October 12, 2008

Prayers of the People

John H. Boyle, Parish Associate

Eternal God, in these troubled times, when anxiety runs high and frustration runs deep, in the face of political vitriol and an economy writhing in disarray, we are grateful for reminders of your presence with us, your love for us, and your grace toward us. However tentative it may be on our part, our connection to you links us with and anchors us to that which is eternal, even as we try to relate responsibly to that which is temporal.

We are tempted, when frightened, to be panicked not only into impulsive and intemperate actions, but also into believing that you have failed us, when in fact it is our gods who have failed us or we have failed ourselves. For you warned us through your word that when we dance around and otherwise worship the golden calf of money and wealth, we engage in the idolatry of that which is ultimately fleeting and, in doing so, court disaster. Quiet our hearts, make sober our minds, and strengthen our trust in your goodness and grace.

When, O God, you challenge us to address the urgent needs of others, as you always do, help us not to try to avoid responsibility by claiming a poverty of resources. Strengthen us to be courageous and daring enough to offer what we have so that our own scarcity may become the abundance out of which some, if not all, need may be met and to leave to you the results. So may we look to care for those about whom others couldn’t care less and to serve those about whom others can’t be bothered.

Gracious and loving God, look with healing compassion, we pray, upon all who are oppressed by illness and injury, uncertainty and foreboding. Grant to them sleep that refreshes, nourishment that renews, patience that fosters hope, merciful moderation of pain, and the awareness of your caring presence, reassuring them they are not alone.

And teach us all, dear Lord, when we think that we do not have enough of this, that, or the other, to be more grateful for what we have than fearful about what we don’t, and more appreciative of what we have left than embittered over what we have lost. So may we be good stewards, custodians, managers, and ministers of our resources, using them as much as possible, whenever and wherever possible, to contribute to the welfare of those whose material possessions are meager, whose hunger threatens their survival, and whose thirst endangers their existence.

Into the midst of both the fear and the fascination that form the awe with which we watch unfolding events over which we have little or no control,

      Drop thy still dews of quietness,
      till all our strivings cease;
      take from our souls the strain and stress,
      and let our ordered lives confess
      the beauty of thy peace.


We pray in the name of the one who is our peace, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and with the words he taught his disciples:

Our Father . . .