Let us quiet our hearts and minds as we join in prayer. During the prayer when I say, God of the Cross, please respond with….walk with us
Let us pray,
Loving Spirit, in these days, some days, it’s hard to remember that we are lucky beyond belief to live in this beautiful valley of clean air and water, of blue skies (sometimes), of fertile valleys and comforting green mountains. And we are lucky to be part of strong communities, here at Nelson United and in the broader community of Nelson. Still, some days, we yearn to be somewhere else. Many of us feel anxious or stressed, lonely or depressed.
We struggle with the uncertainty of it all. We are used to thinking we are secure in the world, cared for by our society and our land, and by God’s presence. But now we feel insecure as we live through this deeply-felt and prolonged time of the pandemic.
We feel this locally – when one day we have the Breath of Spring, the next a Blanket of Snow. What season is this anyway? This is not the way we have come to know and rely on our seasons. And we feel the global uncertainty – how or when will this pandemic loosen its grip on us? How high will the price be? How much sadness must we face?
We often feel burdened, as if we are shouldering a cross we’ve been forced to bear into a dark and fearsome unknown. No-one knows the answers to our questions, no-one knows where we are journeying. And then, Loving One, you offer us a different understanding – a new way to see the cross.
As a cross that can be borne with lightness and grace, with humility and, yes, suffering, as we live fully our lives. As a cross that is empty, that emanates potential and speaks to us of hope and life. As a cross that centers us, with the vertical bar leading us up into awe and wonder, while at the same time rooting us downward, grounding us in this world. And the horizontal bar embraces us with compassion.
Knowing this, we are able to make our burden lighter, our journey – with whatever cross is ours – easier and more meaningful. And we journey together, holding each other up and celebrating each step. God of the cross… walk with us.
And as we walk, we do so with others in the world, many who are not so fortunate as to live where we do. We pray for our Bienestar partners involved in our outreach project in Guatemala, and we pray for our brothers & sisters at Nyandyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. May the cross shed a beam of light over them. We pray for peacemakers and peacekeepers who serve throughout the world. We pray the organizations that make their work possible will be generously supported by donors and governments so they have the resources they need to respond. We pray for all people affected by COVID-19, directly or indirectly, in body, mind or spirit. We pray for patience and strength as we walk this pandemic journey.
We pray for people persecuted in many countries, whether because of their gender expression or sexual orientation, or because of their ethnic or religious background, or simply because of their opinions and words. And we pray for the future of our environment. May we always act to protect and respect this gift of creation, so precious and so endangered. In the World Council of Churches prayer cycle, we pray for Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. May they lift their crosses high in the pursuit of justice for all. And in the Pacific Mountain Regional Council Prayer Cycle, we offer prayers for Squamish United Church, St. Aidan’s United Church in Victoria, St. Andrew’s Larger Parish in Nanaimo, and St. Andrew’s United Church in Burton. May their work be guided by the cross, and may they be comforted by it. God of the cross… walk with us.
Close to home, we send prayers for all those named in our Prayer List and in this quiet moment, we offer prayers for those whose concerns are close to our hearts… …And so, God of the Cross of hope, courage, and possibility, we pray that we feel your Spirit with us as we make our own journeys, seeking to serve meaningfully at this time and in this world.
We offer these prayers in the name of Jesus, our teacher and our friend.
And we say together… “Amen!”