Sunday, April 27, 2008
Offered by Hardy Kim, Pastoral Resident
Triune God, we give you thanks for the miraculous ways in which you continue to prove your great creative power. Just as you established the heavens and the earth, setting the stars and sun and moon in their places, so you have caused the seasons to run their course, and we delight in the warmth and wetness of these recent days. Just as you cause new life to spring forth in the greening of the fields and trees in the world all around us, so you bring forth new life in the beautiful children born to this church family. For the many ways in which you cause us all to grow and for the ways in which you sustain the life all around us, we give you the deepest gratitude of our glad hearts.
Even as we celebrate your continuing gift of creation, we realize that the goodness and balance of this world is constantly threatened by the ways in which we use and abuse what we have been given. Kind Maker, help us to recognize the marks of your divine grace in the world around us—in the water and the air, the forests and mountains, the fields and valleys—that, in recognizing you, we might be moved to a wonder and thanks great enough to inspire changes in our way of living, so that we might be transformed into better stewards of this wonderful world.
God of power and majesty, we give you thanks for the ministry you lived out in Jesus. As we continue through this Eastertide, we are mindful that the gift of grace we were given through his work was not just a thing of the past. As we plan the life of this church community—as we clear plots in the community garden, as we prepare to send mission teams to build up broken communities, as we teach and learn from each other, as we train and prepare those who we will call leaders in this place—remind us that each of these activities is not a thing unto itself, but instead a faithful answering of Jesus’ call to follow his commandments and to continue the ministry of the one who sent him. We thank you for the fullness of life that you have given us in this place, for the many opportunities we have to share ourselves with each other and with the world. We pray that we might always participate in the life of this church with joy, happy in the knowledge that our lives are faithfully tied up in the life of the one who was the true way to knowing you.
In the midst of the buzzing and busyness of this place, we recognize that we sometimes fail to be mindful of those around us who need our attention, our support, and our love. We pray this day for those in our church family who feel isolated, who are hurting, who feel abandoned by their church or by their God. Help us to be a community that does not condemn or ostracize those who find it difficult to keep pace with a busy world, who experience failure in a culture that prizes success, who experience infirmity in the midst of this world that values ability. Instead, help us to be the living presence of Christ to all of these persons, both in this church and without. In this way, empower the family of Fourth Church to be a group of people that impresses the world around us even more by our service and compassion than we already do by the beauty of our worship.
As we seek to be this loving community, remind us always that we do so in partnership with Christ—without whom we would have no connection to you and the inspiration you bring. And keep us also aware of the accompaniment and support of your Holy Spirit. With Christ as our foundation and the Spirit as our strength, help us to live out Christ’s commission of bringing glory to you. Let us not be intimidated by the challenges that face us when we attempt to establish your examples of justice, mercy, and goodness as realities in this world; let us be confident in our work because we know that it is your Spirit at work in and through us, and not our own resources, in which we trust.
Giving thanks because we know that you have heard us, and giving you praise for the ways in which you enrich our lives, we pray all of these things in the glorious name of Jesus, the Christ, who assured us of your love and taught all of us to pray by saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church