Category Archives: Inclusion

January 31, 2016–Breaking the barriers

Gracious God,

Surely you have a wry sense of humor!
50 degree weather in Chicago in January…
Talk about breaking barriers
and disrupting false notions of the boundaries we hold!

And we do hold them tightly, don’t we?
Some subconsciously;
Some quite consciously.
Often out of nostalgia.

Whether it be documented or undocumented;
Black or White;
orthodox or heretic;
rich or poor;
Ohio State or Michigan…

We love our boundaries!

But this weekend you remind us,
even in something as simple as surprisingly warm weather,
of the joy of boundaries broken.

And our prayer time functions to remind us further that boundaries are fluid–
sacred/profane
human/divine
public/private…

And our act of lifting our prayers up to you
disrupts the notion of a separation of me/you… of I/Thou.

We hold these prayers up together, collectively,
as OURS–shared in a radical act of hospitality.
We shoulder each other’s joys and concerns.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge that even in our most hospitable moments
some things feel too heavy a burden to share,
or too private a thought to voice aloud.
To these we trust in your unfailing ability to hear us in our silence.

[pause for silent prayer]

We trust you to hear us in our silence!

The same trust helps us see your love, renewed each morning.
We trust that you are working for good in the world.

Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.

Help us to devote ourselves to the traditions of Jesus–who broke barriers;
cared for those in need;
reached out to the disenfranchised;
who taught us to see each other.

Teach us how to best love one another!

Blessed Be!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Inclusion, Public Theology, Racism, Uncategorized

November 23, 2014– Enough!

Gracious God,

This is the season of gratitude.
And we gather together in a spirit of Thanksgiving–
aware of our giftedness
and the source of all things given.

As we celebrate your overflowing
grace and love for us,
help us to also remember
when we’ve had enough.

Enough…
that your grace is sufficient…
that we don’t, under your grace,
live out of an economy of scarcity;
that your grace teaches us
how to be satisfied.
And our satisfaction results in divine generosity.

Teach us to rejoice in the divine “Enough!”.

And open our hearts
to those who aren’t experiencing “enough”–
those in need of divine generosity.
Both our expressions of satisfaction and need
can be heard through our congregational prayers.

So we lift them up to you:
[read aloud the prayers of the congregation]

We lift them up to you.

And we acknowledge the unspoken prayers which linger in our hearts.
[pause for silent prayer]

Hear us in our silence, too–
in those gaps which express need and satisfaction.

We are reminded of your abundance
renewed each morning with the light of day.
All day long you are working for good in the world.

Let your abundance spark within us
the divine “enough” so that we’ll have
the desire to serve and live peaceably.

Devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
and care for those in need;
to allow your grace to be sufficient
to live out of divine generosity.

Blessed Be!

Leave a comment

Filed under Grace, Inclusion, Justice, Thanksgiving

September 14, 2014– HOPE

Gracious God,

We gather together today
aware of your presence in the cool breeze
which awakens our senses
and refreshes our outlook.

It is easy–far too easy–God, to be weighed down
by the news of terrorism,
war,
domestic violence,
abuse–
some of which seems foreign and far off–
others of which are known far too personally.

Your refreshing cool breeze
reminds us of our hope:
that things can change;
that permanence is illusion;
that nothing is final.

Remind us, Divine One,
as we lift up our concerns to you,
of this hope which grants us buoyancy
and refuses to let us sink.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

Hope floats on the wings of your Spirit.

So remind us daily
of the presence of your Spirit
in, among, and around us.

Hope is a commitment and spiritual practice
that must be renewed daily.

Hope not only sees, but actively works for good in the world.

It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably and justly.

Hope motivates us on our spiritual paths
as we practice the living traditions of Jesus:
who welcomed those in need of hospitality;
who cared for the least among us
and made them his priority;
who considered the price of grace
and offered it anyway.
And who never gave up hope.

Blessed Be!

Leave a comment

Filed under Grace, Holy Spirit, Hope, Inclusion, Peace

August 10, 2014– Seeing as Jesus sees

Gracious God,

We are a people who love war.
We say we want peace,
but too often we are at war with ourselves,
with our neighbors,
with those whose thinking differs from ours.

We are quick to judge,
and slow to grace.

Our own broken lenses skew our perspectives–
whether we are staring in the mirror,
or out our own windows.

So we gather together as a community of faith–
trusting in your presence in and among us–
to open our hearts and minds
to clear our vision
that we can begin to see
each other as you see us.

As we lift up the prayers of this congregation,
instill in us your love,
your grace,
and your peace–
towards ourselves and towards each other.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And help us to acknowledge the silence that often speaks louder that words.
Hear our unspoken prayers as well!

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us to listen–
to ourselves and each other–
in our silences.

And remind us that love is a commitment
renewed each morning.
It works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and a longing to be peaceable.
It breaks us open to vulnerability
and strengthens our resolve
to walk in the living traditions of Jesus:
to see the stranger and greet them with open arms;
to care for those in need;
to welcome the disenfranchised.

Teach us how to best love
and best live out your peace.

Blessed Be!

1 Comment

Filed under Grace, Inclusion, Peace

July 13, 2014–Disagreements

Gracious God,

We are an opinionated people.
And we gather together both in spite of our differences
and because of them.
Teach us to celebrate those differences
and to not take disagreement as an ‘affront’.

Our uniquenesses carry with them unique joys and concerns.
We lift these up
In order to better know and care for one another.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And Lord, sometimes our differences make it difficult
to utter aloud our joys and concerns.
Instead we hold them close at heart.
Hear those prayers of silence as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us that you provided for us
the means to “work out our own salvation”.

You trust us.
Help us to learn to trust one another more fully.

We acknowledge that trust is a commitment renewed daily.
It works for good in the world
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and is borne out of our desire to live peaceably.

Help us as we walk alongside one another
in these living traditions of Jesus
as we welcome the excluded
and work for justice
and care for the vulnerable
and learn how to best love one another.

Blessed Be.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Inclusion, Justice

June 7, 2014–Pentecost

O Divine Spirit,

We gather this Pentecost morning
drawn in by your Spirit
and its promise of new ways of speaking
and renewed understandings;
of youthful passion
and the wisdom that accompanies age.
You unite us across the most impenetrable boundaries
and open our hearts to one another.

Blow like a mighty rushing wind
across this congregation!
Sweep the dust from the corners of our minds and hearts
and grant us a fresh perspective
–a breath of new life
–a cool breeze for our fevered pace.
Alight on us anew!
And carry on your winds the prayers of this congregation!

[read aloud the prayer cards]

We breathe you in and out.
Even when we fail to utter aloud our concerns
we trust your presence with us.
Sustain our silent prayers on buoyant wings
and raise them up:

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us, Holy One,
that the practice of the presence of the Spirit
is a discipline and 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.
And to devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
who welcomed the excluded,
tended to those in need,
and challenged injustice.

Fill us with your grace!

Blessed Be!

1 Comment

Filed under Grace, Holy Spirit, Inclusion, Justice, Pentecost

May 26, 2014– Our common destiny

God who unites–

We are individuals who gather together
with our own unique and different concerns and joys.
But we gather each  Sunday as a community
knowing it loosens our group on our private notions of the ‘self’.

Gathering in your name unites us in hope
that we aren’t alone in our experiences
or our concerns.

We gather as a people of hope
believing we can help shoulder each others loads
and dance together in celebration.

Hear the expressions of this congregation’s hope:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And hear, oh God, the trust implied in our silence
when struggles are so burdensome we can’t bear to speak them aloud
or delights are so sweet we can but ponder them in our hearts.
Hear our silent expressions of hope!

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us, Lord,
that hope is a commitment renewed daily.
It works for good in the world,
stirring up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.

Hope invites us to follow in the the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to care for those in need
and to remember that we are never alone.

Blessed Be!

Leave a comment

Filed under Hope, Inclusion

February 23, 2014

God of grace and mercy,

We gather today out of hope and good will.
We come together as a strange and wonderful amalgam of health and brokenness,
relying upon your divine spirit to strengthen and comfort us.

We lift up the joys and concerns of this congregation:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And you know the intentions of our hearts:
you know those treasures and delights which bring unspeakable joy
and you know the fears and troublesome concerns which carry a fragility too delicate for words.
Hear us in our silence. Know our best intention.

[pause for silent prayer]

Recognize our silence as an act of faith–as a prayer–as well.

And remind us that new every morning is your love,
O great God of Light,
and you are always already working for good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire for service
and the peaceable life.
And to devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to expect the best from one another
to care for the poor and those in need.

Teach us how to best love one another.

Blessed Be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health, Inclusion

February 9, 2014– Strength in Weakness

And God said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
Therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses.
So I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties; 
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
–words from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Wounded God,
broken–like us–
we gather together, having left the chaos of the week.
A rowdy bunch,
mindful that our weaknesses–
the chips and the cracks in our veneer
reveal your presence.

Teach us how to drop our guard of ‘wholeness’
to lower our pretense of ‘orderliness’
to drop the facade of ‘propriety’
and instead acknowledge that we need each other
in this messiness called ‘life’.

Hear the prayers of this motley crew:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

We acknowledge that some of our wounds seem too raw to risk exposure
so we hold those quietly, close at heart.
But you hear the silence of those gaping wounds as prayer as well.
Teach us to trust you in the silence.

[pause for a time of silent prayer]

Teach us to be weak.
Open our hearts
so that we can minister through vulnerability
and in turn, be changed.

Teach us how to best love one another.
And help us remember that openness is a commitment renewed daily.
It expects and anticipates the good in the world
and seeks it.

Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably,
devoting our days to walking in the living tradition of our teacher, Jesus,
to welcome the excluded
and to tend to those in need.

Blessed Be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Change, Inclusion, Peace

December 15, 2013- Third Sunday of Advent

Celebrating the Third Sunday of Advent with the theme of “Joy”.

Gracious God,

We gather together today feeling restless-
anticipating the holidays
anxious for your presence.

Wars and famine and storms rage.
The world isn’t the way it should be:
our relationships are broken,
our hearts are in need of healing,
our perspectives in need of change.

We long for peace, for health,
for a sense of belonging,
for community.

Hear the prayers of this congregation:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And sometimes our longings and hopes run too deep for words.
Hear our silent unspoken prayers as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us how to best care for one another.
And remind us
that your presence always already enfolds us
that contentment is a daily practice
that seeking peace,
welcoming the stranger,
and tending to those in need
opens our hearts to profound joy.

Teach us to practice happiness
in anticipation of the good in the world.

Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Advent, Contentment, Inclusion, Peace