothers and sisters.


True compassion is also embodied in the image of shepherds—who were often female, then and now, by the way-- carrying their lambs on their shoulders when the lambs need help, using their strength for others.

With God, and with Jesus as the Son of God, compassion is foundational to God’s very being. With the rest of us humans, however, it is not quite so easy. Too often we equate compassion with pity, or with weakness, with the lack of a killer instinct in this dog-eat-dog world. This is part of the ongoing transformation that we are required to do within ourselves and in our relationships as disciples of Jesus, and it’s hard—because everything we are taught about competition causes us to see exploitation of others’ weaknesses to be the most successful attitude to take, rather than the working together for the common good.

The story of Christ’s saving work in the world is not over—it continues, and we have been entrusted to help tell the rest of Jesus’s story in our words and actions so that others may know him too.

As children of God, and as disciples of Jesus, we are called to ourselves embody that Christ-like compassion and mercy in the world -- to those who are clinging to the margins of our society, and to the margins of our experience. Sometimes even to the shepherds and apostles among us, as they themselves try to do the best they can under burdens they often feel they have no one to share them with.

We worship a risen, living Savior—one who has entrusted us to carry on his work in the world, and who equips us for this holy work gathered around this altar every week, joined together by his compassionate love as his body in the world. 

WE are the rest of the story. We are the hands and heart of Christ in the world today.

May we be the compassionate ones to those we encounter, not stopping to wonder whether they deserve compassion or not. Christ doesn’t end the story there—and neither should we. Christ's gospel of love and healing continues as a living force for change and redemption through us.

And THAT'S the rest of the story.

Amen.


Preached at Christ Episcopal Church, Rolla, MO, at 8:00 and 10:00 am on July 22, 2018.


Readings:
2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Psalm 89:20-37
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56


Prayer 2003: Ninth Sunday After Pentecost B


We rise in the glory of morning
to make our way before your altars, O God,
giving thanks and praise before You.

Beloved Savior, you call us to walk in the way of God,
and the way of God is founded on compassion and healing,
in taking on each other's burdens
and carrying each other in times of trial.
Help us to embody your loving presence
and healing touch
as your body in the world, Lord Christ.
As you nourish us,
heal us,
and make our suffering your own,
so let us do likewise for each other
as a sign of our love and faithfulness.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
gentle us and bless us, O Holy One,
and grant your healing and your peace
to those whose needs we raise before you.

Amen.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Prayer 2002: Inspired by Matthew 26:26-35


(Matthew 26:24-35)
Holy One, Creator and Sovereign,
we breathe in your love
and seek your face always,
rejoicing in the power of creation and renewal
You are constantly stirring up within us.

May we be steadfast in loving you and each other, Holy Savior,
in living according to your precepts,
in giving abundantly according to your example.
May we be fed and nurtured
by your wisdom and compassion,
remembering that the table is wide,
and that You, Blessed Jesus,
call all to be invited to the feast,
joined as one people, one body, one family.
May our cup overflow
with profligate grace and mercy,
that we may be your hands and heart in the world,
healing and reconciling in the Name of Love.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
consecrate us to your service today,
and pour out your blessing
upon those whose needs we raise before You.

Amen.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Prayer, day 2001: Inspired by Psalm 31


(inspired by Psalm 31)
In You, O God, do we take refuge:
our trust is in You as we cry out in distress.
Even when the darkness surrounds us,
when walls close in upon us,
You are our mighty fortress.
Preserve us within the storms of life,
for though the tempest rages about us,
You are our God.
Mighty winds may blow and howl,
but You,
O God,
are our rock of refuge
and stronghold to keep us safe.
For You take heed of our souls' distress
and will never give us up
to the power of darkness and despair.
We rest in the hands of the Almighty:
we rejoice in your mercy and lovingkindness.
Watch over your children, we pray,
and embrace those who rest within You.

Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Prayer 2000: Inspired by Psalm 37


Holy and Merciful God,
You are our light and our help:
we turn to You in trust and hope.

Blessed Jesus, you showed us the path of true humanity:
help us to be generous and loving in our actions,
seeking ever to stand with the vulnerable,
to bring healing to the sick and suffering,
and to conduct ourselves with charity and kindness.

Strengthen us, Lord Christ,
to work for the repair of the world we have made,
where we have fallen away from your truth
and doubted your abundant providence.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
forgive us,
and help our unbelief, O Lord:
make us brave and resolute
in resisting evil, exploitation, and hatred,
confident in the victory of love over fear.

Prosper the works of the humble and pure in heart,
O God of Grace,
grant your favor to the wise and compassionate, we pray.
Open our eyes to see your goodness all around us,
and help us to persevere in doing your will,
in seeking your face continually,
in living with integrity and faithfulness.

Merciful One, we ask You to guide our steps today,
and grant your peace and blessing
upon the concerns we lift before You.

Amen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Prayer 1999: Inspired by Matthew 25:31-46


O Great Shepherd, Lord God,
tenderly you draw us into your fold,
and with lovingkindness you care for us
with a love excelling all loves.

Holy One, may we live our lives
as proclamations of your grace, salvation, and mercy,
testifying to the glory of your name
and for the love of the world you have created
and upon which we all depend.
May we care for you, Lord Jesus, without fail
in feeding the hungry,
giving water for the thirsty,
in welcoming the stranger,
in clothing the destitute,
in caring for the sick,
in visiting the prisoner.
In all we do,
may we open our hearts to your commandment
to love and do good in your name, Beloved Savior,
embodying within ourselves
the abundance of your mercy and compassion.

Holy and Undivided Trinity, One God,
purify our hearts and minds to serve You with joy,
and pour out your blessing upon those we now name.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Prayer, day 1998: Inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


(Inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
O Lord, You remind us that there is a time for everything:

let today be a time to love
and a time for peace. 
Let today be a time to heal hurts of the body
and hurts of the heart,
to mend what has been broken. 
Let today be a time to embrace our fellowship with You
and with each other,
to build up Your Beloved Community. 
Let today be a time to speak out for justice,
to scatter the stones of ill-will
and plant compassion in their place. 
Let today be a time to keep watch
with those who work or wait or mourn,
with those whose times are in Your hand.

Amen.
578

Monday, July 16, 2018

Prayer 1997: On Stewardship (Matthew 15: 1-13)


Holy One,
we rise to center our hearts in you,
offering you thanks and praise for your protection and love;
for you are Creator of All,
and Creator of this little bird
and Creator of the seed she is eating.
You gather all things to yourself, O Merciful One,
and we rejoice at your lovingkindness,
O Holy and Undivided Trinity:
Source of All Being, Incarnate Word, and Holy Spirit.

Help us be alert for opportunities
to do justice,
to love mercy,
and walk humbly beside You, O God,
that our testimony to your beauty may be a light to all who see.
By the power of the Holy Spirit,
make us wise and resourceful in fulfilling our call,
offering to You, O God,
from the blessings you have given us,
that we as your disciples may do your work in the world around us.

Beloved Savior, press the kiss of your healing love
on all who turn to you for comfort, for relief, for peace,
especially those for whom we now pray.

Amen.

Photo: the open doors of Calvary Episcopal Church in Louisiana, MO, July 15, 2018.