Sunday, February 10, 2008
Offered by Dana Ferguson, Executive Associate Pastor
Wherever people have walked this earth, you have taken up residence with them, showering your love down on the just and the unjust, welcoming into your grace the loathed and the lovable, calling all to come to your table to freely indulge of the gifts of grace and compassion. For your faithfulness there is no match, for wherever we are you are there. You understand the pain that drives to despair, the child who goes another way, the parent who will not let the child grow up, the partner who separates, the friend who drinks to ruin. You understand it all, O God, and you wait patiently as we frantically search for a place to hide from one another and from you. Yet you never cease from welcoming us, never cease from calling us. You never give up on us.
We are ever aware of those who do not feel understood or forgiven or cherished. And so we pray:
Over hate born of desperation, cast the composure of plenty. Over the strife between races and clans, cast the tranquility of understanding. Over the dismay of growing old, cast the satisfaction of wisdom from above. Over the anxiety of grown-up responsibility, cast the assurance of your strength. Over the impatience of youth, cast the hope of making things better. Over the terror of being known as we are, cast the mantle of your gentle acceptance. Over tensions among people who love each other, cast the relief of dependable forgiveness. Over the reality of disease, cast the touch of your steady healing. Over the dread of dying, cast always the hope of living.
We pray this day, too, for those who grieve and especially for those who loved and cherished Dr. Jack Stotts. We pray for those who will gather to honor his life this day. Hold his wife, Virginia, and their family closely. We give you thanks for his many years of faithful service to this denomination and the whole of your kingdom and for the many lives that were made better by his life.
The troubles of this world are many, O God, and yet your love is greater than all of them. Let us who have been forgiven muster the strength to forgive. Let us who have found mercy find the compassion to be merciful. Let us who have yielded to peace yield our pride to peacefulness. Let us who have looked into the eyes of love see the way to be loving. Enter us and dwell within us, that all the world may know who walks its roads and loves its people.
Send us forth to serve you, the God who was, and is, and evermore shall be. And hear us now as we pray together as Christ taught us, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church