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In the weeks ahead, we will be highlighting one of the many resources on the Fourth Church website that is
available to you for your personal reflection
and prayer life:
the collection of the Prayers of the People
offered during Sunday
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Scripture Reading: Romans 3:19–28
Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. (NRSV)
Almighty God, throughout the ages you have been the world’s refuge and strength. You have been our very present help. In the midst of every changing time and place, you have been with us and for us, reforming and recreating us.
We need so much to ground our hope in this knowledge, the knowledge that just as you created out of nothing the earth, the heavens, and seas, you are recreating the world out of what it is and what it has done. When we look around the world, God, we not only see the moon and the stars, the handiwork of your creation, but we also see the accidents and mistakes that we have committed, the consequences and damage with which we have to live.
Help us, God, not to avert our eyes from it. Let the world be witness. Help us to see not only what is already in plain view, but also what needs exposure. As we witness the peoples and politics in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Israel, as we behold the loss of lives in West Africa, as we see how power is won and wielded here and elsewhere, what can we do but pray to you? We know that our own and others’ best efforts can never be enough to make right the wrongs that have been committed. There are scars too deep on bodies and hearts, on your earth, to be removed. Therefore, we put our ultimate hope in you, almighty God. Only you see the world for all it can be.
Be for us all that we need and more. Where we lack wisdom, give us the long view. Where we suffer from a narrowness of vision, expand our spheres of concern. Where we see the false shape of things, give us truth that lies in the details. When we cannot see straight because we are overcome by fear, supply the moral courage we need. And do not let our commitments falter, almighty God, for in the end, when all is complete, we want to be by your side, as your steady and faithful servants.
In the end, we want to be wearing your seal, with your word impressed upon us and our bodies bearing the grooves of daily service.
For the sake of the world for whom your Son spent his life, we pray as he taught us: Our Father . . .
Offered as the Prayers of the People by Joyce Shin,
Associate Pastor for Congregational Life, on Sunday, October 26, 2014
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