March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Offered by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor
We come before you, O God, this day, holding so very much that we feel quite overwhelmed. We have been rattled by the unfolding of the global pandemic, with the unrelenting news from all fronts upending any comfort or security we hold. The world we have known is suddenly unfamiliar. All of the steady beat of life as we know it has come to eerie silence. We stand on a precipice, simply not knowing what is to come. So on this day, O God, we look to you for comfort, for strength, and most of all for courage in the facing of these days.
O Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. You have been there before the mountains were brought forth. You have held the life of this world as a mother holds a fragile infant. You have formed the very earth that sustains us and that nourishes us. Indeed, you are the everlasting God, our good shepherd, our gracious host. For this we give our deepest thanks.
Gracious Creator and creative God, we give thanks for your infusing love as it takes shape in acts of love and care for each and every one of us in this time. We pray for those who are ill. We hold our siblings in all parts of the world who are struggling for their lives. We pray for families and friends who are isolated from those who are infected by this virus. Give them comfort, O sustaining Spirit.
We pray for medical personnel, for hospital chaplains and care teams who receive those who are ill and speak tender words into frightened hearts. For the steady hands, the holy gaze, the remedies for spirit through healing arts, we give you thanks. We also pray for those who work in grocery stores and at the gas stations, the mail carriers and the police officers, the day care providers offering shelter for little ones whose parents are doing essential work for our society.
On this day, as well, we pray for those who are sheltering in place in this city and across this land. For so many, O Holy One, this means being alone. We pray for those in nursing facilities and retirement communities who are vulnerable. We pray for those in prison. We pray for those who have no home, no shelter.
O God, may we, who pattern our lives after your Son, Jesus, take a special measure of care for those who are alone. May our collective hands reach out to others, harboring the lost and speaking your word of peace to the lonely. May our eyes hold your vision for a future where your realm arises from the deep and shadowy places, with your peace, your shelter, you as our dwelling place so present and so close.
For all of this and so much more we give you thanks and glory, O God. And we give you thanks for the gift of your Son, Jesus, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church