Monday, December 31, 2018

Prayer, day 2164

Almighty God,
our song is to You
from our rising to our resting:
center us now within your presence,
and guide us in all our steps today.

Tune our hearts to the melody of your truth, O Blessed Jesus,
that we may show forth your mercy
and embody your light and compassion.
Pour out a spirit of reconciliation and concord over us,
that we may bind up the broken-hearted
and turn aside from division and rancor.

Shepherd of Our Souls,
strengthen us in goodness
and lead us into verdant valleys
of peace and contentment,
enlightenment and hope.
Shine the light of your countenance, O God,
over all who make their prayer to you.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Prayer, day 2163- First Sunday after Christmas Day

Eternal God,
You gave us your light to show us the way to You:
may our eyes behold your wonder and love
as we raise our praises and prayers to You.

Give us ears to hear and welcome your Word,
Jesus Christ, your only Son,
and bid him enter into our hearts forever.

Transform our hearts and minds
by your holy wisdom
that there may be justice and peace
throughout all creation, O Holy One.

With newborn faith,
let our joy point to your glory,
that our love will be our testimony to You, Lord Christ.

Spirit of Hope,
bend near to all who call upon You,
and pour out your blessing over all for whom we pray.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Prayer 2162

Let us raise up a shout of joy,
for the salvation of the Lord has arisen over us,
and we have been placed within the stronghold of God.
God's faithfulness is surer
than the foundations of the earth,
and we worship you, Lord Christ,
from our waking to our sleeping.

O Holy One,
you have gathered us into one people
and called us to celebrate our kinship
in loving each other as you love us.
Let us fervently defend each other,
standing alongside any in need
in the name of the Lord of Life
who calls us to courage and righteousness.

Spirit of the Living God,
fill us with faith to live out the gospel
before the eyes of all who see,
that we may testify to the works of God in the world.
Grant your peace to all who seek You, O God,
especially those for whom we pray.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Prayer, day 2161

Spirit of God, come upon us: Let us stand in your sanctuary and praise Your infinite mercy. 

Again and again we have drawn back rather than opening our hearts to our brothers and sisters: forgive us, Lord. 

Again and again we have failed to trust in Your promises: forgive us, Lord. 

May we be continually converted to a new life in Christ, and welcome him into our hearts. May we be generous in love to those we meet, and sow peace and justice with each step. Mindful of our manifold faults, may we forgive those who have injured us either willfully or accidentally. 

We ask that You look with favor upon those who weep or suffer, who mourn or worry, or who seek your guidance.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Prayer 2160

Gather us within your embrace,
O Wisdom from on high,
who is creating the heavens and the earth:
may we hear your call and seek your light.

May we turn away from our foolish ways
and delight in your law of love, O God,
seeking your face in the stranger and the orphan,
the refugee and the destitute,
loving each other as you love us.

Mighty Counselor, Wondrous Savior,
preserve our hearts in faithfulness and charity
that we may go forth into the world rejoicing,
testifying to the beauty of your grace and peace.

Consecrate us for your service, Lord Christ,
and spread the awning of your mercy 
over those for whom we pray.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Prayer 2159

Hear the voice of our hearts, O God,
as we raise our prayers and praises to You.
Set us upon the rock of your gospel,
the promontory of your truth, Lord Jesus,
that we may see anew the glory
of your ongoing creation.
Lead us and guide us, Precious Savior,
that we may testify to your truth in our lives.
Holy One, gather us within your embrace,
and give your angels charge over all in need,
and grant your peace to all who seek your aid.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Prayer 2158: On Christmas Day

Almighty One,
we praise your Holy Name
and lift our hearts and souls to You,
worshipping You in every breath.

May we welcome the Spirit
to overtake us
and set our spirits ablaze with hope,
proclaiming ourselves the joyful servants of God
as we are called to bear God's redeeming love
into the darkest corners of the world.

May we welcome Christ into the cradle of our hearts,
that we may grow in compassion and empathy,
looking with eyes of mercy on the world
as we tenderly tend to its healing,
and ours.

May we hear our newborn Savior's cry
in the suffering of children in detention,
in refugees fleeing violence,
in the hungry and the neglected,
in the abused and the homeless in our midst
and at our gates.

May we sing with joy to the Prince of Peace,
and lift grateful hearts to the Holy One
who is doing great things for us,
that we may overflow with the Light of Christ,
and love one another as he loves us.

Blessed Jesus,
press the kiss of your blessing upon us
as a seal upon our hearts,
and upon those for whom we pray.


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mary the Rebellious One: Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Year C

I have always harbored a favoritism for Luke’s gospel, because it is the most musical of all the gospels. In addition to poetic prophecies and beautiful imagery, there are several songs in the opening chapters. A majority of the words to the Ave Maria, one of my favorite hymns as well as prayers, is found here, and indeed we hear a part of it today.

As we heard previously, the priest Zechariah is released from silence and burst forth in song when his longed-for son John is born, even though he and his wife were supposedly beyond child-bearing age. Angels will burst forth from heaven in song above the heads of shepherds at Jesus’s birth. When the baby Jesus is brought to the Temple, the old man Simeon will sing a song when he is allowed to take the infant into his arms, a song of gratitude for allowing him to live long enough to see such a day. But the greatest song in Luke is the first song: the Song of Mary, what we call the Magnificat.

And these songs are not ordinary songs. They are as much acts of resistance as they are outpourings of joy. They remind us that joy and rebellion can both be testimony of what God is doing in our lives. Resistance and glorious visions of justice for the oppressed ring throughout our gospel today.

First, there is Elizabeth’s resistance. Elizabeth is granted a child of promise, foretold to be a longed-for prophet for the people of Israel, late in her life, and the gospel tells us she not only secludes herself for the pregnancy, but apparently she keeps her condition a secret, perhaps not wanting to be turned into a side-show, perhaps to make sure nothing goes wrong in what is undoubtedly a high-risk pregnancy. Mary thus only finds out about Elizabeth’s pregnancy when the angel Gabriel tells her as part of the news of Mary’s own chosen status to be the mother of the Son of God.

Mary responds to this news by wanting to go and see her kinswoman herself, undoubtedly out of joy for Elizabeth’s coming miracle. Perhaps a small part of her wanted to see if what the angel said was true. Nonetheless, Mary goes to be with someone who will truly understand and support her in the incredible work she has just consented to do. And once she gets there, we get an idea of where Mary gets her bravery, where she gets her boldness, her insight, her resistance against oppression. Elizabeth doesn’t just respond with gladness to see her young kinswoman. She responds with a triumphant song of power. The strength, resilience and rugged faithfulness in these women runs in the family.

Once Mary arrives, it is clear that Elizabeth doesn’t just become the mother of a prophet. She becomes a prophet herself. When Mary crosses her threshold, we are told the unborn John leaps in her womb, and Elizabeth is given the gift of prophecy herself. She immediately identifies Mary as “the mother of her Lord.” She immediately praises Mary for her courageous assent to the invitation of God to be a vital, brave, bold part of the work of God’s redemption in the world.

Elizabeth knows that Mary is not yet married to Joseph, and so might be expected to shun her—yet she welcomes Mary into her home anyway. She resists all social demands that would have otherwise led her to reject her young kinswoman, and instead, reacts with joy and prophetic exclamation. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” she exclaims, completing Gabriel’s greeting of Mary in the previous scene we don’t get to hear today. And Mary responds with her own resistance song.

Thus we are reminded: Singing is not just an act of joy. Singing itself is often an act of resistance. Think of it: in the years before the Civil War, slaves often sang hymns in their worship, one of the few times they were able to gather together away from their toil, songs rooted in justice for the oppressed, for the enslaved—songs of liberation such as “Go Down, Moses,” used by Harriet Tubman as a signal as she was a conductor on the Underground Railroad; “A Balm in Gilead,” often quoted by our own Presiding Bishop Michael Curry; “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot;” or “Steal Away to Jesus," which obviously also could be used to communicate about escape from slavery.

Singing was an act of resistance a hundred years later, when our faithful elders in the Civil Rights Movement sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called Black National Anthem included in our own hymnal, or joined hands together across racial and religious divisions and sang “Etta’s Tune,” or “We Shall Overcome.” These songs were not songs of fear, or of mourning, but songs of something that is far too rare but also necessary in our world today: they were songs of hope. Not some mushy kind of making a wish kind of hope. No, the hope in these songs dares to imagine and voice NOW what has yet to be. They are an affirmation of faith in God’s promises, God’s fidelity, especially to those who are oppressed, who are poor, who seek refuge or asylum, who hunger for bread AND justice in equal measure.

In year C, Advent is filled with people speaking truth to power. Last Sunday, John was a thundering prophetic preacher, fulfilling his own father’s prophecy that he would shine a light into the dark corners of the souls of the people, preparing the way in the wilderness. This Sunday, at long last, Mary gets her say. And she’s fierce.

This is not the meek and mild Mary we often see portrayed, the one who is throbbingly questioned in that pop song played in every mall in the land right now-- you know the one: “Mary, Did You Know?” The song that quaveringly asks if Mary knew that her baby boy was God, the one who would heal the deaf and blind and walk on water. If you listen to the Magnificat, you know this song is utterly unnecessary. Mary knew all these things, and stepped unafraid toward this miracle she was called to embody.

We’ve seen stories throughout scripture of women who have spent their lives longing for a child, whose prayers are answered with a son, taking away their shame in a culture where a woman’s worth was often measured by who her husband was and how many children she could bear for him. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Samson’s unnamed mother, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Their responses varied when given the news that they were going to bear a child that was a particular gift from God:

Sarah laughed.

Hannah sang a song of victory.

Mary, though, hasn’t experienced a long period of childlessness—as a young girl, her entire life lies before her. Yet she is plucked from invisibility, is invited to embrace an unimaginable future, and responds with a battle cry of justice. Here she is, a teenaged mother, a peasant girl in a backwater of the margin of the Roman Empire, and yet she knows who she is, and that she had a choice that was hers alone. Mary responds with trust and power, but never surrender. With a crown of stars swirling around her head, she responds:

Let it be for me as you have said. And let me play my part in turning the world upside down, in resisting the powers of oppression and inhumanity.

Today, Mary goes to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, and the power that passes between these two women and the miracles they bear inside them produces a war-cry from this young girl, the first woman to preach in the Gospel of Luke. What bursts from her but power from the powerless, hope from the whirlwind, empowerment that bursts every boundary? What does she sing out in wonder and exultation, as she places herself in the hands of Holy Spirit?

A vision of a world turned upside down, where the oppressors are thrown down, and the lowly are lifted up and exalted. A world in which the mighty arm of God sweeps away injustice and oppression, where those who serve themselves will be spilled from their empty thrones. A banquet where those who hunger are satisfied, and those who have gorged themselves depart bearing the clinking chains of their insatiable greed. This God remains faithful and merciful to those who call upon the Holy Name, and will reclaim the lost in answer to promises whose memory still burns with power across generations and time, to deliver the oppressed from systems of injustice and the void of abandonment.

Mary the rebel, the righteous warrior with peace as her shield, sings a song of defiance, liberation, and deliverance. She lifts her hands and heart to God, and calls us to join in, too. Free to sing out with her our hopes for a world remade and repaired by justice. Free to offer our emptied spirits like a bowl to be filled with the promise of salvation, to respond in faith and courage with this anthem of expectation:

My soul overflows with the greatness of God,
My spirit sings unending praise to One Who Saves,
the One who lifts up the lowly servant
who dares to be the handmaiden of God Most High.
Surely, from now to time unending
All generations will see that I have been blessed.

We too can share in Mary’s courage and faith. We too can say yes to God, and allow God to work through us to transform us each and every day, and therefore to transform and restore the world. We too can bear Christ into the world.

We can sing out our yes. Mary shows us the way.


Preached at the 505 on December 22, and at 8:00 and 10:15 am on December 23, 2018, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville, MO.

Micah 5:2-5a
Canticle 15
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-55

Prayer, day 2156: The Fourth Sunday of Advent

O God, Our Rock and Our Savior,
You have done great things for us,
and we praise and bless your Holy Name.

Come, Holy Spirit,
and awaken our souls to magnify the Lord;
let us praise our God unceasingly.
Most Merciful One,
let it be for us according to your will:
may the joy of Christ leap within our hearts.
Help us to bear Christ into the world,
and testify to the power of his love in our lives.

Holy One, grant your mercy upon all who seek your help:
satisfy the poor and oppressed with justice.
Look with favor upon us as your servants, O Holy One,
and preserve in hope all those who call upon You.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Prayer, day 2155

O God, make my heart your dwelling-place,
for You are my companion
and my guide along the way.
We rise with your praise upon our lips,
for the Lord has been good to us indeed.

Your Spirit has called to us
in trouble and in plenty;
let us always sing out your untold blessings.
You are our All-in-All,
O Merciful One,
and we give You thanks
for all YOU have given us.
God hovers over us
and covers us with the hand of favor:
all that I am I offer to God.
God's comfort rests like a cooling breeze
upon those who call upon their Redeemer,
and we offer hymns
of praise and thanksgiving.

Watch over those for whom we pray,
Lord Christ,
and grant them rest.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Prayer, day 2154

Come, Light of God,
and let your wisdom pour forth
like a balm over us
as we lift our hearts to You
in praise and gratitude! 
Spring up, O Dayspring of Life,
and fill us with your grace and mercy,
that we may walk in the pathways of peace.
Establish within us a thirst for justice and discipleship,
that we may serve You and each other with joy. 

Blessed Redeemer,
may our prayers rise to you like incense,
as we remember all those in trouble or anxiety. 
Give your holy angels charge over those
who watch, weep, or worry,
and shelter those who are in danger. 

Bring us to a deeper love of You, O God,
and a deeper compassion and care of each other
and your creation. 
Merciful One,
rest your hand upon these beloveds for whom we pray.


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Prayer, day 2153

O Love that Passes All Understanding,
we thank You for this life,
the greatest gift of all.

We glorify You:
if even the stones and trees sing praises,
who are we to keep silent?

We abide in You
as a baby rests in her Mother's embrace.
Let your will be to us
as the wind beneath the wings
of the migrating flocks.

We ask your protection
for those for whom we pray today.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Prayer, day 2152

Glorious is the day that we can rise
and give thanks to the Lord,
who is making heaven and Earth!

Set our steps upon the joyful path
of wisdom and concord, Lord Christ,
and unite us to You in hope.
Send forth your Spirit in power
to bring knowledge of redemption
to those who wander, O God.

Create in us loving, gentle hearts,
and forgive us all our offenses, we pray.
Help us to cast aside
all that separates us from each other,
and help us to forgive all those who have hurt us.

Bring our wandering souls to rest in You, All-Merciful One,
that we may center our lives
upon your Great Commandment.
Resting in your promise of love, O Holy One,
we cast our concerns before the seat of your mercy,
and ask your blessing this day.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Prayer, day 2151

O God, awaken your people
to the hope of our approaching Savior,
and accept their offered praises and petitions.
May justice and peace kiss each other,
and may we embody their wisdom in our hearts.

May we act with mercy and gentleness,
remembering how often You, O Lord,
have reached out to us when we've strayed.

May we dedicate ourselves
to building a table of brotherhood where we find division.
Let us commit ourselves
to acting in love and caritas where we find enmity and bitterness.

O Holy One,
make us worthy servants in your household,
and give us healing hands to do your work.
Bless us and keep us as the apple of your eye,
and send your blessing over those
whose cares we bring before You.


Monday, December 17, 2018

Prayer, day 2150

Glorious is the day that we can rise
and give thanks to the Lord,
who is making heaven and Earth!

Set our steps upon the joyful path
of wisdom and concord, Lord Christ,
and unite us to You in hope.
Send forth your Spirit in power
to bring knowledge of redemption
to those who wander, O God.

Create in us loving, gentle hearts,
and forgive us all our offenses, we pray.
Help us to cast aside
all that separates us from each other,
and help us to forgive all those who have hurt us.

Bring our wandering souls to rest in You,
All-Merciful One,
that we may center our lives
upon your Great Commandment.

Resting in your promise of love, O Holy One,
we cast our concerns before the seat of your mercy,
and ask your blessing this day.


Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Turning- Sermon for Advent 3C

Our gospel reading today starts off, like so much of our lives do these days it seems, with name-calling and threats. You can't even escape it at church this week, friends, and THIS is the Sunday we call "Joy Sunday" during Advent! Of course, our gospel ends with John “proclaiming the good news" to the people. Words matter. We live in a time when name calling and fear-mongering take up all the air in the room. So it may escape our attention how harsh John's opening words are.

They say thay a soft answer turns away wrath. John does not use soft words. He preaches a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins, and he makes it clear to all who approach him that they ARE sinners. In particular, three groups are mentioned specifically: the crowds, tax collectors, and soldiers. Those in the crowd John addresses specifically are those that have the MEANS to do something about the poor, those who have more than what they need for basic security. The tax collectors could be those who collected the Temple tax for the Jewish authorities, or those who collected taxes for Rome. Since John also mentions being “children of Abraham,” it could be either one. Nonetheless, tax collectors were objects of scorn, then and now. Soldiers, likewise, could be Temple soldiers like those who arrested Jesus and then handed him over to Roman soldiers, or they could be Roman soldiers, although that makes the references to Abrahamic descent problematic. The first gentile convert in the book of Acts was the soldier Cornelius, a Roman centurion.

Three times John is asked by specific groups of his listeners: “What should we do?” His answers are actually not that difficult: He tells them to turn. To embrace true repentance. To embrace true community. To change their hearts and minds completely to live abundantly.

To the crowds, he answers, If you have extra, share what you have with those who have none. To the tax collectors as a foreshadowing of the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10, he states, Perform your work ethically and don't take more than is owed. To the soldiers, he urges, treat people with respect (especially if that type of work you do lends itself to suspicion of dishonesty and tyranny). So John’s suggestions are all meant to point out that it is not WHO you are, especially by birth, that matters—being “children of Abraham” means nothing. Instead, he emphasizes again what one DOES matters more. This is not intended, however, to support what our Lutheran friends call “works righteousness.” We ARE saved by grace alone. But that doesn’t mean that once we are saved, that’s the end of our obligation to god or to each other.

The life of discipleship is based on proclaiming our faith, but also in DOING right as part of our testimony to the power of God’s transformative grace in our lives. John’s answers are also, at their base, economic in nature. They are directed specifically at economic injustice and imbalance. And in this time, when a few dozen people possess the majority of the world's wealth, that admonition is needed today more than ever.

At an even deeper level, John's answers are directed at transforming our focus from being upon ourselves to being-for-others. “What are we to do?” is a question that still grips us today. How do we live not just a “successful” life by the standards of the world, but a good life? This is a question that goes deeper than “What must we do to be saved?” which we have heard previously, because THAT question is still centered on the self. In our common Christian context, that question often is more accurately translated as “How can I make sure I go to heaven?” And how many of us have noticed how that concern ends up leading AWAY from living a life shaped by God’s love and grace?

There is so much injustice, inequality and grief in the world. On Friday, I attended a prayer vigil at Christ Church Cathedral for the sixth anniversary of the terrible massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. After the scripture readings and the prayers and litanies, Kathie shared a Facebook post by the father of Ben Wheeler, one of the first-grade children slaughtered in that terrible act of evil, who was one of her parishioners from when she was rector there. It was absolutely heartbreaking to hear this father acknowledge and mourn the realization that, from now on, Ben will have been dead longer than he was alive. The grief that radiated from this father, grief still as fresh and incomprehensible as it was on the day his little boy was confirmed murdered, was as sharp as a sword’s edge.

And it is in the face of that grief that we also can ask, “What should we do?” And we know that the answer lies in acting in concrete ways to try to prevent more griefs from being inflicted upon an aching world filled with losses. In the face of injustice, hunger, homelessness, and violence, it is clear that the path of salvation starts with the acknowledgement that we cannot give in to the enormity of the world’s anger, greed, or grief. Repentance is not just an attitude or decision. Repentance involves ACTION. The fruit of repentance is not assurance of our own personal salvation, but our determination to work for the good of others, to work for the repair of the world from all its human systems that produce inequity, injustice, and oppression. And not tomorrow, either: “even now the ax is lying at the root of the tree.” The time to act is now.

One of my favorite sayings that gets shared on social media is this one that combines a rereading of Micah 6:8, with commentary attributed the Talmud: Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly NOW. Love mercy NOW. Walk humbly NOW. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

We are given life by God to embody God’s love right here, right now. John’s answers to those who come to him for his baptism all make abundantly clear two things: salvation is found now, not after we die. And salvation has more to do with how we treat others than about whether we save our own skins. Eternal life, if it truly is eternal, doesn’t begin after we die. It is truly eternal, just as God’s love and knowledge of each and every one of us exists beyond the limitations time and space, as Psalm 139 reminds us:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord,
you know it completely. 
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it. 

 … For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.

What can we do with the knowledge that we are loved and treasured as much as this? We turn. We repent. We ACT, especially where previously we have not. And in the turning, we turn away from the death-dealing ways of the world, and instead embrace life. Life for ourselves, and life for others as we ourselves long for. Dedicating ourselves to the turning, to the loving, to the embracing of the life that God has dreamed for each of us as God’s beloveds.

The repentance God continually calls us to is embedded in the famous peace prayer attributed to St. Francis:

where there is hatred, let us turn instead to sow love;

where there is injury, let us turn to forgiveness not just for the sake of those who have wronged us, but for the sake of ourselves, that we can lay down the lead weight of anger and resentment;

where there is doubt, let us welcome that doubt to strengthen our faith;

where there is despair, let us turn instead to seek what strengthens our hope;

where there is darkness, let us determine to be light for those around us;

where there is sadness, let us comfort each other, and offer the gentle gift of companionship and understanding until joy can be rediscovered.

What should we do? Surely the answer is to live our lives not for ourselves but for others and for God, as Jesus himself modeled in his time on earth. That’s the life we are called to as disciples. And it requires a turning, a repentance of heart and soul that would be impossible—if it were not for our assurance that God empowers us by that same love.

It is love, Love Incarnate, love come down at Christmas and every day and animates our souls if we let it.
Love that brings us to repentance and to embracing the turning.
Love that brings us to everlasting and immediate life.
Love that strengthens.
Love that heals.


Preached at the 505 on December 15 and at 8:00 am on December 17 at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville, MO. 


Prayer 2149: The Third Sunday in Advent

The heavens cry out,
"Arise, shine, for the light of God aproaches!"
and we bow before our Creator in joy and wonder--
in gratitude for all the Almighty has done for us.

Most Merciful God,
grant us the grace to see your handiwork
in the smallest grain of sand,
in the mighty vista of Yosemite's Cathedral Rocks,
in the stars swirling to a celestial hymn,
in the star-shaped hand of a newborn babe.

Bring us to cast away the works of darkness,
and seek to turn again in search of wisdom and faith,
that we may prepare ourselves
to welcome the Prince of Peace within our hearts.

Grant us true repentance
to care for those around us,
to welcome in fellowship all who approach,
to comfort all who mourn or flee,
and embody your love into the world--
the same love that made us
and holds us tenderly forever.

Come, Lord Jesus,
grant us your benediction and blessing,
and place your healing hand upon those for whom we pray.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prayer 2148: For Trust and Courage

(Inspired by Psalm 30)
In the midst of struggle and heartbreak, O God,
you abide with us,
and set your kiss upon our hearts.

The Holy One lifts us up
and calls us to strength and courage,
for your faithful love is neverending,
O Savior and Redeemer,
who shares our joy as well as our pain.

You, O Merciful, Life-giving One,
are our sanctuary and our home;
make us true disciples,
aflame with your love
and filled with your Holy Spirit.

May we set out from your altars
rededicated to embodying your peace and justice,
and bearing your light to all corners of the world.

Sealed by your promise of mercy, Lord Christ,
we ask your blessing
as we dedicate ourselves to your Way.
Gather within your embrace
all who call out to you,
and grant your peace to those whom we lift before you.