If you are preparing a sermon this week, you might want to look at the reflections I shared here. Otherwise, here is my prayer based on this week’s texts:
God of all creation,
You knew the Prophet Jeremiah before he was born
and set him aside to speak your word to a people in need.
He doubted your choice to make him a prophet,
maybe even after your touch put words in his mouth.
You gave him such power.
He could destroy or build with his words that were truly yours.
Forgive me when I am filled with more doubt than Jeremiah ever was.
Forgive me when I don’t want to speak your words at all.
Perhaps even more so, forgive the times when I fail to see, acknowledge, or wield the power that comes with being a prophet, even a small one.
Touch my mouth once again, Holy God, to lessen the doubt that silences your voice.
God who is unfathomable love,
You inspired Paul to call a community into embodying you.
He articulated your vision for your people so clearly.
I’m not sure that I pay enough attention to these words that are so familiar.
The love Paul describes is not the warm, comfortable kind that I want it to be.
Your love is more.
Your love asks me, calls me to be more.
Your love challenges me to let go of arbitrary distinctions and quick judgments
until I am able to see you in every face.
Forgive my desire to tame the wildness of your Spirit and limit you to my understanding.
Touch my heart once again, Holy God, to dampen the fear that limits your love.
You risked human fragility to show us the way of peace.
You revealed yourself in the presence of those who knew you from boyhood.
They turned from you.
How like them I can be!
I’ve known you for many years, or I think I have.
But when you show me something new or call me out of my comfort,
I respond with disbelief if not outright anger.
I don’t want to see my face in the crowd that eagerly wanted to throw you off a cliff,
but I’m there more often than I want to admit.
Touch my feet once again, Holy God, to alleviate the reluctance that keeps me from readily following you.
God of steadfast love and incredible patience,
hear my words as I pray with the Psalmist,
“In your righteousness deliver and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.”
These words have power even when I forget them.
These words can anchor me on the days when the cries and the needs and the despair of your people overwhelm me.
Forgive my moments of forgetfulness.
Touch my hands once again, Holy God, to lighten the burdens that prevent me from carrying hope out into the world.
Hear my prayers and the prayers of all in Christ’s name. Amen.
RCL – Year C – Fourth Sunday – January 31, 2016
1 Corinthians 13:1-13