Sunday, March 30, 2008
Offered by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor
Almighty God, we are not quite sure of what to expect anymore. Hearing stories about Jesus risen from death, we wonder how things can be so different from how we knew and expected them to be: We thought Jesus died and descended into hell, but you raised him from the dead so he could ascend into heaven. When Jesus was crucified, we gave up on the possibility of justice, but now Jesus sits at your right hand. We thought we would feel lonely in his absence, but instead we are held in the company of his church, and now we proclaim to the world that nothing in life or death can separate us from your love. We are grateful that you have overturned our expectations, God, for our expectations are not worthy of this world’s hopes.
We pray, O God, that you be the ultimate keeper of the world’s hopes, for you know how precious they are and how fragile they can be. When you implant them in us, plant them deep so that they may take root in our hearts and motivate our actions. Plant in us hopes that all children, not just our own, will be given great opportunities to thrive and to flourish. Make us speak out, show up, and stand up for them and all they can be.
God, when you plant hopes in us, plant them deep, but not too deep that they may not meet the light of day. When we hope for peace in parts of your world, our hopes are burdened by the weight of the past: the violence of offense and retaliation, missed opportunities for mercy and humaneness. Clear away the debris, Lord, so that we can see a way forward.
God, plant in us hopes that contradict how we live our lives. Let us be bothered by the discrepancy between what we habitually choose and the radical things for which you would have us hope. Make us wrestle with our complacency, for complacency is one of our worst faults and will draw us near neither to you nor to those for whom you died.
God, help us to be a hopeful people, whose alleluias are genuine, cannot be held back, and resound throughout your earth.
In faithfulness to you, we pray as your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, taught us, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church