Second Sunday in Lent, March 17, 2019
Offered by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor
Great God, creator God, loving God, weeping God, we come to you completely empty, out of any kind of solutions. We come to you with the number fifty on our minds. Another fifty people added to the countless people who have been victims of terrorist, hateful, racist acts of violence and destruction. People gathering to worship you or study their ancient texts, needing your care and guidance, and searching for you in sacred places. Innocent victims, completely surprised, undeserving of death. It becomes too much for us to bear, and we find our minds disoriented and our hearts broken and our stomachs filling with increasing anxiety.
So we need you, O Lord. We need you to remind us again that death and violence is not the end of the story. We need you to remind us again that redemption comes and that the lives lost are not lost in vain but that each life lost keeps poking at us, prodding us to open our eyes to the sin of hate, that each life lost opens our hearts to crucial need in this world for love—for our love—given and shared in whatever ways we can.
So we lift up these recent victims and their families and those who were first responders, asking for miracles of your grace and a palpable sense of your presence. And we lift ourselves up to you, asking you to lead us, to lead the people of the world, to choose love rather than hate, not only with desire but with action, not only with words but with action.
We come to you with the worries of our own personal lives, too. We ask you to unravel the family discord some of us encounter. We pray for loved ones who are sick or unemployed. We pray for people facing the last weeks and months of life. We pray for people who are lonely. And we pray for ourselves, for each one of us, that you give us hearts of gratitude and sustain us with a powerful sense of your hand in this world. O God, we ask you now to hear us in these next few seconds of silence as we name in our hearts the people known to us who need a sign of your presence.
Thank you for putting desire in our hearts—a desire to know you, a desire to be bonded together in your Son, a desire to be better people. Thank you for the bits of faith you have given us already, for the people who have come before us and the people who will come after us, and thank you, O God, for one another. In the holy name of Jesus we pray, saying together, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church