February 14, 2021
The 150th Anniversary of Fourth Presbyterian Church
by John M. Buchanan, Pastor Emeritus
Good and gracious God, Lord of the church, Lord of all, our hearts are full of gratitude this morning for your generous unconditional love. We thank you for the whole glorious creation, for space expanding into infinity, for stars and planets, sun and moon and the earth, our home. We thank you for the gift of life and its amazing diversity and variety and for the gift of our own lives and the lives of our dear ones.
And, gracious God, we thank you this day for your church, your holy catholic church throughout the ages and throughout the world. For the Presbyterian Church (USA) and, on this day, for this church, this Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. We are grateful for the faith and the vision of the women and men and children 150 years ago who, in response to your call, gathered and became a new Presbyterian church in the city.
We thank you for wise leaders who guided over the years in all seasons, through times of warfare and oppression and civic unrest and uncertainty; who talked and prayed together and grieved and hoped together; and, relying on you and on one another, made decisions that are reflected in our being here together today.
Dear God, we thank you for all the children who were baptized here and who learn about your Son, Jesus, here; all who were confirmed over the years; all of them who first confessed their faith here. We thank you for all the marriages that began here in joyful weddings; all the friendships that were started here; all the comforting and meaningful memorial services.
We thank you for all who went out into the world from this place to serve you and their fellow human beings, and we thank you for this church’s big heart, welcoming all through its portals, going out into the city and the world, providing food and clothing and shelter and emotional support and tutoring, always advocating for justice and equal opportunity for all your children.
We pray, dear God, for this church in the days ahead. Renew its strength to its commitment to its neighbors in the city, the world. Give its leaders imagination to envision new ministries and new ways of doing things in a new world after pandemic. Give them courage and renew their faith in you and their love for one another.
Gracious God, we cannot pray today without asking for your healing and comforting presence for all those in hospitals and intensive care units, battling COVID-19. We pray for caregivers and for all those essential workers who risk health and life itself to serve others.
We pray for our new president, Joseph Biden, and for Vice President Kamala Harris, and for their administration. May they lead with integrity, wisdom, justice, compassion, and courage.
And, dear God, we pray for our dear ones and for ourselves. Give us all patience, hope, and trust in your unfailing love. We offer this prayer and the prayers that remain unspoken in our hearts in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and hear us now as we pray the prayer he taught: Our Father...
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church