Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Prayer, day 2374


Lord Jesus Christ, we kneel before You in thanks for this day.
Forgive us our sins, O God, we humbly pray,
and guide us into new pathways of peace and mercy
for your love's sake.
Bring us into a new fellowship of faith and hope,
and drive far from us all division and fear.
You, Lord, bid us sit down and eat:
open our eyes to see your abundant blessings all around us.
As you multiplied the loaves and fishes
to feed the multitudes,
feed us with your grace and peace,
satisfying our souls.
Pour out your Spirit upon us, O God,
that we may reflect the light of love and healing
into the darkest corners of the world.
We turn to You, O Holy One,
for your healing touch:
place the balm of your blessing upon all who call upon You.

Amen.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Prayer 2373


Wondrous Creator,
all that is has been hallowed
and shaped by your loving hand:
help us to see the wisdom and beauty
You have woven into the fabric of creation,
and knit into the bones of all living beings,
from rock and tree to stranger and friend.
We are tiny seedlings seeking your light,
O Holy and Blessed Maker:
make us mighty redwoods in the grove off your kingdom,
interconnected at our roots by love and faithfulness.
Help us to grow upright with integrity, Blessed Savior,
generously giving comfort to others
like the cool shade of a glade at noonday.
Lead us, O Spirit of God,
to stretch our arms ever toward each other,
and to be a blessing for the world.
Grant your mercy, O God,
on all the concerns we bear in our hearts,
and grant your peace to those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

A Living Prayer: Sermon for Proper 12C, the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost


It was 1919. A terrible war had, for the ninth time in three centuries, plunged the world into fire and flame—but this time, the war had included machine guns and flame throwers and poison gas and aerial bombardment. Some villages in Europe had lost every single young man between the ages of 18 and 30.

And then, just as the war was over, a terrible flu pandemic had struck, spread by those same troop movements all over the world. One in three people on the entire planet were infected, and it is estimated that as many as 40 million people died worldwide, including my own great-grandparent. Race riots broke out all across northern cities as African Americans moved north for work during wartime, and came home from fighting overseas daring to believe that they should be granted the same rights as everyone else.

Meanwhile, all across America, Native Americans lived in squalor and extreme poverty for the most part. On the Osage Reservation, oil was soon to be discovered, which would result in dozens of murders as whites tried to get their hands on the Osage’s newfound wealth. One hundred years ago, exactly.

This is the context of the painting on the cover of your bulletin. It’s entitled Hunger and it’s by an artist living in New Mexico named Walter Ufer. Ufer’s painting is a commentary on hunger—physical and spiritual—in the face of so much loss and deprivation. And in the face of spiritual hunger, Ufer acknowledges the importance of prayer.


Seen along old Route 66 in Oklahoma

Prayer is a natural thing—it’s so natural that even people who claim no relationship with religion can often find themselves engaging in prayer at some point in their lives. Ultimately prayer reveals two things: what we think about God, and what we think about ourselves.

So what does Jesus’s prayer in our gospel today teach us about God? 

Father
First, Jesus calls God by an innocent childhood name for parent, the equivalent of "Daddy," although our translation does not reflect this. This reveals to us that God loves us intimately and personally. For those of us who had loving, beautiful relationships with our parents, this language is especially comforting. For those of us whose relationship with our parents may have been difficult or even hurtful, this gives us a chance to try to rehabilitate those words in our hearts, to remember when we have received that tender love and care from others, or at the very least, when we have embodied that same love and care in the world for others as mentors, teachers, listeners, or advisers.

Hallowed be your name
Second, that God’s name is holy and should be revered and treasured. In these first two instructions Jesus gives us in the very first sentence, therefore, we learn that God is as close to us as a loving parent, and yet also worthy of awe and wonder and reverence throughout the universe. The old-fashioned phrase for this reverence for God in scripture is “the fear of the Lord.” Yet too many people have taken that phrase and supposed that God is a wrathful, vengeful God.

Our reading from Hosea this morning doesn’t help matters in this department, either. Yet what gets omitted in stories like the one from Hosea as we attempt to understand them is that the prophet’s lives were often used as pieces of performance art to try to bring the people back to their senses when they had abandoned their loyalty and worship of God. Hosea’s children’s names are meant to remind the people of Israel that they have turned their backs on God’s mercy and themselves have acted as if they were not God’s people by worshipping other gods. God hasn’t left or abandoned them—they have abandoned God. Even at the end of the reading, God promises that the people will return to God.

And we do the same thing—every time we elevate money or nation or entertainment over our call to be God’s light in the world. Remembering that God’s name is holy doesn’t mean just avoiding cursing or swearing using the name of God. It also means, since we claim the name of Christ and wear the name of Christ as self-professed "Christians," we should avoid profaning Christ’s name through our behavior to each other, especially those among us who are weak, vulnerable, or begging for mercy. That kind of sin can befoul the name of Christ far worse than any curse-word ever could.


A detail from the dancing saints mural at St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco

Your kingdom come
Third, that God’s kingdom or rule within our hearts begins by our own invitation and openness. God doesn’t come in and impose God’s will upon us. God’s kingdom begins when we are brave enough to ask for the kingdom, to log for the kingdom, and to choose to live by kingdom values over the familiar but also soul-destroying vacuum in our own world. For the last several weeks now, every gospel reading we’ve heard has included the reminder that the kingdom of God is drawing near to us. 

It would be helpful if we would stop running away each time it approaches. Asking God’s kingdom to come is also committing ourselves to a new way of living and relating to each other, where we honor the promises we repeated last week in our baptismal covenant at our 10:15 service alongside our baptismal candidate: 
  To continue in fellowship with each other, and not just with the people that are already here, but those in the world who are outside our doors and our daily lives. 
  To resist evil rather than accommodate it, and to take seriously its presence in the world.
  To be brave in our proclamation of the Gospel no matter how weird, or worse, na├»ve, others might think us. 
  To seek the face and beauty of Christ in ALL persons, and proclaim their dignity and worth, no matter who they are or where they come from or what they need, to see the outstretched hand of the refugee as the outstretched hand of Jesus, who knew what it was like to be homeless and persecuted.


Give us today our daily bread
Fourth, God is a provider for us. When we ask for our daily bread, we are asking God to take care of us the way a father would take care of his children, providing for them through his own efforts. The word for “daily” can also be translated as “necessary,” but recent translators have suggested that the double use of daily in the original might mean “tomorrow”—give us tomorrow’s bread today. In doing this, God not just provides our food but grant us peace of mind and contentment.

As I noted in my reflection this week, this is the prayer of a humble laborer, who will rise from sleep hungry if there is no bread in the house before they go out to search for work the next day. Being given tomorrow’s bread today allows you to sleep at peace, knowing that at least the morning will not start with hunger but with strength, which of course also leads to gratitude. It’s a simple request, a basic request, a life-giving request. If we have tomorrow’s bread today, we can rest a little easier about the future, and center our prayers on God in gratitude rather than in fear.

Even the great Indian sage and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There are people in this world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” With that statement, bread goes from being humble sustenance to something no one should be asked to live without. What if we understood God as our sustenance, as what keeps us from perilous hunger and need? Maybe it is just that simple and direct at times. Tomorrow’s bread is the bread of hope—and this prayer reveals both our dependence and our trust upon God.

And forgive us our sins, for we forgive ourselves everyone indebted to us
Fifth, whereas the version in Matthew refers to “debts,” which could just be a translator’s whim, Luke refers to sins, and asks God to forgive us. But here is where, after a series of rapid-fire short sentences, we get a subordinating clause, as we English teachers remind you: Forgive us our sins, FOR we forgive those who sin against us. In other words, this takes for granted that we have already forgiven those who have hurt us through their sinfulness. God is fully capable of forgiving—let’s face it, as much as we ae prone to sin and self-centeredness, forgiving has to be a huge part of our relationship with God.

And this is a reminder for us, and an admission—we all are prone to manipulation, treating each other with carelessness if not outright cruelty, and being far too comfortable in a system designed to promote winners and losers so long as WE don’t end up on the losing end. This culture in which we live is run by the gods of scarcity, exploitation, and want, after all—it’s the basis for our economic system. That’s especially why we are reminded in this prayer both of why we need to be forgiven, and why, as God’s children, we are called to forgive too.

And it is important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean we let toxic people back into our lives on the same footing as they had to hurt us in the first place—we need to make that abundantly clear. Forgiveness is not forgetting—forgiveness is a gift you give yourself when you have been wronged, so that the pains of the past don’t destroy or disable your future.

Yet the life of faith is a life of repentance and reconciliation. The word “repentance” often gets a bad rap—it makes people feel guilty, and ashamed somehow, even if they don’t know the reason for that shame. Yet repentance is necessary for everyone. Repentance literally means “to turn.” Even God is portrayed as turning away from wrath in the psalms. Even Jesus was brought to new understanding when the Syro-Phoenician woman refused to take offense at being called a dog, if only this Jewish holy man would make her little girl well.

Do not bring us to the time of trial. 
Sixth: Asking mercy rather than trial. This is another part of God’s protection over us. We pray to not be led to the time of trial—even if we may deserve it. We ask instead for God’s grace rather than God’s justice. In the modern version of the Lord’s prayer, I really like the way this request is phrased: “Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.”

In the traditional language version we pray every time we worship, the phrase “lead us not into temptation” just does not square with what I have experienced God to do in my life—God doesn’t lead us into temptation; I can get there just fine on my own, even blindfolded and spun around three times as if I was getting ready to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Temptation is our playground.

For many of us, the biggest temptation we face every day is the temptation to tell ourselves we can’t do anything in the face of cruelty, injustice, and exploitation, in the face of the very real suffering that we witness in ways great and small every day. What we need, what we pray for, is for God to help save us in times of trial—in times when all like lost sheep we are prone to wander, and put our own concerns above those of God, and above the very real need and pain of the world.

What we pray for in this petition is for God to strengthen us to be God’s children in the ways that really matter—that when we are confronted with the temptation to say we can do nothing, or to say that helping is too much work even when it’s as simple as baking a casserole or listening attentively to someone, we instead be led from that temptation to being fully engaged in what our Jewish friends call tikkun olam—the repair of the world.

And what do we learn about our hopes and concerns about God from this prayer? We learn many things. First of all, that we are brave enough to approach God, knowing that God hears our prayer. It reminds us that prayer is not a one-way magic formula for getting the deity to do what we want; prayer is a conversation, based on a real relationship. We learn that we believe that God can intervene in our lives for both giving and forgiving. We trust God not to lead us astray, but instead, like the Good Shepherd, to never let us remain lost, or those afraid that their faith is not strong enough. 

In Gethsemane
We also learn that, like an older brother, Jesus is teaching us how to pray. He is engaging in an activity he is depicted as performing repeatedly throughout the gospels: going off by himself to pray to God. And finally, there is this reminder: perhaps the disciples wanted to have Jesus provide them with a magic formula for prayer. Jesus gives us this prayer to help us, but he never means that this prayer is the only one we should ever pray.

As we know, prayer can take many forms. Ultimately, the point of prayer is drawing closer to God and aligning our wills more closely with God’s will. Planting a forest is a form of prayer, as we heard about Jadev Payeng, who has spent 40 years turning a desert waste into a forest filled with life, one tree at a time. Being the church in the world even when the world is hell-bent on systems that are based on division, on fomenting distrust and exploitation, is a form of prayer. Worship is a form of prayer, of course. Feeding someone, as Jesus fed the multitudes, is a form of prayer. Caring for a sick stranger, as the Good Samaritan did, is a form of prayer. Washing the dishes or mending sandals is a beautiful prayer, as we heard about Brother Lawrence last week. Sitting in silent meditation is a form of prayer, as we open our hearts and still our monkey mind to listen to what God may be calling us to do.

We too, share the disciples’ plea. Teach us to pray, Beloved Jesus. Teach us to pray with our voices, and teach us to pray with our silences as we listen to God as much as we talk to God. Teach us to pray by our actions as much as our words. Make our lives a living prayer to You.

Amen.

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

Readings:
Hosea 1:2-10
Psalm 85
Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19)
Luke 11:1-13

Prayer day 2372


(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.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Prayer, day 2371

Our Loving Light in heaven,
we are called to forgive others
as much as You forgive us.

Help us let go of anger and resentment
when we have been wronged,
and nurture understanding
in place of feeding the weeds of rage.

Help us to understand
that all are wounded
and in need of healing,
including ourselves.

Help us to lower our defenses
and not impugn the motives of those we love,
opening ourselves to the vulnerability
and blessing of love.

Help us to judge only as harshly
as we ourselves wish to be judged,
and no more.

For You are our loving God,
and You forgive us repeatedly
when we fail You.

Teach us that in bearing grudges
we grip a weight that will sink us,
and when harboring anger
we risk loss in a sea of recrimination.

Let us embrace those who seek our pardon,
and repair mutual injury
with the balm of Love that never fails.

O Loving One, hear our prayers
and grant your benediction and grace
to those whose needs we now raise before You.

Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Prayer 2370


Let us draw near in our hearts to God
whose hand sustains us in tenderness and peace.
Our praise we offer to the Lord of Life,
and we lay our petitions at your feet, O Savior,
asking your blessing and renewal to rest upon us.

Give us strength for the day before us,
and the heart to work for the release of captives,
the welcome of refugees
and the care of the forsaken,
that we may claim the name of Christ
only by walking in his ways.
May we proclaim the beauty of the gospel of Jesus
through the integrity and hope that informs our lives,
renouncing cruelty, avarice and falsehood,
purging our hearts of all callousness.

Beloved Savior, take us by the hand
to pull us up to the higher ground of love,
and grant your blessing upon those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Prayer 2369


We lift our hearts to You,
O Sustainer and Redeemer,
hungry for your wisdom
and grateful for your love.

We exult in the wonders of your creation,
and rejoice at the imprint of your hand
that we share with all creation.
Let us drink deeply of your truth, O God,
that we may be refreshed in our souls
for our work in fields of redemption and restoration.
Grant us tomorrow's bread, Lord,
that we may dedicate ourselves to You today,
and lie down in peace and security at day's end.

Fill the hungry with good things, O Exalted One,
and bless all who are troubled or anxious,
especially those whose needs we lift before You.

Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Prayer, day 2368


(inspired by Luke 11:1-13)
Almighty God, may your Name be holy throughout the world: we lift our prayers and thanksgvings before You in faith. 

May we seek to honor You with our lives and our words, our hearts dedicated to love. May your kingdom be established on Earth, and the world know we are yours by our love and charity for all. 

Feed us with the bread of hope and the cup of salvation, this day and every day, we pray. 

Forgive us our sins, and, forgiven, may we remember to enact the mercy we receive with those who hurt us. 

From trials too great to endure, Lord God, deliver us and shield us; yet we know You are always with us. 

Holy One, we ask for your Spirit to cover us with her wings: gather within your mercy all those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Prayer, day 2367


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.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Pryer 2366: Sixth Sunday After Pentecost


Holy One,
we gather before your altar
and raise our hearts to You in praise.
Teach us to seek the better part
in our devotion to You:
to love and learn from You
with all our intention and attention,
dedicating ourselves to your service.
Let all we do
be done in love in your Name:
from washing the dishes
to reading the scriptures
to serving each other with tenderness.
Our hearts are spread before You like a book:
read your love into our bones,
and bless us, Lord Jesus, 
by making us a blessing for the world.
Hold us in the hollow of your hand, Blessed Savior,
and grant your peace to those for whom we pray.

Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Be Here Now: Sermon for Proper 11C, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost



Just a few weeks ago, Jesus sent the 70 out in pairs, instructing them to take nothing with them extra, to accept the hospitality that was offered, and to eat what was set in front of them. Today we see Jesus following his own advice. He has entered the house of Martha, and that is the first thing that is unusual about this story. Most women then were not independent land owners—as was the case even in the US until the 19th century. The implication in the language here is that Martha owns this home. Her sister Mary lives there with her. 

One of the commentaries that I read over this story noted that in scripture, siblings often compete with each other and openly display quite a bit of rivalry: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Jacob’s sons, Rachel and Leah,-- and the unnamed brothers we will hear about next week, as a spoiler. It's the case with us too, right? Sometimes our siblings can be our biggest rivals, so that's relatable.(1)

This story depicts Martha engaged in the work of hospitality, which is often depicted as “women’s work.” While she is juggling “many tasks” in order to take proper care of her guests, her sister Mary sits at Jesus’s feet—the traditional posture in ancient times was that a teacher was seated and the students or disciples sat at his feet. Mary, therefore, is portrayed as a disciple very clearly. Martha’s discipleship is more abstract—she does the cookin’ the cleanin’, and the washin’ that supports Jesus and the disciples in their ministry. We cannot lose sight of how important that is. Someone has to do the cleaning up.


We also can’t assume that Martha was the only one possibly put out by Mary’s sitting there at Jesus’s feet. I wonder if many of the male disciples with Jesus weren’t also put out that she was daring to claim a place usually reserved for men.

This passage has been used to set up a false dichotomy, to set women against each other as either “Marthas” or Marys.” It’s the height of unfairness. Of course, it’s ideal to be both a learner AND a doer. But one unfortunate fact of life is that too often women are expected to both work outside the home and take primary responsibility for the work inside the home. Even here in 2019, married women—even if they work outside the home for pay, STILL end up doing most of the housework, as study after study continues to find, although the gap is closing. My husband is a major exception to that rule, and I know how lucky I am about that.

But when I was a girl, every single girl in junior high was expected to take home economics, and every single boy was expected to take shop class. Being my father’s daughter, I wanted to take shop class and was told no. Then, as I enrolled for 9th grade, my counselor called me in when she got my choices for classes and noted that I hadn’t taken home ec yet, and started to pencil it in in place of a science class I had chosen, as if it was an oversight on my part. Yeah—note what she started to take out—science. Ay. Anyway, when I told her nothing doing, she started to put up a fuss, and called my mom—who told her the same thing that I had: that she taught me how to cook, I had to sew my own gown in Camp Fire Girls, and the science class was more important.

So I was the only girl in my class who never took home ec. And given that this was also the same year I got thrown out of English class and given an F for standing up for a Jewish classmate when my English teacher implied to the rest of class that if he didn’t believe in Jesus, he was in mortal peril, you can see that my 9th grade year was particularly less than fun for a girl who knew her rights. All I knew is that they were trying to shove me into the category of “less than” at school instead of academics.

Hospitality and all that enables it is NOT lesser than academics. But when people read this story as condemning Martha for thinking that Mary should have to help with the chores, I think they are getting the emphasis wrong. I think Martha goes wrong at two spots: First, she is “distracted by her many tasks”—the word translated as “distracted” actually implies being “pulled in too many directions,” which certainly has a lot of the flavor of what I feel when I’m scrambling around doing housework.

But also mixed into that anxiety is a fair amount of resentment at her sister-- and at Jesus. Uh-oh. That’s not good. She violates the whole spirit of hospitality by her complaint to Jesus, too—trying to shame her sister in front of her guests. It is probable that she didn’t hear a word of what Jesus was saying even when she was in the room, her mind being as full of resentment and distraction as it was.

But there’s a part of this related to group dynamics that Sally pointed out to me, and now that I see it I can’t unsee it ever again. Martha is trying to do what is known as “triangulation” which is one of my biggest peeves after lying or meanness. Here. One of the main ways triangulation works is when two people have a beef or dispute with each other, but one or sometimes both of them try to drag a third person into the dispute and communicate to the person they have a beef with using the third person.

If you’ve ever seen the Harry Potter movies or read the books, it’s like the scene in The Goblet of Fire when Harry and Ron aren’t speaking to each other, and so they use Hermione to carry insults back and forth at each other in the guise of talking.

Another way I’ve seen triangulation work, especially in churches, is when Person X comes to a ministry leader or priest and says, “Some people don’t like the way you say ‘Galilee,’” to use a silly example, or when Person X complains to Person Y about something in church and wants Person Y to inform the priest rather than owning it themselves.

At its worst, triangulation can lead to a toxic culture of backbiting and gossip, fraying the fabric of trust and goodwill that is at the heart of Christian community. And Jesus wisely avoids the trap that Martha probably unconsciously lays for him; he’s not going to carry the water for her resentment and get sucked into it himself. Instead Jesus gently, lovingly corrects her for being distracted and worried.  

The better part that Mary chose was NOT that she wasn’t helping to clean up, but that she was fully present in the moment sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening and learning. And that enabled her to be fully present to Jesus and the message of God’s kingdom at that time. Perhaps Martha could have seen that Mary listening attentively while she worked meant that she could later be told by her sister everything that Jesus had said.

It’s a great reminder for us all as ministers that it’s not just the things we do, it’s the attitude that we do them with that can preach. When Christians claim to be doing God’s work, but with an attitude of resentment, or judgment, or unkindness, the good things they are doing get lost in the negative static. Yet even the most humble task can testify to the glory of God’s love and grace done in our lives, if done with joy.

That spirit of joy in humble tasks was famously exemplified in a religious work from 17th century France called The Practice of the Presence of God, based on the life and words of a humble Carmelite lay brother known by the name Lawrence of the Resurrection, or simply Brother Lawrence. Lawrence served as a soldier during the 30 Years’ War. He was left permanently lame by his military service, and eventually found his way to a Carmelite monastery in Paris. He was rough, uneducated, and worked as the cook until gout forced him to even more humble work as a sandal maker. Yet people far and wide sought him out as a spiritual advisor for the peace and wisdom with which he performed even the simplest tasks.

One of his sayings, written down after his death, was this:

We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed… We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of Him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before Him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.(2)

In other words—Be here now. Be willing to do the humble work of caring for others, of welcoming and feeding and sustaining community, but be fully present in it, offering all you do to God. Be both Martha and Mary. May all we do be done for the love of God, centered in the joy of helping each other in God’s name and to God’s glory.



Amen.


Preached at the 505 on Saturday, July 20, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Ellisville.

Readings:
Luke 10:38-42

Citations:
1) Ben Witherington III and Amy-Jill Levine, Luke:New Cambridge Bible Commentary
2) Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, downloadable for free at Project Gutenberg, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5657

Prayer, day 2364


Blessed be You, God of the Universe,
who has formed us and loved us from time immemorial.
You know every bird in the sky,
and every living thing on the earth:
your mercy and compassion sustain us all.

Lord, let us hear your call to unity
and give thanks for our common life;
let us reconcile and heal our broken communities.
Guide us into a love of wisdom
that we may be led into peace and justice.

Holy One, accept the prayers of your people
as we seek fuller knowledge of your truth.
Led by Love Incarnate, our Savior Jesus,
may we be forces of healing and hope for all.
Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with goodness,
and extend the blessing of peace over all for whom we pray.

Amen.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Prayer 2363


Holy One of Blessing,
You encircle us and enfold us;
in your constant love we are kept safe and protected.
You are with us always, O God, 
You gaze tenderly upon all creation,
the work of your fingers and wisdom,
lovingly crafted and upheld by your mighty hand.
Set our feet upon the plain of justice,
and make us a bulwark for the oppressed and the vulnerable.
Make us one with each other:
may our arms open wide to encircle our neighbor,
as you encircle us all.
O Comforter, grant us your benediction,
and pour out your peace like a balm over us
that we may sing out your glory in our lives.
Grant your comfort to those whose hope is in you,
especially those whose needs we lift before you as we pray.

Amen.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Prayer, day 2362


Holy One,
we bend the knee of our hearts before You in thanksgiving:
open our hearts to the balm of your Word.
Remember us according to your love, O God,
for we are prone to wander
and fall short of who we are called to be.
We are too prone to give the hungry a stone
instead of bread,
and the refugee rejections
rather than welcome.
Yet You are gracious to us, O God,
steadfast in kindness,
so let us learn from You,
who made us in your image.
Grant us the courage to follow
in the path of hope, faith, and compassion
through the waste places of fear and doubt.
Teach us by the example of your saints and apostles
to walk in your ways always.
Give us the will to sing your love boldly
and to place healing hands upon the wounded places in the world
as we pray.

Amen.