A Sunday Prayer

Our church has a prayer we pray over one another every other Sunday. We pray this prayer just before the closing blessing, just before we walk out into God’s bright world to be God’s bright people. I’m not sure we know the power of what we’re praying, the hope in what we’re asking. But then, I think that’s the truth for most good prayers.

God, make your kingdom come in us, for the sake of your world. May we love you with our whole heart and love our neighbors as ourselves. May your cross carry us to die to selfish pursuits, and may your resurrection raise us to new life and radical love. Send us into your world in the name of the Father who created us, the Son who loves us and the Spirit who guides us. Amen.

In Quiet Rest

Whatever difficult place your labor takes you this day, whatever energy you exert, whether you conclude with a toast or the end is merely the moment you lose your grip, may you receive these words in your bosom. Whether your great challenge is a child in need, a marriage in shambles, a job out of reach or a faith wearing thin, may these words lodge in your soul. Whether your day is arduous and vexing or simply another opportunity to gratefully recount God as your life and the giver of all good things, may this blessing find its home in you.

O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we will be saved, in quietness and in confidence will be our strength; By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.*

 

*from the Book of Common Prayer, adapted from Isaiah 30:15

A Blessing on Mother’s Day

Women of grace, beauty and immense courage: When you desire to nurture and create life, you embody for us the power and creative love of the Trinity, the God whose very being emanates life. When you bring flesh and bone from your womb, you renew for us the holy truth that God, from the very beginning, births all that is good and beautiful in our world. When you show us what is true and pray over us with tear-drenched faith and point us toward the God who loves us, you articulate what God’s Spirit longs to speak into our heart. You, woman and mother, are a prophet of the Living God.

For those who ache for the children you’ve lost or the children you’ve yet to know,

For those who know wounds and loss from your own mother or children,

For those in the thick of the bone-wearying labor of loving children – and especially those who think you’ve been drained of every last ounce of energy,

For those with regret,

For those who, on behalf of your children or another’s children, wage war against some evil that would ravage them,

For those who are loving, mothering or blessing children not your own,

For those with new life in your belly,

For those who need to know the powerful ways your love, nurture, prayers, tears, fears, anger, weariness, hope, laundry, meals, midnight watches, exasperation and laughter have all participated in God’s mysterious act of creating beautiful life,

We bless you.

May the God who filled Mother Eve with life and who filled Prophetess Deborah with wisdom and power and who brought our Savior into the world through a women of remarkable courage, fill you with all mercy and joy today. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saying Grace

You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
{G.K. Chesterton}
image: mattox

Things Far and Near

A litany from the gospel reading, Luke 10.25-37

The lawyer raises the question for us:
What must we do to truly live with God?
The Scriptures tell us to love God with all our heart
But my heart loves so many other things
Love God with all our soul
But I have so many competing desires
Love God with all our strength
But my energy and my passion is divided
Love God with all our mind
But my mind feels too powerful or too broken
to be a place of love
Love, not only God – but also our neighbor, even as we love ourselves
But who is our neighbor?
Our neighbor is whoever God has brought near to us.
Then we will love our God who has come near to us and our neighbor God has brought near to us
In this way, we will love our God
With all of our heart, our soul, our strength and our mind.
And then, people of God, we will truly live.

And a blessing in response to Ephesians 2:11-12

To all who have known what is to be far
Far from love
Far from hope
Far from life
Far from God
Jesus has come near to you
Jesus has brought you near to him
So live near. And free. And alive.
And go the far places in your world. And witness that Jesus is near.
Amen.

A Blessing for Death

This week…
May you gather up everything that you cling to
     as if your life depends on it…

Your reputation, your energy,
     your creativity,
Your business skills, your beauty,
     your contrary nature.
Your fear and your skepticism
     and your greed.
Your story.
Your hurts.
Your hopes.
Your desires that have turned into
     demands.
Those things you hide from others,
And those things you judge others by.

May you gather up these things –
     and everything
     that holds you back from being free…
Your caution that someone may do you wrong.
Your concern that you may get it wrong.
Your haunting fear that God may be wrong.
And in a defiant, courageous, child-like act,
May you fling them all aside –
And run to Jesus
And walk with Jesus to the Cross.
And die.
And then wait in death’s dark tomb.
Wait in death’s dark tomb.
Wait…for Resurrection to break in.

Monday’s Prayer

God, you are with us, in our comings and our goings. We need you today. We needed you yesterday. We will need you tomorrow. The future is before us. It energizes us, and it terrifies us. Move ahead of us. Propel us by your Gospel mission. Make your name great. Amen