Prayers of the People

April 21, 2013

When you hear the words, "We will not fear," please answer, "for you are with us."

Today, our creator, we celebrate the earth and all its moods, our soul-restoring home and legacy from you. Our souls are restored every sunrise with the sound of birds, every evening with stunning stars. Our respect for your power and creation comes with raging storms, high winds, lashing seas, earthquakes and live volcanoes. We are very small; you are huge, infinite, humbling, and awe-inspiring. And for some divine reason you created our race, so you must love us. We remind ourselves we are your stewards, to enjoy and maintain earth's air, waters, lands and species, and to use it wisely and gently. As tales of foolish, misguided poisoning, stripping and abuse of the earth abound, we know that we have inherited a conscience from you to restore and act as better stewards, and we also know that nature, through you, will find a way. We will not fear...    "for you are with us."

God who directs us to peace, the foolishness of the world makes us angry and sad—this week in Boston and Iraq—and we pray for the people who have lost loved ones in senseless violence. We think of the faraway peacekeepers and peacemakers and their families, and pray they are effective and safe. We support our Mission and Service workers abroad, and the Rotarians, a century old in BC this week, who dare to cross all borders to relieve suffering, bringing hope and opportunity. We think of Djibouti and Somalia in the World Council of Churches prayer cycle, and pray for our special Methodist friends in Zimbabwe. We will stand for peace, and against violence, far as the curse is found. We will not fear...    "for you are with us."

In our communities at home we think of the congregation and leaders of Jaffray United Church. We pray for our own leaders, politically and spiritually, as leadership choices are in the wind right now, and ask that you guide all of them to right-thinking and empathy with their people. We pray that you give them courage and conviction, and today in particular, let them consider our earth in their spheres of influence. We will not fear...    "for you are with us."

Comforting God, we remember today the bereaved families of well-known leaders such as Billy Graham and Margaret Thatcher, and singer Rita McNeil. In our church community, there are many who ache and suffer and feel loss, and we send our prayers and shawls to let them know they are not alone; we name all those on our Prayer List and others who we name silently or aloud...    ...Let them be one with us here as we say, We will not fear...    "for you are with us."

We are very small to be entrusted with the earth; you are huge and infinite, and yet you entrust it to us. Let us be worthy of your trust. And you created us, so you must love us. Let us be worthy of your love. Give us courage, give us hope. We will not fear...    "for you are with us."

And the people say...    "Amen"