Prayers of the People: July 1

Published on Jul 2nd, 2018 by Member of Congregation | 0

During the prayers, when I say:  “Spirit of Celebration,” please respond with “be among us.” 

Let us pray: On this special day, we celebrate and we remember. We are proud and we are ashamed. And we are grateful. As we gather later today at Lakeside Park for Canada Day celebrations, enjoying music, games and conversation – and hopefully warm sunshine – or wherever and however we celebrate this day, we think about our country, and the stories and the people who have gone before us and those who are present now. We are proud of Canada’s reputation for compassion and openness, and we commit to making that a continuing and true reality. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we pray to do better at finding the fair balance between our abundance and the needs of many, both inside Canada and outside our borders.

We also know our country is overlaid on injustice – the theft of land and culture, and the violence of colonialism – which still continues in different forms. We pray that our regret will lead us to greater understanding and positive action, and we are grateful that we can make our way forward in a peaceful manner and not through war.

And as we gather here, we celebrate the blessing of Nelson United Church – this physical space; the energy, music, laughter and love that fills it; and the community that sustains it. The community of faith that IS our church and that reaches out its hands of love beyond these walls. We know the United Church of Canada also made errors in the past, and we celebrate that these have been acknowledged and efforts to make amends, to build new relationships with First Nations particularly, are ongoing. We pray for the joy and courage to continue God’s work of reconciliation and celebration. Spirit of Celebration…   “be among us.” 

We pray that the compassion we feel for others, we also feel for ourselves. That we long for the best for others, as we would want the best for ourselves. We pray for Kim Matson, member of Planning and Visioning Team and Youth Co-ordinator for Kootenay Presbytery. We pray for the countries and people of Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. May they be supported in their quests for a peaceful and vibrant future.

We remember and pray for peacemakers and peacekeepers, and all those who serve throughout the world through various organizations. We pray for their loved ones who await their safe return. We pray for our friends, our brothers and sisters, at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. May reasons for celebration grow for them and their country. And closer, we pray for those on our prayer list, and for the people who care for them…    …and we pray for those in our hearts, their names are spoken aloud or silently…   Spirit of Celebration…   “be among us.”

Divine Spirit, we offer our thanks and feel gratitude for many things. For the beautiful, spacious land that we live in. For our community of Nelson. For Nelson United Church, the community of people here. We are grateful for the work we have to do, and for the joy we find through serving others, rather than ourselves.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers this image:

“The Dead Sea…receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, but the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. And we are made much that way too. I mean, we receive and we must give. In the end, generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.”

On this day of celebration and remembrance, we ask for blessings on our country and on our faith community. We pray for generosity and compassion to abound, in our hearts and all around.

And together we say… “AMEN!”

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