Today’s gathering is a celebration
Our expressions of hope and joy
as well as our concerns
are all part of that celebration.
For we know that true freedoms only exist
when all are free
(and not at the expense of someone else’s freedom).
As such, we lift up the prayers of this congregation:
[prayer cards read aloud]
And for those hopes and concerns
which leave us breathless and speechless,
we lift those up as well:
[pause for silent prayer]
We recognize that love is a commitment that is renewed daily.
It works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.
Open our eyes to the needs which cause a lack of freedom in others
So that we can know how to best love one another.
And devote our days to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
and care for the vulnerable
to work for justice
and rejoice in mercy.