Prayers of the People: September 30

Published on Sep 30th, 2018 by Member of Congregation | 0

During the prayers, when I say:  “God of our centre” please respond with “hold us in loving peace.”   Let us pray…

Sacred Spirit, bring your loving grace to us in these days, these years, when we are so challenged. Challenged to not give into easy anger, to not believe that what we think is always true, to not demonize those who differ with us, to not accept glib and simplistic truths. 

Loving One, the people of your world seem to be slipping back, toward the era of the Cold War. Divisions among us are deepening in many places. From the United Nations to our communities, we increasingly are steered to see the world in black-and-white, bad and good, us and them, the insider and the outsider. 

What then does it mean to be a disciple, to reject and heal this worldview of dividedness? Disciples live on the margins, on the cracks and edges, where there are pain and discord. It’s not an easy place to be and to work, not easy to act from compassion, empathy and clarity. Disciples are often scorned from all sides, often threatened and demeaned.  And yet we need disciples, we need to be them. As we confront fear and anxiety about immigrants, climate change, Donald Trump, the economy and disappearing jobs – we need to feel the god-centre in us and everywhere, connecting us to everyone and everything else. Perhaps that is what the whirling Sufi dancer feels. God of our centre…     “hold us in loving peace.”

Disciples need time to rest and to pray, and so we take time to do that. We offer prayers of thanks for the beautiful sunny days that have illuminated the changing colours of the land around us, startling us with scarlets, ambers and apricots. And on the grey days, like today, those colours illuminate our lives. We pray for our community as we move through the municipal election campaign. May we seek thoughtful, forward-looking and compassionate leaders for our beloved city. And we give thanks to those who have stepped forward to run.

We pray for Rev. Jack Lindquist, retired, but preaching regularly in Jaffray, and we pray for the members and adherents of Jaffray United Church. In the World Council of Churches Prayer Cycle, we pray for Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela. May they be guided by love on their paths to peace, and may they be allowed to determine their own destinies, despite foreign interests that covet their oil and other resources. 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 change in their government bring justice and peace.

And I would like to add a prayer for the women who gathered in this sanctuary, and downstairs, Wednesday evening, and whose gathering was fraught with fear and anger, mistrust and hardened hearts. May calm and loving voices prevail now and gather the women in peace once more.

And as is our custom, 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 spoken, aloud or silently…     … God of our centre…     “hold us in loving peace.”

As disciples, we stand against the darkness that comes in through the cracks in our humanity, in our interconnectedness. Instead, we stand for the light of understanding and of grateful gentleness. As disciples, we don’t sit back in our easy chairs and watch the world go by, thinking everything will be fine. There are battles to be fought, injustices to be conquered. That work must be done with a feeling of discipleship, of being love-driven and God-guided. 

Divine Spirit, help us to deeply see the beauty of the changing seasons, the life and the death therein, and help us to let that change give us confidence to accept and even welcome change in our lives and in our community.

We pray to be centred, anchored, held in love, remembering God’s presence. We pray to be strong enough to stay in that place, to speak out with respect and with integrity. To feel the joy of the great gift of life that we are given. God of our centre…     “hold us in loving peace.”

And together we say…    “AMEN!”

 

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