Sunday, April 9, 2000
Offered by Carol J. Allen, Associate Pastor
Holy God, someone has said that we “swim in your grace like a whale in the ocean” (West Africa, source unknown). You surround and support all living things. Like surging waves, your providence buoys us up. Your spirit is awash in this place, cleansing hearts and minds with your power to save. When life shipwrecks us, you offer your very self in the household of your church as a place to stand until we get our bearings again. All praise and thanks to you, our gracious Lord and God.
In these few moments of time for ourselves, God, we are free to acknowledge that a multitude of pressures push in on us. A multitude of voices clang and clamor for our attention. We hear the “claims of business, the attractions of pleasure,” and the cares and demands of getting on in this world (Glen Rainsley). These pressures, these voices, these claims numb us to your claims on us. When we are separated from you, we are separated from our best self. We become subject to fears about our future, slave to the desire for the praise of others. In our separation from self and you, we take the easy way, not the right way.
God of our liberation, the world can be a harsh and cruel place. The world that you love requires our best. Thank you for Jesus who goes before us to show the way. He resisted the forces that would leave him useless and passive. He lived out the claims of your gift of faith. He drove out demons, healed sick people, and raised those as good as dead onto life giving paths. When it cost him his life, thanks be to you, O God, for raising him to new life, that we might have another chance to love and serve you.
Redeeming God, through the witness of your church, may the young who search for meaning and purpose in ways that lead to addiction and not constructive work, be saved. May those who are grieving be comforted and filled with hope; those facing terminal illness or long bouts with lingering diseases be confirmed in the value of their existence; those offering risky and true peace-making leadership on local and global levels see some good results. Use your church to feed the hungry, house the homeless, open up the power of self development and self offering, in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught his disciples to say when they pray, Our Father . . . Amen.
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church