June 17, 2007

Prayers of the People

John H. Boyle, Parish Associate

Eternal God, whom we often call Father, sometimes call Mother, but would always call Redeemer and Friend, as your mercies rise new each morning to greet us, we give you thanks for the blessings you have bestowed upon us in the past: for the friendships we have formed, for the love of those most dear to us, and for the glimpses of your grace and intimations of hope in our lives. We are grateful for moments of joy and bliss that from time to time interrupt the cycles of sadness that dot our lives with a frequency that often takes our breath away.

As we go about the business–as–usual routines of our lives, our faces masked either by indifference or by polite pleasantness, we sense deep within us an anxious awareness that what we really worry and wonder about is whether something will happen that will blow us apart but might also bring us together. Reassure us, we pray, that come what may, your presence with us and your love for us and for all people everywhere will remain steadfast and sure.

Let the canopy of your comfort and consolation hover over all whose lives have been shattered and the balm of your healing mercy be upon all whose bodies and spirits have been overtaken by sickness and sorrow. Grant that at least some semblance of peace may yet come to pass in troubled areas of the world rent by the death and destruction of war and that at last we shall realize the futility of revenge and retribution as the way to resolve disputes both personal and international. Watch over and protect all who are endangered by hatred and violence, and bank the fires of human rage that can so easily become acts of terror.

Lord, it all looks so good on paper and sounds so right to our ears, this business of loving others as you do. But we know, and we believe you must know, that it is no easy thing you call us to do. In a world so conditioned to take not only an eye for an eye but the whole of someone else’s head if we can, it is no easy thing for us to feel or act kindly toward those who offend and hurt us. By your Spirit, strengthen us to at least be willing to try to rise above our baser instincts, that we might tread the more excellent way and show your great love.

We pray in the name of the one who long ago took the blow and gave the gift of your amazing grace and forgiving love, and with his words, saying,

Our Father . . .