August 26, 2007

Prayers of the People

John H. Boyle, Parish Associate

God of wisdom, power, and compassion, we may not know enough to be in awe of you, because we are at times so enamored of what we know or think we know. But when in the course of human events we are reminded of how fragile our existence is in the midst of the formidable forces at work in the world and in our lives and over which we have little or no control, we begin to realize that your wisdom knows more than our knowledge, your power is the source of whatever power we have, and your compassion extends far beyond the bounds of our own. And in the light of that realization, O God, we bow in awe and wonder, in spite of ourselves.

We are grateful, dear God, for your gracious love that enables us to be free to be honest with you and with ourselves and makes it possible for us to love ourselves and others when we might otherwise be inclined to loathe ourselves and to despise others.

When we recoil from your call to service and to speak up for your word of judgment and hope because we deem ourselves unworthy or unable, remind us that you will be with us, transforming our meagerness into the much that is needed and being called for.

When we find ourselves and others bent over beneath life’s crushing load of sickness, sorrow, pain, loneliness, oppression, poverty, and fear and unable to stand up straight because of it all and clamoring to be freed of misery, help them and us to know and experience the wholeness that comes by your forgiving grace and to hear the still, small voice of the one who promised never to leave us alone, speaking once more through earthquake, wind, fire, and flood that reassuring word of promise and hope.

And when, dear Lord, we stumble upon some alien way of thinking and find ourselves in an unfamiliar forest of strange ideas, help us to overcome our fear long enough to linger, even to wander about, and to be open to the new insights and understandings you may be revealing to us at such a moment. Turn over the rocks of our rigid and calcified thinking, and let the light of your truth scatter the vermin of prejudice, bigotry, and hatred that may be hidden underneath without our knowing it.

Loving God, in the midst of the chaos in the world and at the mercy of the randomness of nature’s fury, when it is easy for us to be caught up in the horrible things that happen daily, as dogs and trees and people are destroyed without thought or mercy, help us not to be unaware of or to overlook the wonderful things you are doing through us and others as individuals and through your church and this nation to bring healing and hope to those who hurt and especially to those whose suffering includes the pain of being forgotten.

Lord, thank you, and hear us now reaffirm our commitment to your truth and love, as we pray together with the words of Christ, the Healer, saying,

Our Father . . .