Sunday, November 2, 2008
Offered by Thomas C. Rook, Parish Associate
Almighty God, we come here this morning, each of us bringing our own sense of gratitude, our own measure of concerns. And we acknowledge, loving Lord, that within this uncertain life, you are our one sure Rock and our one great Hope for eternal life. Within whatever span of years that we are allotted, you call us to be faithful in our walk, in our words, in our work, recognizing that how we spend that time and how we act toward others stirs waves of either good or ill, spreading far beyond ourselves and beyond our own lifetime.
And so it is, gracious Lord, on this day that we call All Saints’ Sunday, we pause to look back and remember. We remember those whose lives helped to shape our lives—that cloud of witnesses who in their time on earth acted for good in our lives, who were for us trusty and faithful influences. For these, the saints in our lives, we give you our grateful praise. As we do not live to and for ourselves alone, so these faithful ones continue to bless us still—responsible parents and loving grandparents, neighbors, teachers who asked more of us than we knew we could give, and pastors, among whom we count our good pastor and friend, Dana, remembering her lively presence among us and her heart tender for ones most in need. And now, within the silence of these next few moments, we remember and name, each in our own heart, ones who have nurtured us for good in our lives . . .
In these days of special attention to the stewardship of our lives, the intentional allocating of our time and resources that you have given to us, we thank you, generous Lord, for this community of faith that gathers here in the heart of Chicago. We are thankful that those who have gone before us, in their day, served you in this place with strength and vision. So lift our eyes to see with imagination and hope the farther horizon to which you call us. May we be found faithful in the present, mindful that those who come after us will be blessed, or not, by our measure of commitment to the work of your kingdom.
We think of our nation on the threshold of its elections, praying that leaders of wisdom and vision and good judgment may be chosen. We remember those in Chicago and around the world who live in places of conflict and suffer violence. And we pray for all today who bend low under life’s burdens, with concerns about health, about financial and job security, about strained relationships and loss. O Lord, our Good Shepherd, who gathers the lambs in your embrace, grant us a lively assurance of your strong arm to guide and your heart of love to care. Trusting that in life, in death, we belong to you, we ask you to hear us now as we join in saying the words of the Lord’s Prayer, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church