Sunday, August 17, 2014
Offered by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families
Lord of all creation, in this season of summer
we come to this place with words of thanksgiving on our heart:
thanks for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends,
for the pleasant weather and vibrancy of the city,
for this place where we can be fed by your Word and fed at your table.
And yet even in the midst of our thanks, O Lord,
we know that there is much that is not right in our world:
war that rages through Iraq and Syria,
and the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine;
an uneasy truce between Israel and Palestine;
a humanitarian crisis along our borders;
the hurt, anger, and distrust in Ferguson
between those who have been marginalized in this country
and those in positions of power and authority.
Violence lingers in our own city’s streets,
cutting short the lives of teens and children well before their time.
Economic inequality continues to increase as well,
creating a tale of two cities between those with great opportunity
and those who are isolated and trapped in a destructive cycle of poverty.
There are no easy or quick fixes to any of these problems, Lord,
but we know and hope and trust that you are there
in the midst of each of these situations,
sometimes producing bold change and sometimes producing quiet hope.
May we be a part of enacting your plan,
welcoming our brothers and sisters in Christ with open arms
just as Joseph welcomed his brothers,
seeking reconciliation, forgiveness, and a new beginning.
Challenge us to be with all in our society who exist
on the margins of our consciousness.
Give us both the clarity of vision that helps us to see people’s needs
and the wisdom to meet those needs in ways that are meaningful and lasting.
Bring peace in those places that feel trapped in cycles,
places that have known war or rumors of war for far too long.
Dissipate the hatred that simmers beneath the surface
and expand any tunnel vision, that reconciliation may occur
while still holding to your justice.
As we hold all of these prayers in our heart,
we humbly ask that you don’t allow us to despair
but to instead believe in the gospel promise
that you are indeed making all things new.
Give us hope that is stronger than our discouragement
and inspire us to live our lives through your deep love—
giving generously of ourselves in a way that builds this world up
rather than tearing it down.
And we close this prayer with the words that your Son taught us to pray: Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church