Sunday, January 7, 2007
Offered by Elizabeth B. Andrews, Parish Associate
faithful keeper of ancient promises,
astonishing author of bright, new possibilities,
here we gather on this Epiphany Sunday, the first Sunday of a new year,
the length of days stretching before us,
ours to choose how we will greet the gifts
of your love come into our midst,
of time to start afresh, to change course,
ours to make of them what we will.
Human as we are, we come
carrying our mixed bag of thanksgivings and misgivings,
of gratitude and grief
all to be opened up, offered up in your presence:
Here we bring all just past:
the broken pieces, for your mending and healing, if it may be;
shreds of dreams, sharp edges of conflict;
and the beautiful pieces, too, we spread before you,
recognizing in every joy, every happy fulfillment,
everything that is dear, delicious, and right,
the blessing from your generous hand.
Our hopes and our leftover fears we bring as well,
the plans and the pains which are already known to you.
As for what lies ahead, dear God, we cannot know,
except that you have promised to be with us.
In all the choices and changes that there may be
for us and those we love,
for the poor and for the powerful of the world,
the gifted and the grieving, the lost and the lonely,
may your love open out the way,
your tender and powerful hand shape what is to be.
God of grace and new beginnings,
set us free from whatever drags us down,
from whatever separates us from those to whom you
would have us draw closer.
Fill us with hope and trust and fresh energy to begin again,
to find new ways homeward, forward.
We remember before you this morning all who are isolated, ill, anxious,
those facing particular challenges in the days ahead,
those of your children near and far who struggle to survive
amid the conflicts and confusion, the dissensions and disasters
that divide and displace, disrupt and destroy.
Inspire those who lead and bear responsibility
to see anew what might be—
for the good, the wholeness, the peace you intend.
Grant us, we pray, a new heart for the new days,
fresh courage for the living out of what is to be, for the future you are opening out.
If we cannot remain at the manger, wondering at the birth of the child,
lead us on, light the way.
Let us carry with us into whatever lies ahead
hope and trust for the journey, the kingdom coming.
We pray in the name of your Son Jesus, the Prince of Peace,
the Light of the world, and as he taught us we say together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church