Sunday, February 18, 2007
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
God of grace and mystery, you are light to every dark shadow that closes around us; you are comfort to every fearsome belief that cripples us; and you are challenge to every truthful thought that makes us who we are. We seek you on the mountaintop, for we fear to face the realities of this world. On the mountaintop, at a distance from the world, we feel forgiven, loved, reassured by your presence and discover that we would rather be dazzled by your splendor on some Sinai than obey your commands in the urban wilderness.
Remind us not only of your call to us, but also your promise to go with us into the routine of our days and the lives of others. Send us down from the mountain convinced, O God, that we are not worthy to live the life to which you call us and yet believing that you will make us worthy; that though we are not able, you will make us able; that though we would wish you would call someone else, you call to us.
Many are the idols we are tempted to worship this day—the yearning for power over neighbor; for suffering visited upon enemies; the belief that if we just had more time, more energy, we could be better disciples; the dependence upon consuming; and the comfort of material things. And so we give you thanks this day for prophets and disciples of our time who call us to different ways, for those who look not to Washington or Wall Street for guidance, but to you; those who slay the dragon of personal greed on the altar of human service; those who risk failure for the sake of honesty; those who measure success not by the speed with which they move up but by the grace with which they reach out; for those willing to risk trusting the unlovable in order to bear witness to your mercy. Lead us, O God, in these paths of righteousness, reminding us that you will not save us from our world, because you saved us for our world.
We pray, this day, for those who find themselves in dark valleys, afraid, resentful, alone. Transform us, O God, into your instruments of peace for their lives. If someone requires our time, help us to give it. If someone asks for our patience, help us to grant it. If someone cries for understanding, help us to find it. If someone argues for a different way, help us to offer it. If someone wants to bless our lives, help us to receive it. If someone struggles beneath a burden, help us to carry it. If someone suffers from a wrong we have done, help us to mend it.
By your presence, we are dazzled and yet mystified. In our awe, bring your clarity of justice and love, that through us others might be overcome by mercy that does not discriminate, by compassion that comes at no cost, by goodness with the power to overshadow darkness. We pray this and all things in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught the disciples to pray, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church