Prayers of the People | March 10, 2002

John H. Boyle, Parish Associate

God of all goodness, we praise you for those good things you give us to enrich us: for life and breath, for food and drink, for clothing and shelter, for friends and loved ones, and for work which even when it is hum-drum and tedious is nevertheless meaningful when it contributes to the witness of your love and grace in the world.

We are grateful, O God, that you make demands upon us that challenge the best in us to come forth, and that you make allowances for us because you know how we were made, and you remember that we are dust. Keep us from allowing our self-absorption to cause us to pass by on the other side of human need, our willfulness to keep us from being obedient to your will, and our indifference that results in our standing idly by while the millstone of injustice grinds people into the ground.

Teach us, we pray, to discern when we need to be comforted, and when it is important for us to be challenged. Help us to know the difference between self-indulgence and self-care, lest we coddle ourselves by expecting too much comfort or think ourselves so mighty that we don’t need any.

Gracious God, as we remember once more the events in the last days of our Lord’s earthly ministry, guide us by your Spirit into a greater awareness of your call to us to make a difference in the world where we are sometimes complicit in contributing to its ills and to the forces of terror and destruction that are rampant in it. And help us as a nation to use our power not for coercing others to serve us, but for making inroads against poverty, disease, and hunger around the world, to foster education and development among those whom the world exploits and then discards.

Let your healing mercy be upon all who struggle with difficult issues of health, especially upon those whose condition has chained them to the threat of death. And to those whose hearts are heavy with sorrow, grant the consolation of your presence, together with the assurance that however excruciating the pain of their heartbreak it does not have in it the power to overcome or to separate them from your love and care.

We pray for your church the world over, O God. Bless her with strength and courage and faithfulness. Help us to know that if the church is in danger, that is where Christ means it to be, that it is only when it seems safe we need begin to fear, that though it be in danger, it is not doomed, and that it lives not because of what we are, but because of who he is, Christ in the midst.

Loving God, your faithfulness is never failing and your steadfast love is never changing. Yet we live amidst change and transition in our lives, and there is often a bittersweetness that accompanies these experiences. Help us to embrace that bittersweetness, to weep the tears we have to weep over what we lose, and to celebrate the joy of entering into the new thing you are always doing, if we have eyes to see it and faith to dare the venture.