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Emerging Church Poetry Prayer Romans

Barefoot on Holy Ground

This week is a vacation week for me, but I’ve been thinking over this week’s scriptures because they are among my favorites. As a result, I offer this prayer based on Romans 9:12-21 with a nod to the Exodus passage.

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Wash us all with your love, Holy One, that our love may be genuine

            Teach us to hate all that mars the beauty of your creation

                        greed, pettiness, violence, entitlement, war, oppression, self-righteousness

                        the list goes on and we know it as well as You do if we stop to pay attention

            Remind us that all our neighbors carry Your image     

                        never should it matter where they come from

                        or by what name they know You

May our love be genuine

 

Stir in us Your Holy Spirit, that our zeal may never lag

            Call us to serve You fully, making all our ground holy

                        hope that comes from You will enable us to endure all things

                        even as we open our doors to strangers, offer sanctuary in Your name

            Guide us to a day when hospitality is the only way we greet one another

                        without worry or fear, judgment or disrespect

                        for in the other we will see the One

May our zeal never lag

 

Create clean hearts in us, O God, that we may be overcome by good

            Show us how to be the Body of Christ that is needed right now

                        letting go of yesterday’s vision, opening to today’s needs

                        seeking wisdom, patience, courage and acceptance

            Save us from our the limits of our selves and free us to find the abundance of You

                        may our actions match our prayers for all to live in peace

                        with food, drink, and safety for all of creation

May we be overcome by good.

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RCL – Year A – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – August 31, 2014
Exodus 3:1-15 with Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c or
Jeremiah 15:15-21 with Psalm 26:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

 

Categories
Emerging Church Musings Romans

A Bit of Hope and Comfort

Because I work in a psychiatric hospital I am frequently asked, “Why did God do this to me?” Similarly, many patients will say, “God hates me!” They ask this question or believe that God hates them because they have mental illness and they often experience rejection in churches and other faith communities. They live under the stigma of major mental illness and struggle to make sense out of their own suffering.

This week’s passage in Romans is one that I often share with a patient who is questioning God’s benevolence. The opening verses give me hope. When I sit with someone who has committed a horrible crime as a result of psychosis or delusions, I try to remember that the words of my prayers do not have to be perfect. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

The next verse is one that I find very helpful in talking with individuals who believe that trauma or tragedy is something that God has done to them. The idea that all things work together for good for those who love God allows me to gently challenge the idea that God makes bad things happen. I can honestly say to the person who is suffering with PTSD related to childhood trauma that God did not make the abuse happen. Just the opposite. Things happen in this world that God did not and would not choose. Human beings daily make choices that God really wishes we would not. As a result of some of those choices, innocent people get terribly hurt. However, with God something good can come out of even the worst tragedy. So keep fighting for health and recovery and you may be surprised at what good God can bring about.

Similarly, a person overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or shame who believes that God hates them or has condemned them to suffering, needs to hear words of hope. How much more hopeful than to hear that only Christ is in a position to condemn anyone and condemnation is not what happens. Instead, Christ intercedes for us and we are forgiven because nothing separates us from from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing can remove Christ’s love from us. Nothing, not even mental illness. The news doesn’t get better than this for those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit.

In other words, the news doesn’t get better than this for any of us. So when we are overwhelmed with life and the events in the world, our prayers do not have to be perfect; the Holy Spirit will intercede for us with sighs too deep for words. This includes our prayers for Palestine and Israel, Ukraine, immigrant children, our loved ones stricken with illness… anything we cannot articulate well. God knows our hearts and will hear our prayers. So, too, when we are faced with tragedy, trauma, and despair. God does not make these things happen, but with God something good will come from the pain. This doesn’t make everything all right, but it does give hope for the future. And reminds us that when all is said and done, there is nothing than can remove Christ’s love from us.2013-06-19 22.33.00

Now what are we going to do to honor this love that we have been so freely given?

RCL – Year A – Seventh Sunday after Pentecost – July 27, 2014
Genesis 29:15-28 with Psalm 105:1-11, 45b  or
1 Kings 3:5-12 with Psalm 128 or Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52     

Categories
Emerging Church Psalms Romans

Bidding Prayer for Hope

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Come, let us pray for the church in all its variations throughout the world.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
God of all times and places, reveal your presence in and among us. Your people yearn to proclaim your presence with Jacob’s surety. Too much distracts us from your grace and mercy and often we mistake our ways for the way everlasting. We think we can tell wheat from weeds and are quick to condemn those who think differently. Give us hearts of compassion, understanding, and grace that we might learn to celebrate diversity rather than fear it. Let the day come when we all stand together in your presence, shining like the sun.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us pray for the United Church of Christ, here and elsewhere.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
From the wings of the morning to the farthest limits of the sea, you are with us, O God. We cannot hide from you or escape your presence. May this be a comfort to us in these times of change and transition. Let us not cling to unnecessary things or become slaves to fear. May we be open to all the possibilities you set before us as the body of Christ. Be with those you have called to lead us, especially Geoffrey Black our minister and president. Make your presence known throughout the United Church of Christ, sowing seeds of courageous faith and radical hope.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us pray for all people throughout the world.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
Creator God, we hear the groaning of creation and wonder what can be done. War and violence erupt daily. Storms grow in intensity. People are in need of food, shelter, and care. We would turn away from other people’s troubles if it were not for you. You would have us walk in the way of peace, sowing seeds of hope and promise. In the midst of heartbreak over all that we have done and all that we have left undone, we ask that your hope be made real in us and through us. Remind us that you know the thoughts and hearts of all people as well you know each one of us.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us pray for this nation and those in leadership.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
God of wisdom and welcome, you are indeed in this place, but we are a long way from the gateway to heaven. We are a nation divided by ideologies and economics and kept that way by those who trade in fear. Make us mindful of your commandment to love one another as you love. Hear our prayers for Barak Obama and all others in positions of power. Shape us into a nation where fear, violence, and hatred have no place.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us pray for all who are in need of healing.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
God of the brightest day and the darkest night, enter into to the dark, painful, lonely, broken places and bring light. Hear our prayers for those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit. Be to them a source of hope and healing. You have called us together to be your body here and now; may we be agents of compassion, offering sanctuary to those in need.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us pray for all those who grieve.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
You walk behind us and before us, O God. Your presence comforts and reassures us. We ask that you would lay your hand on all those who are grieving. May those who sit in the deepest darkness of a sudden loss – murder, suicide, accident, or illness – find hope in your light. Show us how to bear the burdens of our sisters and brothers who struggle under the weight of their losses, letting no one suffer alone.
We trust in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation.

Come, let us give thanks to God for all of our blessings.
People are invited to share their prayers silently or quietly
Steadfast and gracious God, words fail to express our gratitude for grace you have given to us. Your mercy and forgiveness is unbelievable for many of us. Yet, you are our hope now and for all things to come. In our gratitude we share Jacob’s amazement at your presence in this place. Grant us the courage to shine with your righteousness, honoring and serving you in all that we say and do.
We pray in Christ’s name, trusting in God’s mercy and grace;
Our hope is in Christ, who is our salvation. Amen.

RCL – Year A – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost – July 20, 2014
Genesis 28:10-19a with
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 or
Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or
Isaiah 44:6-8 with
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43