Shepherding God, you want only goodness for your people. At the close of this liturgical year, a good look around makes it clear that your ways are not always human ways. If your ways were our ways, all would have safe housing, food and drink enough, proper care, and justice in all things. Too often, these basic needs are denied and people are left to wander far from your pastures. In a world of abundance, it is truly sinful that so many go without proper shelter, nutrition, and care. Show us how to change our ways lest we squander the blessings of this earth.
Steadfast and faithful God, have mercy on us. Grant to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation the Apostle Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus. We truly need the eyes of our hearts opened that we might see the hope you have for us, to experience the richness of your abundance, and the transforming power of life in you. There is so much more we could do with all that we have been given. Yet, we so often remain paralyzed by the overwhelming needs of the world around us. Sometimes, we even get lost in our own lives, forgetting that we have sisters and brothers who need us to reach out with compassion and grace. Let us breathe deeply your breath of life that we may awaken to the wideness of your mercy.
God of promise and grace, usher in your reign of peace. Forgive us when we walk by the hungry and homeless people on the streets without even noticing. We seldom offer drinks to those who are thirsty or welcome the stranger among us with open arms. When we hear of those in need of clothing and healthcare, we often turn away. Instead of visiting those who are prisoners, we prefer to tell ourselves that they deserve to be there. It is too easy for us to turn away from those whose needs are greater than our own even while you call us to care for those who are hungry, thirsty, lost, naked, sick, or in prison. The news of murder and acts of terrorism are so common they fail to move us to action. Ambivalence and apathy often replace action in our daily living. We long for peace in the world, in our country, in our cities, in our homes, and in our lives. Teach us to walk in the way of peace.
Joyful, loving God, let the winds of your Spirit blow through our lives as we prepare for a new year, a new opportunity to serve you with our whole hearts. While the world is full of dark and broken places, remind us that we have not always failed. We have shared moments of joy and transformation. We have sometimes touched the heart of another with compassion and love. We have returned to you in gratitude for all of our blessings and asking forgiveness for all the ways we have contributed to the broken places. You continue to claim us as your own beloved children and we are thankful. May the joy of this knowledge enter us more deeply, enabling us to love our neighbors and ourselves. Hear our prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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RCL – Year A – Reign of Christ Sunday – November 23, 2014
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 with Psalm 100 or
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 with Psalm 95:1-7a