Good Friday Prayer

Sorrow and Love, O God, Sorrow and Love –
Flowing mingled down.

This day we look to the cross, we tell the ages-old story – it resonates with grief anew. God, it’s hard to see love when we look to the cross, when we see the sky grow dark, in-the-shadow-of-the-cross1and feel the very earth trembling beneath our feet.

It’s easier to feel sorrow, yes, and fear – not understanding what we have done. How did we get from palms and parades to darkness, earthquakes and death?

We walk in the shadow of your cross. We stand, we hide, we look away… ashamed, confused, and alone.

You suffered because of us and on our behalf. Your cries of anguish and abandonment echo. We pray that you, too, may be comforted in your suffering. We pray for your wounds and your pain and your agony.

You traveled a journey of suffering – you invited your friends to stay awake, to join you, to stay by your side. Your journey led you and you alone to the cross.

We stand in the shadow of your cross and see that you suffer alongside us. May we find consolation in our own anguish, our own loneliness, our own pain.

As we walk in the shadow of your death, may we sense the light that glimmers in the darkness, darkness that exists because of our own doing.

This night, in our quiet and in our wondering, let your truth echo deep within us, that:

“beyond sin there is love inexhaustible, beyond death there is life unimaginable,
beyond brokenness there is forgiveness incomprehensible, beyond betrayal there is grace poured out eternally.”[1]

 

We return our gratitude to you this night – with sighs too deep for words, we look to your cross – we see sorrow and love flowing, and offer our thanks to you.

Amen. 

 

[1] http://godspace-msa.com/2014/04/15/a-prayer-for-holy-week/

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Holy Week Prayer

Creating and Sustaining God – We continue to walk this journey of holy week – from palms and hosanna to cries of fear and punishment.

Help us remember the wonder of your love, the wonder of your life, the wonder of your presence.

We walk the journey from the shouts of crowds to join you at the table. You invited your friends to share a meal with you. It is in the breaking of bread that we recognize you euchin our midst. May that be so. May we continue to find you working and living in our midst.

In our brokenness – meet us in the work of your healing peace.

In our darkness – meet us in glimmers of light that flicker hope.

In our arrogance – meet us in the vast expanse of your love that we may wonder anew at the world and your works.

In our ignorance – meet us in the eyes of a stranger – may we recognize your image in and beneath their skin. May we recognize your image in our own being.

In our complacency – meet us in the work of your Kingdom yet to be done. 

In ways new and old may we be struck profoundly by the wonder of the depths of your love – a love big enough for all corners of creation, and a love personal enough that it meets each one of us in bread and wine. Sustain us again with your meal and your presence.

Ash Wednesday Prayer

Yes, I know. Ash Wednesday was a week ago. Better late than never?

God –

We do not know what to do with this day. We do not like to focus on our mortality, our fragility. We prefer not to remember that nothing is permanent, not our lives, not our bodies.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.ash-wednesday1

God you made us out of dust. You call us out of ashes. You call us to live, to breathe, to seek life. Remind us this day of the ashes and death around us. Call us to life out of the death of busyness, the ashes of anxiety and comparison and jealousy and boastfulness.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

You, O God, are the eternal One. Your steadfast love is forever. You created us – fearfully, wonderfully made us. You knit us together, and call us to deep and abiding relationship with you. Out of our fragility, out of our ashes, call us to what is eternal – your hope, your peace, your love.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

As we receive the ashes – as we are marked and marred by dust – keep us mindful of our fragility. May we find freedom in our humanness, knowing that all of life is moving, changing, temporary. Catch us with glimpses of your eternal life and spirit. Grant us patience and perseverance with the brokenness is all we see and feel.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

We seek forgiveness for the ashes we create, for the dust at our feet of our own making: the ashes of warfare, the dust of oppression and injustice. Forgive us the burdens we create for others. Out of our ashes grant us courage and wisdom to build communities of peace and freedom. Out of our fragility, may we speak words of your steadfast and eternal presence.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Thank you that you love us, that you create and re-create us. Thank you for your eternal life breathed ever new in us each day.

In your son’s name we pray all these things, Amen.

Christmas Eve Prayer

God With Us –

We know the stories by heart. We know the familiar refrains. The verses and choruses play in our ears as we shop, as we drive, as we hurry from task to task, from errand to errand. The audacious proclamations of Joy to the World and Peace on Earth have become background noise and quaint as we continue our routines and our rhythms.

We know the stories by heart. It is hard to say something new – to feel something new when the angels, Star-of-Bethlehem-Star-of-Wonder-Christmas-Starshepherds, a virgin and the stable seem all-too-familiar.

Bring us back to a sense of wonder this night.

Interrupt us – break into our mundane with your light.

May we wonder at the miracle of your Incarnation. In these moments this night, fill this place with wonder and awe at your presence among us.

We continue to wait, though, God. We continue to wait for your presence again among us. Our waiting often seems futile. Your presence seems as far away as a star over Bethlehem.

Even amidst our final details of gift-wrapping and cookie decorating and family-counting, we hear news of wars – communities around the world torn apart by the lust for power; we hear of more gun violence in our own country; we know the silent violence of mental illness, of abuse; we turn our backs on the persistence of oppression. We continue to watch as the irrationality of hatred and loss of innocent life threaten to squelch voices of hope.

Embolden us with the irrationality of your love – of your grace – of your hope.

You entered human history – you walked among a particular people. You shared in sorrow and in joy this very human life. We ache for your presence to dwell among us – in our particular time and place – to hear your voice, to see your face, to walk along side you, to share in a meal around a common table.

christmas-lights-600x400In our aching, in our longing, which continues even through our Christmas proclamation and rejoicing, find us open anew to your presence. May our hands and feet, our words and song be to the world your presence. In our work and our wonder may we bring the irrational love and grace of your Incarnation alive – wild and free – into the darkness.

We long for all these things, in the name of your Infant Son, who is our Christ. We pray now together the prayer he taught us, Our Father…

Morning Prayer, 10.13.13

God you are the Author of Life – from before our birth and beyond our last breath – you know us and call us by name.

You have created us uniquely and amazingly in your image – the power that each of us bears your mark of grace and love and faith is often too much to bear, too much to understand. If we are honest, if we were to embrace fully the truth of this – we are, truthfully, afraid of what might happen. Forgive us for our reluctance and our fear to take care of, to take responsibility for, the least of these among us. Forgive us for our inability and our unwillingness to love our neighbors as ourselves.

You have created us and called us to your work: an unceasing call to build your Kingdom – to be agents of your love, mercy and justice in the world.  Unsettle us, awaken us, for-least-of-thesedisquiet us to see ways in which we would do your work.

We ask for your blessing this day, but not for blessings of comfort or of complacency. Rather bless us with new sight and new perspective:

Bless us with discomfort – may we not be satisfied with easy or simplistic answers. May we not be content with empty truths or superficial relationships.

Bless us this day with anger – with righteous indignation at all the ways that injustice, oppression, exploitation seem to tell a greater and more powerful story than your freedom, justice and peace.

Bless us this day with deep grief – grant us tears to shed on behalf of others who suffer. We honor the physical wounds of domestic violence, of warfare and of abuse. We honor the suffering caused by famine, starvation, drought. We honor the mental and emotional anguish of mental illness – suffering that often goes unnoticed and unspoken.

Bless us this day with the audacity to believe – the audacity to have faith in your Kingdom, believing, standing on your promises that your peace, your mercy, your grace is big enough, deep enough, wide enough to cover and consume the whole world.

For those among us who continue to seek your healing, we pray.
For those among us who continue to wrestle with the hidden and yet powerful companion of grief, we pray.
For those among us who suffer – silently or otherwise, we pray.

Likewise, O God, we recognize that we struggle to love our enemies – individuals, institutions, other nations, political parties. We pray for the enemies we wrestle.

We pray all these things in the name of Jesus, our Christ, Amen.

Morning Prayer, September 8, 2013

God of Peace,

We want to sing a new song this day – and yet we are surrounded by the tired refrains of conflict, of warfare, of retaliation and violence.

How can we sing a new song – how can we sing your song, O God, as weapons are foisted, as war is declared, as bullets are numbered and drones are utilized to wreak havoc and destruction?

Where do we find your peace amidst our own capacity to destroy?

Help us learn to grieve, help us give voices to the lamentation and the despair as families are destroyed, as parents learn the horror of burying their own children and communities become barricades. Help us grieve for those in our own communities and for those miles, and oceans away. We do not know their names, we cannot comprehend their loss, and yet you, O God, know. You know their faces, their names, you knit them in their mothers’ wombs. We know you grieve as your children continue to seek and exact harm on one another. Help us find ways to build hope and wage peace.

God, the temptation to revenge, retaliation, violence is great. We are surrounded by the ages old words of eye for an eye – and often we take an eye and a life. May we find in your new covenant the promise that only love, only peace, only grace can offer true reconciliation. Guide us to be agents of restoration and not retribution.

Perhaps we look around at our world, perhaps we watch the images on television and sit, despairing. What can we do? Teach us to hope. Teach us to pray. Teach us to advocate. Teach us to channel our anger towards righteous causes of peace-building and Kingdom-seeking.

We read in scripture the promise of the day when we will beat our swords into plowshares. We read yourSwords-into-plowshares-225x300 promise that we will beat our spears into pruning hooks.  What about the drones, O God? What about the chemical weapons? What about the unfathomable destruction we have wrought? How can we plant seeds of hope and peace in the midst of this?  We cry out to you, O God – we cry out that we might grasp onto your promise of hope and peace.

We sing in familiar tune, asking that you Be our Vision, Be our Wisdom and our True Word. More than ever, we pray that we might see with your eyes, and our words might be your words. Guide our hearts and our minds in your Wisdom – may we cultivate your Kingdom, your Peace that others might truly see you in all we do and say.

Amen.

Morning Prayer, 2.17.13, Lent I

Almighty God –

You have created us in your image, and yet we so rarely reflect your presence. Out of our ashes, show forth your beauty. In our dust and frailty, enliven and embolden us with your grace and spirit.

We know that you created us, you love us, you call us good. And yet, we deny that creation, that love, that goodness.  You love us anyway. You sustain us anyway. You forgive and extend your grace anyway.

Thank you for the beauty you create out of our dust.

Out of our violence and thirst for retribution, create the beauty of reconciliation and peace.

Out of the reality of not enough – the ashes of hunger, thirst, injustice, create the beauty of enough – of enough food, water, resources, for all the world.

Out of the embarrassment of our abundance, create the beauty out of our willingness to share.

Out of the bonds of oppression and humiliation, create the beauty of freedom and dignity.

Out of the alienation of illness, or displacement, create the beauty of your healing and reunion.

Out of the suffering your children experience of body, mind or heart, create the beauty of wholeness, in this earthly life and in eternal life.

Out of our own division and wavering – in our politics, in our churches, and in our families – create the beauty of your unity and compassion.

In the ashes of these days and weeks of Lent, O God, create the beauty of a renewed spirit and sense of purpose.

God, you are our refuge and fortress, our shelter and our shade; we pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.