Shepherding God, my desire is to follow you to those green pastures and still waters. I want to rest in you. Yet, rest is rare in these days of crisis, and stillness if fraught with exhaustion. Caring for your people, and finding the right path through this deep valley weighs heavily on my spirit. I often forget that you are with me and that it is your ways that I seek. Awaken me once again to your presence that I may live in your pastures even now.
Restoring and renewing God, you know my heart even before I do. You know the fears I will not give voice to, and you know the dreams I hardly dare to acknowledge. May the whispers of your spirit bring a new assurance and restore peace to my soul. With every budding flower and every soaring hawk, I am reminded that you are at work restoring Creation. Yours is always a promise of new life. Grant me the courage to trust that promise.
Ever-present God, it isn’t evil that fear, exactly. It is the anger, the despair that drives some people to aggression or selfishness. I fear the ignorance propagated by inadequate public leadership. I fear the desperation that grows in so many of my neighbors. I fear the frailty of this body of mine. Enter into these fears, God of life, and renew a right spirit within me.
Comforting God, you are present even now amid COVID-19. While faith will not protect me or anyone else from this virus, your Love can guide humanity if we let it. We can show up for our neighbors who have lost loved ones, employment, hope. We can share resources and not hoard them for ourselves. We can find hope for this world, for humanity, for a future unlike our past. If we rely on your Love, it becomes possible to address the brokenness highlighted by this crisis. Guide us all onto the path that will end all fear of the “other” and heal divisions we have created.
Merciful and healing God, I am at a loss for words when it comes to the suffering of so many. It is hard to believe that healing will come. It is hard to believe that the whole world won’t sink into despair that is impossible to rise out of. Yet, you promise all who seek you will find goodness and mercy. May this be true for those who are grieving… for those who struggle with symptoms of mental illness… for those who have no hope… for those who believe the lies of the politicians… for the politicians themselves… Guide us all to the cup that overflows.
God of life and Love, you have opened the gate of possibility for us all. We can give in to fear or we can choose Love. Forgive me for the moments when Love seems impossible and wholeness seems elusive. You are the gate to new life, to abundant life. Abundance of joy and Love and forgiveness and mercy and so much more are possible even in this time. Fill me with gratitude for all that I have and enable me to pass through your gate to live a life of generosity and grace.
In gratitude and hope, I pray. Be with all who struggle to live in hope and Love. Be with all who risk their lives for the sake of others. Be with all who are surrounded by death. May every human being experience the wonders of your Love and the life of abundance you freely offer. Awaken the hearts and minds of every dreamer and visionary to speed the day of hope and healing for all people. In the meantime, teach me anew what it means to trust in you – in your presence, in your Love, in your grace, in your mercy, in your forgiveness that I may share your abundance with all whom I meet. In the name of the One who came to teach us how to Love one another, Amen.
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RCL – Year A – Fourth Sunday of Easter – May 3, 2020
1 Peter 2:19-25