God of wonder and mystery, you created humankind in your image and used your breath to give us life. Yet, we so often fail to recognize your face in the crowds. We live in a world of strangers where blame, anger, and shame seem more common than forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Many call your name. How many of us take time to be still long enough to hear you calling ours? Be with all those who are adrift and seeking a place of belonging. Forgive us when we fail to notice the lost and lonely among us. Teach us what it means to be made in your image that we may treat one another with more kindness.
You who wait for us in the darkest night and the brightest day, have patience with your people. We call you by different names and some think that is reason enough for hatred and fear. When we learn that you are a God of life and love? You cannot want violence or murder or terrorism justified by the use of your name, not when we all are stamped with your likeness. Hear our prayers for the people of France, Nigeria, Palestine, Israel, and every place in the world where religion is used to justify violence. Forgive us for all the times we’ve remained silent in the face of hatred and injustice. Guide our feet in the way of peace.
God of the close places and the far places, you know our thoughts and our actions and still call us by name. You are as close to us as our own breath. And so you are to every human being on this planet. You gift each of us with life and ask only that we love as we are so loved. So many people don’t know their own value and treat themselves and others with disrespect and worse. We pray for those whose bodies are a source of pain – physical, emotional, or spiritual. Forgive us for the times we have dismissed people whose stories we do not understand. Open our eyes that we may see you in all whom we meet.
Just and merciful God, shine your light on all the hidden places of fear and pain. We ought to know better by now. Race, ethnicity, country or origin should never give us an excuse for hatred or violence. All have equal claim on your blessings, your love. We all bear your image. Each of us is a temple of your Holy Spirit. When will begin to live that way? When will justice be the same for all your children? Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many others sacrificed their lives to end racial injustice and still it continues. Let us honor his dream with more than words. Hear our prayers for all those who have been killed, mistreated, or devalued because of the color of their skin. Black lives matter today. Forgive us when we sit silently by and let racism continue unchallenged. May we honor you by standing with all those who suffer at the hands of those with power.
Steadfast, loving God who never gives up on any of us, we thank you. We thank you for waiting for us to see you, to hear you calling in the night, to recognize that we are your beloved. Even when we reject your love, treat ourselves or others badly, you are still present. Hear our prayers of gratitude for all that you freely offer to each and every person. Hear our prayers for those who are lonely, grieving, or feeling unloved. Forgive us when we forget that nothing can separate us from you. May we begin to see your light shining in all human faces. In the name of the One who became human to show us your amazing love. Amen.
RCL – Year B – Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 18, 2015
1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Photo from Pixabay.com. Used with permission.