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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 morning worship.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Scripture Reading: John 14:1–14
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” (NRSV)

Almighty and gracious God, down through the ages, you have been our refuge and our strength—and to this day you remain a very present help in times of trouble. As witnesses to your steadfast love and faithfulness, as recipients of this inheritance of grace, keep us certain in the knowledge of your presence among us, for we confess that we are often overwhelmed by the world that we face. It is a world of rapid change, where it is difficult to find any certain foundation upon which to build our lives.

Though we live in an age where we feel called to celebrate our common humanity, we find that we are still divided, nation against nation, neighbor against neighbor—shut off from each other on account of differences in race and creed, gender and sexual orientation, class and culture.

In spite of all the ways that we have labored to find ways to master your creation and to secure ourselves by our power, we find that we have twisted the good world that you have given to our care.

We surround ourselves with the latest technologies and lose ourselves in online networks, all the while desperate for a kind word from a stranger or the loving touch of a close friend.

We obediently pursue our quotidian lives, not stopping to see how our economies exploit the world and make slaves of our sisters and brothers.

We seek blind comfort in our daily pleasures, even as our ways of living slowly make this green earth a desolation.

And we madly scramble to improve ourselves and to find practices of being inwardly attentive, all the while doing our best to ignore the urgent and painful need of the poor and neglected sitting on street corners just down the road, the wounded who suffer from violence in our cities, and the disappeared innocents who suffer the predations of paramilitaries or human traffickers in this country and abroad.

In the midst of all of this, O God of creation, make us open to change and unafraid of the future—though the waters around us should roar and foam, though the mountains should tremble in tumult. Give us the assurance that you are with us.

Even as you have established us as a bulwark against the world in the past, make of us now a great river whose streams might make glad this city of God. Help us in these days ahead to become ever more a faithful people, willing to set aside what we have been, willing to step forth from this place, so that we can be the people you call us to be: a community that gives life to this city; whose work proclaims to this city that, truly, God is in its midst and that God, and God’s people, shall not be moved.

Help us to show that, in us, God will continue to reach out to welcome and to serve this city and the world beyond.

Make us bold to proclaim a message of your justice and love to all who come near this place, and in the days ahead, make of us a mighty instrument of the peace that only your son Jesus, the Christ, can grant—a peace that will make all wars to cease, that will shatter all the weapons we use to hurt and kill, a great peace that demands us to be still and know that you are God.

We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who assured us all that we have a dwelling place in you, who welcomed us home by your grace. And now we join our voices to say the prayer he taught: Our Father . . .

Offered as the Prayers of the People by Hardy H. Kim,
Associate Pastor for Evangelism,
on Sunday, May 18, 2014

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