Sunday, September 16, 2007
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
God of the sparrow, God of the whale, God of the swirling stars, we stand in awe, and we wonder, how do we live praise? Let us not be paralyzed by the wonder of your hand to create. Instead fill us with respect for the world, for the many people and creatures who inhabit it. But let us not stop there. Let us, too, embrace the responsibility you have laid in our hands to care for it wisely and gently.
God of the earthquake, God of the storm, God of the trumpet blast, how do we say woe? Remind us, O God, that yours is not the spirit that blows of damage and destruction but that moves over lands and peoples to rebuild and restore. In the shadows of disaster, multitudes of your children suffer out of sight. Their pain is oft borne alone, and their cries for help are muffled. Teach us to say save. Give us ways to make this world ready to hear their pain and to recognize the call to grant relief to those living without adequate shelter, clean water, health care, or food.
God of the rainbow, God of the cross, God of the empty grave, how do we speak grace? Remind us that you owe us nothing but in Christ have given us all and that what we owe the world is that which you have given us—your love and grace. Teach us to live thanks. Humble us when we become hardened by this world, cynical about giving gifts to those we aren’t sure are worthy. Change our hearts from judging to generous, that we might give not according to whom we deem deserving but simply because you have given to us.
God of the hungry, God of the sick, God of the prodigal, we long to be care for the world. Teach us to say life. Where people wander in lands of hurt and need, let us hurry to find them. Where we find those who hesitate at the gate, let us pick them up in our arms and carry them in. Where we find those broken in body and spirit and mind, let us move gently to gather their burdens and replace them with hope and healing.
God of the neighbor, God of the foe, God of the pruning hook, we live in a world full of your love. Teach us to say peace in a world torn by strife. In this world and in our country, we continue to beat plowshares into warships and pruning hooks into missile heads. Teach us to say peace even when we run the risk of offending friends or treading on sacred beliefs or lands. Teach us that it is always our place to say peace whether our government or national unions have decided that civil war is hands off for peacemakers. Teach us that the call to justice is always greater than the need to placate or deny.
God of the ages, God of the hand, God of the loving heart, ours are lives filled with opportunities for joy. In a world of abundance, lead us to share and shape, to forgive and reconcile, to extend hospitality and hope, that all your children might discover that you are their home where grace and love is plenty. We pray this and all things in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together saying, Our Father . . .
(Based on the hymn God of the Sparrow by Jaroslav J. Vajda.)
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church