It is not so much about you is it, O God.
It is, at least, as much about us.
Our prayers that is.
And our praying.
Our remembering and our naming.
Our please and our thank you.
Those moments when our hearts break open a bit more.
When we pull others and the world just a bit closer.
Those times when we risk bearing the pain and struggles of another.
And, layer our gratitude on top of the gratitude of another until our hearts and theirs overflow.
And, so we pray, O God.
Sometimes with words.
Sometimes with sighs to deep for words.
Sometimes with our tears.
Sometimes stopped in our tracks by beauty and grace.
However we can or do,
In this moment, our prayers for the world entrusted now to our care and keeping.
Praying, too, that our lives follow where our prayers first lead.
Believing that to be true, O God, we remember.
We remember all who find themselves in need this day.
The people of Houston and Florida.
The people of the Caribbean and the Northwest.
The people of Mexico and Syrian and the refugees from Myanmar.
To say nothing of the needs that land so close to home.
A friend with cancer.
A colleague whose mother has died.
A neighbor who has lost his job.
Break open our hearts so that there might be room in our lives for their need and their sorrow and their hunger and their searching. We remember.
And, we remember those whose prayer this day is Thank you.
For the kindness of strangers and all who step forward to help.
For food enough and for a safe place to be.
For love expressed in the exchange of vows.
For water sprinkled on a tiny head.
Break open our hearts, O God, as we add our gratitude to theirs.
And, we remember Your presence with us.
Allowing you to mark our lives that we might find strength and hope.
Allowing you to mark our lives that we might be Your presence to others.|
We remember, O God.
Help me to look into the eyes
And to see the faces
Of those whose lives intersect mine today.
Catching a glimpse of the Holy
That I otherwise might miss in my haste.
Help me to pull into this passing moment
Those whom I love
In the sacredness of this moment.
Help me to remember
That each moment
Holds the potential for either good
Or tearing down.
May I chose wisely and well.
Help me be mindful of my own life.
Both fragile and strong.
Given to me this day as a gift.
That gratitude might weave its way through each moment.
Help me, O God.
I subscribe to a daily reflection/prayer written by the Rev. Steve Garness-Holmes.
If you are interested here is his website.
A couple days ago, he wrote this…
We don’t hide from the cries of the oppressed.
We dare to listen for God there.
We are not afraid of the world’s sorrows.
Their agonies are the seeds of our compassion.
We are not drawn into the violence of cowards.
We are fearless in our love.
We do not need the fortifications of the privileged.
We are unafraid to live in the world.
We are not intimidated.
We entrust ourselves to the Crucified and Risen One.
We are not discouraged on the road
That winds to justice and does not end short.
May it be so.
Call us out, O God.
From all those places where we hide from you and from each other.
Call us out from behind the walls be build
And, from the stereotypes to which we cling
And, from the assumptions and easy certainty
Which avoids the challenging questions which we face.
Call us out, O God.
Towards your promised Kingdom meant for us and for all.
And, as we turn towards You, we can dare to pray.
For all those who have been named in our midst this day.
And, for all those who find themselves in need of health or healing or hope or a reminder of your abiding presence in all the moments of life.
Lord, hear our prayer.
And, added to all those prayers, O God, our prayers of gratitude for the love which surrounds us and for the love which supports us. For the opportunities before us and the responsibilities entrusted to us. For this community of faith with its reminder of who we are and whose we are and who we are called to be.
Lord, hear our prayers.
And, as always, O God,
May our lives follow where our prayers first lead.
Last night I had the privilege of offering the Invocation at Antioch Baptist Church’s 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Banquet. The theme was Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future. Here is my Invocation:
We are a people used to praying. Aren’t we?
Praying in church.
Praying before a meal.
Praying when we get up in the morning and before we go to bed each night.
Our praying needs to be more.
Maybe it has always needed to be more and has been more.
But today it feels different.
These are unsettled days and unsettling times.
So, as we remember the work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and honor the past, let us pray like this so we can continue to bend that long arc of history in the direction of God’s Kingdom come and shape a future which we will be proud to hand to our children and grandchildren.
Let us pray not just with our words, but also with our hands.
Let us pray not just with what we say, but also with what we do.
Let us pray not just with what we intend, but with the witness of our lives.
Let us pray not just with what we dream, but also with our feet on the pavement.
Let us pray, not to implore God who already holds out before us that grand dream of God’s Kingdom come, but let us pray to remind ourselves and to remind each other of who we are and whose we are and, especially, who we are called to be. Let us pray not saying “Lord hear our prayer”, but pray so we might become agents of God’s prayer echoing and embodying the witness of the angels who so recently proclaimed “Peace on Earth. God’s good will to all.”
We are already blessed so I don’t need to ask for that again
For either this gathering or for our food.
Thank you, God, for this gathering.
For the witness and work of these people.
For the strength and hope and courage in this room.
May we be strength and hope and courage for others.