Sunday, September 13, 2015
Offered by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor
Indeed, God, the heavens tell of your glory, the skies of your handiwork. When we look upon the world you have made, we are astounded. We wonder what place we have in it and what role we are to play.
Just as you created the skies, the seas, and the earth, you have created us. Forgive us, God, for failing to be in awe of one another. We are so single-mindedly focused or preoccupied by too many things that we fail to notice how you recreate the world in and through each of us. In the details of our lives, you transform the world from old into new.
Encourage us, God, to pay attention to what is possible for your world. We want to take part as best we can in the recreating work of your Spirit. When we find that our efforts are discouraged—when we run into obstacles that slow us down, small-mindedness that fails to inspire, and corruption that deflates our spirits, give us confidence that with you all things are possible. Give us the resilience and persistence we need to do the work of your kingdom.
We pray especially for our work in reforming every imperfect system in our society: in education, in health care, in the banks, in the courts, in the jails, and in churches. None of these are perfect; we have a long way to go. Give us the resolve we need to improve the institutions we need, not just for some but for all.
And while we pray that we reform our institutions to be more responsible here at home, we also pray that we be responsive to the needs of those who are far away. We pray especially for the thousands of refugees who have been displaced by war in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As good people around the world want to help but do not know how, we pray for wisdom, moral courage, and compassion. So much is at stake in our response.
Remind us always, God, that though to us people may be strangers, to you they are your known children. You love them and want us to be loyal to them. Help us to recognize that in the details of their lives, too, you are remaking this world.
As a church, we want to give prophetic witness to what you are doing with us and beyond us. So we pray for your revealing light, God. Reveal to us what you would have us see and know, and give us the questions to ask about it and the words to speak about it.
On this day, we thank you especially for the prophetic witness of the Reverend Robert Reynolds. In his tireless ministry to all of our ministries, he has paid close attention to the movement of your Spirit and he has encouraged us to do the same. We thank you for the ways that he has kept us mindful of the wider world and responsible to our larger denomination, the ecumenical church, and interreligious partners. We thank you for his trustworthy counsel and his willingness to put himself in the hard spaces of reconciliation. We ask you, gracious God, to bless him in his retirement, just as you have blessed us with his ministry.
In all things let us rely on you, as did your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray to you, saying: Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church