Sunday, July 6, 2008
Offered by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor
Gracious and loving God,
we come to you this morning in freedom:
free from our bondage to sin,
yet still struggling to follow you rather than our own desires;
free to choose our own paths,
yet bound to you through love and grace;
free to be individuals created in your image,
yet deeply connected to our sisters and brothers,
a global community that reflects your communal nature.
We come to you freely, dear God,
out of love and devotion,
not compulsion or force.
And in so doing, we discover the paradox of the gospel:
that our truest freedom is found in service;
that our truest selves emerge through selflessness.
Sovereign God of all wisdom,
on this weekend our nation celebrates its birth
and tries to recall what it is that makes us good.
When it comes to matters of our thoroughly political life together,
it is painfully clear that we are a divided nation.
Help us to seek and to find a unity that transcends our divisions.
Bind us together by our call to serve the common good of all your children.
Forgive our hubris and pride and conceit,
and help us to live with humility and charity and understanding.
Forgive our greed and abuse of power,
and remind us that true power is found in service and sacrifice.
Forgive our failures and transgressions,
and inspire us to seek justice, peace, equality, and prosperity for all.
Remind us, O God, of who we are and who you call us to be.
Remind us that our first calling is to you.
Teach us again the ways of Christ,
and fill us with your Spirit
that we might follow his path
to promote true freedom and liberty,
to act with grace and mercy and humility,
to eat and talk and live with sinners and outcasts,
to walk with the lonely and comfort those who grieve,
to care for those who are sick and dying,
to provide for the poor and needy,
to seek justice and end oppression,
to proclaim the good news of your reign
in all that we say,
all that we do,
all that we are.
And now, with one voice, as one people,
we pray for your reign, O God,
in the words that Christ taught us.
Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church