Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Prayer, day 2104


Our help is in the Lord God
who is making the heavens and the earth,
and calling us to turn from darkness
with steadfast love and compassion
for our waywardness.

Holy One, the ground shifts beneath our feet,
and we wonder,
will we fall or will we fly?
Yet your love bears us up,
and leads us in hope and light.

Give us the courage, O Savior,
to stand for right,
for the protection of the vulnerable,
and against the tyranny of fear
that is used to justify violence.

Give us the wisdom, O Spirit of Truth,
to hear Jesus's teaching
that fear begets fear
and the enemy of love is selfishness,
but the way of God
is generosity,
compassion,
and integrity.

O Merciful One,
pour the blessing of your peace
upon our turbulent hearts
that we may be reconciled and enlightened
to live as your children in word and deed.

Extend the shelter and balm of your grace, O Lord,
and relieve us in our trials and cares;
plant your peace in our hearts,
and comfort and heal those for whom we pray.

Amen.
1824

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Prayer, day 2103


Most Merciful God,
we thank you for bringing us together this day:
anoint us with the power of your Spirit,
and fill us with your light,
that we may do the work you have given us to do
and walk in wisdom and grace.

Lord, strengthen us to persevere in faith and love,
led by your gospel to be resolute and unyielding
in resisting the forces of evil, terror, and carnage.

Almighty One,
make us bold to reclaim our power
to shape our communities
by the precepts of peace,
justice,
lovingkindness,
and virtue.

Led by your Word, O Creator,
let us work together for the common good,
creating the Beloved Community you have called us to be,
where all enjoy the blessings
of ease, contentment, and security.

Blessed Savior,
draw within your merciful embrace
all who weep and grieve this day,
and grant your healing to those
whose bodies, minds, or spirits have been wounded by violence.

Holy One,
stretch forth your hand that we may take it,
and draw within your protection all those for whom we pray.

Amen.
1873

Monday, October 29, 2018

Prayer, day 2102


God of Mercy,
we bow before You,
grateful for your abundant grace,
laying our cares at your feet in faith.

Holy One,
make us like green olive trees in the house of the Lord,
comforting those in need of shade and embrace,
nourishing those whose hearts hunger for compassion.

God of Justice,
make us steadfast in our willingness
to stand alongside our kindred in solidarity
against hate,
violence,
and prejudice in any form.
May we never be silent, O God,
in the face of injustice or exploitation,
but embody the Way of Love
and shield the vulnerable among us.

Blessed Redeemer,
we rest within your abiding compassion,
and ask your sheltering, healing hand
to be placed over those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Taking Heart: Sermon for Proper 25 B


Every day, for years, he had sat just outside Jericho, on the road that led to Jerusalem. It was a good spot for begging. Especially when pilgrims came by on their way to the Temple to offer a sacrifice. He could hear the coins jingling in their purses—surely they could spare a coin or two for a blind man—especially if their consciences were laying heavy upon them.

Besides, sitting there, he overheard the news in bits and snatches from all over Judea. For a blind man, he stayed pretty well informed. Another rebellion by the zealots had been brutally put down by the Roman legions last month, and even he knew to scurry away when he heard the rhythmic tramping footsteps of a legion passing by—they were more likely to aim a kick at a beggar than offer any alms.


But it had been a long time since he had heard a crowd that big going past, all at once. Their accents were northern—could it be that they knew of that holy man named Jesus he had heard tell of, the one who could even bring the dead back to life? He listened harder. Yes—he heard the name of Jesus several times. Two voices passed by, muttering about trying to get him alone to ask for places of honor again. Another three muttered that they were on their way to a certain death, and the fear and dismay in their voices was like a physical presence.

Bartimaeus heard a child exclaim, “I see him, Mama!” and quickly the beggar grabbed the child’s tunic for just a moment. “Is Jesus with you?” the beggar asked the child. “Yes!” the child exclaimed. “He’s come all the way from Galilee. We have followed him all this month.” The sound of a coin landed in Bartimaeus’s bowl.

“Bless you, child,” Bartimaeus murmured, and then he seized his opportunity. “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!!!!” he wailed.

“Quiet, old man!” hissed several voices around him. “The teacher has no time for you.”

But Bartimaeus would not be deterred. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And soon the sound of movement ceased. There was a whispered consultation off to the blind man’s right, and the sound of some disagreement. Then different voices loomed in the blind man’s ear: “Take heart, get up. He is calling you.”

Before the sentence was even complete, the blind man threw his cloak off his shoulders and hands guided him to where he just knew by some feeling that the teacher stood.

He wanted his sight. But more than that, he wanted to follow Jesus.

Even on his way to Jerusalem, human suffering encounters Jesus, and Jesus shows mercy and more than that, shows that he sees and loves us, as we grasp blindly toward faith.




In a way, we’ve seen much of this scene before. A few weeks ago, Jesus healed another blind man. And in our story today, just as with the little children, the disciples show themselves to still be world class bodyguards and “shushers,” telling Bartimaeus to be quiet. Nothing doing. Bartimaeus doubles down, probably getting louder and making even more of a commotion. And his determination pays off.

Who’s really blind here? And who is a true disciple of Jesus?

Those who have been with Jesus for weeks, months, and even years, STILL keep trying to get him to act in predictable ways, to put him in a neat little box. Yet here is this blind man, Bartimaeus. He confidently calls Jesus the “Son of David,” the longed-for Messiah. He confidently approaches the man he calls “My Teacher.”

What we see presented here is that Bartimeaus sees clearly who Jesus is and what his ministry means, even though he is a stranger, not a disciple, and is physically blind. Meanwhile, the disciples who have been alongside Jesus for these last 10 chapters have repeatedly shown themselves too afraid to see and recognize Jesus for who he is, much less accepting his predictions about his ultimate fate. 


There is also an ironic twist in the middle of the story: “… They called to the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” This is more than just guidance to a blind man. Instead, this is the language of a call narrative, just as God called to Moses out of the burning bush. Just as the boy Samuel heard a call in the night that even Eli, the prophet, could not hear.

Jesus is not just calling the blind man to come to him for a conversation; Jesus is calling to the blind man and to all of us to follow him as disciples who recognize and proclaim the Son of God Incarnate. Three times in that verse the word “call” appears. This is significant. And Bartimaeus responds instantly.

Even though blind, he “springs up,” throwing off his cloak, and moves confidently, answering Jesus’s question with a bold declaration of Jesus as “My teacher….” The casting off of his cloak suggests the throwing off of his old life, the giving up of the possessions urged upon the rich man two weeks ago, and also has a faint echo of Elisha picking up the mantle of Elijah after Elijah is carried off bodily into heaven. A beggar’s cloak was their shelter, their blanket, their raincoat. Often it was all a beggar had. And Bartimaeus casts it aside like so much garbage in his eager faith to seize a new future, one of discipleship and hope.

For the second time in two weeks, we hear Jesus respond, “What do you want me to do for you?” Last week we had James and John asking for preferential treatment and honor; this week we see a humble beggar, who sees with his heart and soul what the disciples cannot see despite long experience, asking for his vision to be healed. THIS is an appropriate request, and it is made in faith, which Jesus acknowledges in his response: “Go; your faith has made you well.”

Yet, Bartimaeus doesn’t “go.” He stays, and follows Jesus rather than returning home. Without a long, drawn-out production, without even touch, Jesus pronounces the blind man healed. Bartimaeus then demonstrates his faith again when, as soon as his sight is restored, he “followed [Jesus] on the way.” The Way of Jesus. The Way of Life. The Way of Love.

Bartimaeus is shown to be the archetype of a disciple, proclaiming Jesus as Savior without fear, boldly, courageously, even in the face of possible rejection; one who hears the call, and asks only for what will make him a better disciple, so that he may follow in the way of Jesus.

The healing of Bartimaeus is the bookend to the previous healing of the unnamed blind man two chapters ago. The differences in the two healings of blind men between chapters 8 and 10 is symbolic, and descriptive of the arc of the story that lies in between. The first blind man’s healing involved two steps, which resulted in partial healing and then full healing. Then for two chapters, Jesus sets out toward Jerusalem, and Mark has repeatedly emphasized the disciples’ spiritual and metaphorical blindness. They recognize Jesus as a teacher, but repeatedly stumble in gaining full understanding, perhaps because he starts telling them things they don’t want to hear about his coming suffering and death, even as he marches resolutely onto Jerusalem.


The difference between the disciples and Bartimaeus is that Bartimaeus knows he needs to be healed of what stands in the way of his discipleship. And isn’t it that way with us, too? Bartimaeus has the faith that he CAN be healed. Bartimaeus has true courage—and remember, the word “courage” comes from the French word for “heart.” Bartimaeus casts off his old life like a cloak, and courageously embraces his agency as a disciple and as a beloved child of God.

Can we take heart, and be courageous like Bartimaeus?

Jesus’s reminder about the power of faith in our own transformation are important. He reminds us that as humans, we have choices whether or not we want to ask for healing. All of us at one time or another feel our faith flicker, because it’s common to believe that we need no one but ourselves, to fall in with society’s dictum that we alone are responsible for our situations, to deny the role of grace in our lives, even when that is also heartbreaking. And then some of us have no awareness that there is anything within us that requires healing, even as we long for it without understanding or words. 

What would it be like if we boldly responded to Jesus’s call to follow him in our own lives?

What if we believed in the power of faith against all cynicism, violence, oppression to heal the broken places within us, and within our world, that it could empower us to work real change?

How would our perception of the world change? How would our world, reeling from the mass murder in the synagogue yesterday, groaning under the cries of families fleeing torture and starvation and war, change?

Dare we go boldly toward a vision of the world in which true mercy and healing await our being brave enough and honest enough to admit that we both need it and want it? If we were willing to truly have faith enough in the healing power of love to help rid us of our fears and hatreds and suspicions, seeing everyone as they truly are—as beloved of God?

What if we ignored the voices that try to tell us we are too broken, the world too filled with jealousies and hatred, and instead embraced love, and the wholeness that faith and hope can bring?

What if we were brave enough to ask God to take away the blindness that preserves our illusions, that insulates and often entombs our hearts, and instead leaned into the faith that love, which is faith in action, really does heal?

May we have the faith to let Jesus in, to proclaim who he is boldly without fear; to open the eyes of our hearts; to have the courage of faith, the courage of love.

Take heart, get up.

He is calling you.



Amen.


Preached at the 505 on October 27, and the 8:00 and 10:15 Eucharists at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville, MO.

Readings:
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Psalm 34:1-8, 19-22
Hebrews 7:23-28
Mark 10:46-52

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Prayer, day 2100: Pray, then act



(based on Luke 11:2-5)
Loving One, thank You for teaching us how to pray,
and for attending our prayers so that we may rest in You.

Let your name be holy
and your glory shine before us.

May your kingdom come to us on earth,
and may we work to build it
and fulfill your loving hope for us.

Give us the sustenance we need this day--
bread for the body
and your Love for the soul.

Grant us your forgiveness for our sins--
to each other and to You
 known and unknown,
done by us
and done for us.

Give us the grace and awareness to let go of resentment 
and forgive others who have hurt us.

Preserve us from temptation,
for we are sheep who often wander too far from your voice,
and then know not how to return.

Hear the prayers and supplications of your people,
especially those whose needs we now name.

Amen.
191

Friday, October 26, 2018

Prayer 2099: Lifted on Angel Wings



Holy, holy, holy, the hand of the Almighty One,
that brushes away the cares of the troubled
and stands guard over those who sleep.
Like a child, O God, I trust in You;
your praise is ever on my lips,
O my Savior and Redeemer,
whose love never fades
but burnishes and blesses
all it touches, all it embraces.
Revive my spirit, Lord Christ,
that I may serve you in all I do--
each breath a prayer of gratitude,
each day a hymn declaring your grace.
On wings of angels, we raise our prayer to You.

Amen.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Prayer, day 2098: the Stars Sing Out God's Praise


I will praise You, O God,
with my first thought
as morning joy bids me to rise.
The stars sing out your praises;
their song resonates
even beyond the blue veil of day.

Your love is the foundation of the earth;
all creation rests within your embrace, O Steadfast One.

Our longing hearts turn to You:
Your Word is a lamp for our feet,
showing us the way home,
the way of peace and justice.

We thirst for your wisdom, O Redeemer:
pour out your Spirit within us,
heal and refresh us by your grace.

Let us answer your harvest call, Lord Christ,
and like workers at the harvest
bear your abundant peace into the hungry world.

May the mantle of your goodness envelop us, O Holy One,
and all those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Prayer 2097


God of the universe
and God of the caterpillar,
God of the cosmos
and God of the sparrow:
your eye is upon us,
guarding us this day,
and we praise you
from our heart and our marrow.

Bright Morning Star,
Prince of Peace,
we are shaped by your gentle hand
like a potter working at the wheel:
make us worthy vessels
to be filled with your wisdom, Lord Christ,
healed and restored
by your grace and everlasting love.

Holy Spirit,
Advocate and Sanctifier,
set our hearts and souls ablaze
in service to the way of love,
walking gently upon the Earth
as companions to each other.
Holy One, you know our cares
before we ask:
grant your peace upon those
for whom we pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Prayer 2096


God of Abundant Grace, your steadfast hand
guides and upholds us, in joy and in struggle.
You, O Most Holy One, are our covert and our shield,
our very present help when we call upon You.

Let us declare your faithfulness with a glad cry,
and sing out our testimony
to the transforming love of our Creator and Redeemer.
Let us seek the good road of wisdom and compassion,
that we may not disgrace your name,
but imitate our Savior in word and deed.

Lord Jesus, place your healing hand upon us:
relieve the suffering
by the tender warmth of your embrace.
May your voice of justice and mercy
resound throughout the earth,
calling the lost and weary to your side,
O Shepherd of Our Souls.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
bless and consecrate us this day,
and pour out your grace and hope
over those we remember before You, O God.

Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Prayer, day 2095

Lord Jesus, we place all of our being--
hearts, hopes and our very breath--
securely within your care,
rejoicing in the dawn.
You have watched us through the velvet darkness:
abide with us as we carry our love for you into the world.

The sparrow sings from the rooftop:
let us sing out our thanks and praise forever,
and witness to your light in our lives.
Lord God, guide us into paths of peace and reconciliation:
gentle our hearts,
and bring us to unity in You.

Holy One, Merciful and Steadfast,
place your healing hands upon our cares and sorrows,
our pains and burdens.
Even in the busyness of our day
let us remember that You tenderly envelop us in love
for the love of the entire world.
Lord, we lay our intercessions before You as a priestly people:
bless and keep us, and those for whom we pray.

Amen.
1330

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Being Servants, Being Church: Sermon for Proper 24 B


Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the apostles. Do they even listen??? As a former teacher, I know this feeling well.

Jesus has literally just gotten finished predicting again what lies in store for the “Son of Man. Here are the two previous verses to this pericope: Jesus said, “‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.’”

The words are literally sting hanging in the air, and James and John apparently have been nodding absently while cooking up a plot to grab the seats of honor “in glory.” Yet for weeks now, we have been hearing Jesus not just predict his passion and death, but also telling his disciples that those who are on the top will be on the bottom, and that those on the bottom will be on the top. One also wonders if they were thinking that the coming of Jesus’s kingdom is going to be as the result of an actual political coup. For the third time, Jesus tells what awaits them in Jerusalem, and for a third time the disciples miss the entire point.

For those of us who know what’s coming, there’s some irony here: we know who is going to end up on Jesus’s right and left at the end of this road: it leads to Calvary, to Golgotha, with thieves and rebels hanging on a cross on Jesus’s right and left. Mark picks up on that irony. Jesus then asks if they really think they can “drink the cup that I drink”—a reference to a cup of suffering that Jeremiah foretold, the cup that Jesus will pray to be taken from him in Mark 14:36 when he is praying on the night before his betrayal. It also recalls for us the cup of sour wine offered to Jesus as he hangs on the cross. The baptism that Jesus will undergo is likewise one of fire and death and betrayal through which he will pass to resurrection. James and John affirm that they can—perhaps a bit too quickly. Again, it seems that they are not really listening, that they do not really understand Jesus.

And then, as soon as the other disciples hear of what James and John are attempting, they get upset—but not because they have gotten Jesus’s message about service, but because probably they too were dreaming of asking for those positions of power and glory.

Now, don’t think I am using the lucky gift of hindsight to make fun of the disciples or mock them. Instead, I think about how lucky we are to see that the disciples were, really JUST LIKE US.

Jesus has laid out for them three times exactly what risks they are taking following him, and exactly what risks he is taking for himself. Someone who goes around criticizing the power structures of the world ends up very often at the very least unpopular and at the very worst dead—because even people who get abused by those same power structures nonetheless often support them, because they can’t imagine there being any other way being any better, or they think, “Well I may be struggling, but this system at least ensures that I’m not on the absolute bottom, because I HATE those people on the bottom”—fill in the blank with any likely group—the poor, the refugee, people from a different country or race, whatever.

Maybe the disciples DO have a sense of impending danger, even while they seem to not fully understand what Jesus is saying. And it’s a common thing that when we feel endangered, we try to take care of ourselves, first. Let’s be honest, don’t we feel grateful when we’re on a plane and the flight attendant tells us that, in case of emergency, we should put our own masks on first? Yay, that’s what we wanted to hear anyway!

Yet that is exactly the opposite of what Jesus has been urging for these many weeks. When we think there’s not enough to go around, our first reaction unfortunately is not to share what we’ve got but to hoard up resources for ourselves—which further multiplies the suffering if there truly is a shortage of resources.



There’s a really interesting cartoon that is getting passed around among some of my friends. It shows a line drawing of a busy city square—people on buses, in cars, in shops, sitting in a park, walking on a sidewalk, washing or repairing a window, working in an office, even looking out from a jail window with bars on it. A variety of buildings surrounds this city square—store fronts and even skyscrapers are in the distance. The top caption for the cartoon asks, “Where is the church?” Look closer, and you see no familiar steeple rising up anywhere, no bell tower looming over the scene. Instead the cartoonist has drawn a bunch of arrows pointing to every single person in the cartoon and written, “here,” “here,” “here,” and “here.” Each person IS the church in the world.

The challenge facing all of us is not in coming to church—I hate to tell you this, but that’s the easy part. We live in a society in which no one is going to murder you in this country for being a member of a church. That’s places like South Sudan and Syria and Egypt and Afghanistan. The challenge facing all of us is in BEING the church out there, where we are exposed and vulnerable not to persecution so much as exposed to ridicule for challenging the powers and values of our world today—if we take Jesus’s gospel seriously.
To serve the world, rather than to seek power for our own ends. To challenge exploitation or neglect of the weak or the sick or the ignorant or the oppressed.
To challenge the idea that a few people are meant to lord it over the vast majority of others.
To refuse to get comfortable with the idea that some people deserve to suffer based on who they are or what they’ve done or where they’ve come from, and get numb to that very real suffering with the idea that we can’t do anything about it rather than admit we “won’t” do anything about it, no matter how small.

Or we may think that if just more people CAME to church, these problems would be solved. But that also is addressed by this cartoon. There are too many other things competing for people’s time and attention today. Many people would be hard pressed to tell you where the nearest church is if they don’t attend one. Churches have become invisible—hiding in plain sight. And in some cases, the face we present to the world as Christians has not helped make the case that Jesus is part of the solution. Instead, too many people see self- professed Christians’ activity in the world, and conclude that Jesus is part of the problem.


We can no longer just expect people to walk in or seek us out. Once again, this is where we have to remember that a parish church is not a building but people. It’s like that game we played with our hands as kids: here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and here are the people.” Do you remember that game? Because here is a key truth about that game—eventually we pull our hands apart, and the people go out into the world. But they’re still the church. In fact, that’s where they are the best church of all—embodying Jesus’s loving, transforming, hopeful message in a world desperate and starving for all those things.

Jesus is trying to explain to us this fact: that as his followers, who share in his baptism and his cup, we both live in the heart of God and in the broken places in the world. We are the church of St. Martin all together here, worshiping and giving thanks, but that we also have to be the church of St. Martin out there, where people need us to show us who God is in the face of poverty, exploitation, fear, and division. We discover who we are called to be in being brave enough to turn the values of the world on its head to reflect the love of God in a world that thirsts for it.

The way of Jesus is the way of service, community, and healing. That’s why we shouldn’t say that we take communion, but that we share communion. Jesus asks us to share in his cup—and by his willingness to lay down his life for us, he has transformed a cup of suffering and death into a cup of blessing and community. Jesus asks us to share in his baptism—and his baptism is the transformation of our lives into lives of purpose. Jesus calls us into community and fellowship with him, so that we may extend that fellowship with the whole world.

As former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says, “If we ask the question, ‘Where might you expect to find the baptized?’ one answer is ‘In the neighborhood of chaos.’ …Christians will be found in the neighborhood of Jesus- but Jesus is found in the neighborhood of human confusion and suffering, defencelessly alongside those in need. If being baptized is being led to where Jesus is, then being baptized is being led toward the chaos and neediness of a humanity that has forgotten its own destiny.”(1) We know this is true, because, let’s face it, isn’t in the chaos and the suffering where we have encountered Jesus ourselves? Either in a feeling of comfort, or in the words or actions of an actual person who WAS Jesus for us in our chaos and suffering?

It sounds daunting. How can we be strong enough to do this? Because of our participation in the life of God. Archbishop Williams continues: “The baptized person is not only in the midst of human suffering and muddle but in the middle of the love and delight of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. That surely is one of the most extraordinary mysteries of being Christian. We are in the middle of two things that seem quite contradictory: in the middle of the heart of God, the ecstatic joy of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and in the middle of a world of threat, suffering, sin, and death.”(2)

Our challenge is to BE the church in the world, each and every one of us as individuals, in what we say and what we do, and how we live, in serving the many people who need help or protection or community, so that we can make the case that the church IS visible and relevant in the issues facing the world today. That our paradoxical values are exactly what is needed in offering hope where there is despair, a willingness to engage in the questions alongside people rather than pretend we have all the answers, in being willing to love those who are ignored or overlooked or isolated, in willing to serve rather than to be served.

Being Christian is not about influence—it’s about living the best life we can live because that in and of itself is a blessing. May we declare ourselves able to share that baptism and that cup.

The world will never be the same.

Preached at the 505 on Saturday, October 20, and at 8:00 and 10:15 am on Sunday, October 21, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville, MO.

Readings:
Job 38:1-7, 34-41
Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37b
Hebrews 5:1-10
Mark 10:35-45

Sources:
1) Rowan Williams, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer, p. 4.
2) Ibid., p. 8.

Prayer 2094: the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost


Blessed One, Holy and Abiding, 
Creator and Redeemer, we worship you:
we gratefully gather before your altar
that we may carry your light into the world.

Merciful Savior,
make us joyful servants of your gospel,
seeking no honor
but the honor of bearing your name
and serving as your healing hands
and compassionate heart in the world.
Grant us the wisdom and will
to imitate you in all we do, Beloved Jesus,
a humble priesthood of faithful witnesses,
working for reconciliation and true peace,
founded on justice, mercy, and hope.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
consecrate us and guide us this day,
and send us into the world
empowered by love that admits no boundaries or limits.
Place your healing hand, O Holy One,
on those whose needs we remember before You,
as we humbly pray.

Amen.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Prayer, day 2093: Trust and Assurance


Lord, we lift up our hearts to You in glory and wonder,
astonished at your imprint in the world around us. 
The love of God is my portion and my cup;
the Almighty is my all in all:
how can I fear any evil?
Today we place our hands in the hand of our Savior;
today we seek the path of peace and mercy. 

Lord Jesus, help us to put aside
our fearful grip on resentment and strife,
on all that blinds us and binds us. 
May our fears fall from us like autumn leaves;
they will dance away from us,
carried by the warm wind of hope.

Let us walk in love and compassion,
seeking reconciliation,
opening our hearts in gentleness.
Merciful One, we know your love never fails:
may the healing wave of love cool our fevered brows.
Send forth your Spirit of Peace, we pray;
shield and comfort all those whom we remember before You.

Amen.
1374

Friday, October 19, 2018

Prayer 2092


Holy One,
we breathe in your peace with our wakening breath;
we praise your name from our inmost being
and give you thanks for your care through the night.

By your wisdom and love, Loving Savior,
turn us away from sin and contempt;
like a potter, reshape the clay of our hearts
that they may be worthy vessels of your grace.
Renew a right spirit of charity and hope within us,
and strengthen our resistance to evil,
our willingness to embody your mercy and justice
as your disciples,
as your children, O God.

Lord God,
Healer and Comforter,
we place our cares and concerns before You;
envelop within your mercy those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Prayer 2091: For times of transition or trial


Most Merciful God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter,
may your name be blessed among all peoples,
and your tenderness be praised from the heavens
unto all the reaches of creation.

God of Compassion,
be with all who watch and wait,
and strengthen those who have a race to run,
that they may press on under the wings of your love.

Gather the suffering under the lea of your mercy, Lord Christ,
and let them turn to You in sureness and trust,
knowing that you are their Companion in all things.

Bend near, O Spirit of Hope,
and let the light of God shine upon us,
and warm our hearts with the promise of your peace,
surpassing any that we can grasp.

Bless the hearts of the sorrowing,
that they may raise up thanks
for the love that surrounds them.

Holy One, anoint us with your lovingkindness
and give us hearts to serve and praise You always.
Lord, press the kiss of your benediction and healing
upon those for whom we pray,
precious in your sight,
as they turn to you in faith and trust.

Amen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Prayer, day 2090: Feeding the 5000


Almighty God,
we thank You for sheltering us through the night,
and watching over us with a love that never fades:
accept our prayers and praises,
and guide us in holiness this day.

Blessed Savior, you fed the multitudes in the wilderness:
likewise, you sustain us and nourish us
with the sweetness of your commandments,
which melt on the tongue like honey,
and revive and restore our souls.
May we follow in your path of compassion and healing today, Lord Christ,
and seek reconciliation and justice,
rooted in your abundant mercy living in our hearts.

We find our center within the shelter of your embrace,
O Blessed Trinity,
O Creating, Redeeming, Life-Giving One.
Consecrate us, O Holy Spirit,
as faithful witnesses to God's abundance
in all our journeys today.
Shine the light of your countenance, O Holy One,
upon all who call upon you in joy or trouble.

Amen.
1872




Image: the Feeding of the 5000 with five loaves and two fish, detail from a mosaic at Sant'Apollonare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Prayer 2089: Resting within the embrace of Christ


God of All Mercy,
we turn to You in adoration and praise:
let us bow the knee of our hearts
as we lay our prayers before You.

Give us courage and initiative
to bear your gospel into the world,
that our lives may be testimony to the world
of the grace, wisdom, and peace of Christ.

Vouchsafe to your keeping, Blessed Jesus,
all who are troubled, endangered,
or adrift in a sea of cares.
May we rest within your strong embrace, O God,
even in the midst of the storm,
for You are our crag and our fortress.

Spirit of the Living God,
reign within our hearts and minds,
and set us free from sin and cynicism today.
Baptized into the hope of your kingdom, Precious Lord,
set the seal of your blessing upon all who rest in You,
as we humbly pray.

Amen.