Sunday Prayer

God of hope and vision,
you have called us to invest our lives
in new possibilities, in dreams that we cannot imagine
but that reside within the restlessness
of your Holy Spirit.

You have imagined
a night without fear, an eternal season
without drought without hunger without war without hate;
we have lamented and longed for these!
Show us the way.

Time and time again
you have taught us to love one another and
to work for the relief of oppression, isolation and poverty;
the lesson has been learned; now stir
within us courage to act.

We reach out in love
to our brothers and sisters in Pakistan
whose lives have been shattered by two severe earthquakes.
We lift up those whose health, work and daily bread
rely upon our government.

We pray for neighbors
who are grieving, who are missing home;
for friends who are sick; for strangers who are outcast.
We reach out in love to all people & creation
as you reach out to us.

Make us into your vision:
may we be generous and joyous in love;
may our richness be located only in your faithfulness;
may we live justly and graciously
for your name’s sake.

Prayer cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

The tree is a tree (and other expressions of faithfulness)

There goes the tree again,
shifting its cloak from summer green
to the fading olive of something fresh that has
been in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer too long.
Lively harvest hues are soon to come (to my eye’s satisfaction)
then the death that is burnt brown, before
shameless nudity and winter.

There goes the sun,
never bored or tardy in its course:
horizon to horizon like a runner making laps
as though it is the most fulfilling thing in the world to mark
the same landscape over and over again, round and round and
around again; and to the sun it is delight enough
to follow that path.

And there goes a song,
catching my heartbeat in its rhythm;
I might pause the metronome or press mute
but still the song strains forward: ABA, chorus, bridge,
da capo al fine, ti ever longing for do from Beethoven to Bono.
The song sways, swells,
falls, rests.

Faithfulness conjoins
our fullness and our finiteness;
the tree is a tree in all seasons, also the sun,
even the song knows its bars. I would do well to learn:
to let my faithfulness include the willingness to be finite, which
then allows God to be faithful in infiniteness
and full within me.

Sunday Prayer

Most Holy God, Most Mysterious God,
we dare to approach you and to say in all candor
that you have been a balm and you have been a bother.
You have soothed and healed our troubled hearts;
you have disrupted and upended our complacent lives.
In all things, we give you praise for your wisdom and imagination.
Surely you are working out peace beyond our understanding!
Surely you are working out justice beyond our envisioning!

Until such a time when this world reflects
a divine peace and a holy justice, we pray:
– for children who miss meals and for parents
who tuck hungry kids into bed at night;
– for men and women who work ’round the clock
but are told that their efforts are not enough;
– for those who would wipe the woes of a nation
onto the backs of persons who live in poverty;
– we pray for leaders who count weapons
and barter for power by waging war;
– we pray for local and world leaders who
seek out such power in the pursuit of peace;
– we pray for those who have the shrewdness
to extend grace in unexpected ways.

We name aloud those places and experiences
where our souls cry out for grace to come swiftly:
– the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya;
– nationwide elections in Germany;
– gun violence from the parks of Chicago
to the Navy Yard to our neighborhood streets;
– the legislative hallways in Washington, DC;
– and for grace in those everyday places where
our lives experience joy and pain so intimately:
hospital rooms and schools; the bedside of the dying
and the cribside of the newly-born; church meetings
and Facebook groups and our own kitchen tables;
may these all be places where your love is known.

Now by your faithfulness make us faithful, we pray.
Call us to singular focus and trust in serving you.
We ask for the sake of your will on earth; Amen.

Prayer cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

Chaperoned by Peace

I will appoint Peace as your overseer
and Righteousness as your taskmaster.
(Isaiah 60:17)

Today, my “to do” list is not my own. It is governed by Peace, and she will review my list before approving or amending it. Peace has a perspective on life beyond my own little world of running hither-and-thither, and she will judiciously distribute my tasks so that I participate in the good work of the whole.

Today, my steps and my words are not my own. They are chaperoned by Righteousness. Each thought, each action is taught to look both ways and think twice before it is embodied. Righteousness watches carefully when consumption and selfishness come too close, and thoughtfully checks the whims of my soul.

Today, my work is not my own. I am employed by Grace, and she keeps me busy! Her voice never ceases giving direction, pointing to a welcoming smile needed here, a willing ear needed there, an extra hand over there, and a humility needed right here. The pace of the work never slows, nor does Grace.

Today, my values are not my own. Unity sits as the judge over my biases, my priorities, my presumptions, my ideals, and my obstinance. In the spirit of truth, Unity names what I have not wanted to see or allow for. Unity calculates my values, finds the equation to be inequitable, and requires recompense.

May Peace edit our priorities.
May Righteousness audit our egos.
 May Grace keep us occupied.
May Unity redefine our conscience.

Sunday Prayer

My God, we are such wrecks:
Prone to our whims & fancies,
gleefully chasing passing delights,
passively fixating on war & worry.

It is easy to take the easy way.
It is tempting to settle for doing
& giving less than our best…and
while we’re at it: to blame others.

We should not be surprised
if you flee from us. We ask
instead that you rush upon us
as an unrelenting Spirit-Wind.

Whip up a dust storm to blind
our intolerant hearts. Bring a fire
to sear away our ego & self-pity.
Require of us full reconciliation.

Do not nudge us little by little.
Transform us! Leave nothing
unchanged, so that we might
be stars in Abraham’s night sky.

Cleanse us with wisdom & joy.
Capture our wandering hearts.
Align our bodies and spirits to
follow faithfully in your ways.

Amen.

Prayer written as a reflection upon today’s lectionary readings (Pentecost 17c, Proper 19) and cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.