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    שׁוּב     SHUV       

I heard somebody use the Hebrew word “shuv” last week (pronounced “shoov”) and checking on its meaning I discovered that, outside the ancient religious context, it fits us all right now in our Covid days.  It means restoration of our best selves, return to community from exile, recovery from sickness, and revival, renaissance, rebirth…  Too bad it’s such a plain and small four-letter word, but it sure packs a lot of hope and expectation.  We are continuing to work for the future in our communities, finding hope in things to celebrate, finding ways to connect and benefit and restore. Shuv.

 Will you join me in the prayers of the people:  When you hear “God of restorative love,  please answer with, “Hear our prayers.”

We think of the whole big beautiful earth this morning, and how to make it well again. We promise to look at all the small things we do to uphold that principle and be mindful of the environmental harm we cause.  Help us revive our world.  Shuv.  God of restorative love…    “Hear our prayers.”

In our Regional Council Prayer Cycle, we think of the Fernie shared ministry and wish it finds hope and things to celebrate in these perplexing times.  In the world Council of Churches’ prayer cycle we pray for Canada; may our home and native land uphold its best self in kindness, compassion and justice.  In this prayer cycle we also fervently pray for The United States of America and its unfolding future; we remember our friends and family who live and work south of our border and send them thoughts of encouragement and love.  Help to heal us all.  Shuv.  God of restorative love…    “Hear our prayers.”

Today we remember in prayer our Bienestar people who work with folks in Guatemala, and our nearly family at the Nyandyadzi  Methodist church; we salute and send prayers to every corner of the world where people serve to educate, build, restore and heal, showing neighbourly love and concern.  Around the world, we say that love is love, and we stand for it, whatever sexuality; we resist the persecution of any love.  We stand against racism and endeavour to discern its elements, searching ourselves, looking for our best selves with your guidance.   Shuv.  God of restorative love…    “Hear our prayers.”

We are all even more affected by COVID 19 in the shorter darker days, and we pray for healing and restoration in our communities, bodies, minds, spirit.  We remember the words of Bonnie Henry which have focused on empathy and collective understanding more than restrictions and criticism.  Shuv.  We remember our own people named in our Prayer List, who are in need of comfort and prayers of love in their health and personal challenges and others we name silently or aloud…    …God of restorative love…    “Hear our prayers.”

And finally, in our prayers, we remember the promise of the twenty-third psalm:  The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, he makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.   Shuv.  

God of restorative love…    “Hear our prayers.”

And the People say: “AMEN!”

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