Category Archives: Justice

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!

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Filed under Grace, Inclusion, Justice, Thanksgiving

October 19, 2014–(In)dependence

Gracious God,

We are an independent lot, Lord.
We each have our own opinions
and our own ideas
of how the world should work–
of how each other should be.

We seek our own light
and our own truth.

Everything can be customized
and tailored to suit.
Even our spirituality.

But in spite of all that,
and against our better judgement,
we gather together as one body
these Sunday mornings.

This ‘gathering’ is an act of cultural defiance–
a protest against rampant individuality
and consumerism.

We gather collectively as an act of trust
that your presence is in, around, and among us.
We hold to the promise of your faithfulness and love
that when two or three are gathered, you will dwell among us.

And so gathering together like this displaces our egos
and opens our hearts and minds
to the Spirit’s leading
to compassion.

As our individual prayers  are read aloud before the congregation
they are transformed into the collective prayer
and hope of us all.

So we ask you to hear the prayers of this gathering.
[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge those intimate thoughts,
concerns and hopes that feel
too tender of fragile to speak aloud.

We trust those to your presence too.
[pause for silent prayer]

Hear our silent prayers!

Bind us together
as a collective
and move our hears and minds
towards a good that is greater than our individual egos.

Open us to your leadership–
to learn a new way.

Inspire us by your faithfulness and love
and renew our hearts
through contemplation
towards action
for the love of our neighbors
and this world.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Faith, Grace, Holy Spirit, Justice

August 31, 2014– Labor Day

Gracious God,

You’ve given us this sabbath
as a break from our work,
and as such, you grant dignity
both to our labor and our rest.

Help us to learn from your example
to value those under our employ–
both their labor and their rest.
To uphold their dignity
through just practices in the workplace,
and through fair compensation.

Help us to be mindful of each other’s needs
and to recognize that
the needs of one are the needs of all.

Hear us as we lift up the needs of this congregation:

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And hear us in our silence
as we uphold those things only pondered in our hearts.

[pause for silent prayer]

Remind us that justice is a commitment renewed daily.
All day long it works for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and a desire for blessed peace and rest.

Help us to devote our ways
to the living traditions of Jesus,
who welcomed the poor,
cared for the estranged,
and who sought justice
and practiced mercy.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Justice, Labor Day, Public Theology, Sabbath

July 20, 2014–Teach us to learn

Gracious God,

We gather today to learn.
Open our hearts and minds
and soften our critiques
so that we can hear each other
and attend to our own growth.

Fill us with your grace
as we hear the prayers of this congregation:

[read aloud prayer cards]

Our prayers reflect our trust and our hope.

And for those sweet inexpressible moments
we offer up our thanks;
And for those agonizing moments of pain
we offer up our trust.

Hear us in our silent prayers.

[pause for silent prayer]

Our silence reflects our trust and our hope.

Remind us, O God,
that new every morning
is your love.
All day long it works for good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably with our neighbors
as we devote our ways to walking
in the living traditions of Jesus.

As we learn from each other
and open ourselves to the disenfranchised
and care for the vulnerable.
Teach us to desire justice
and extend your grace.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Change, Grace, Hope, Justice

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.

 

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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!

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

April 18, 2014–‘Good’ Friday

Today we mourn.

We grieve for all those who have been unjustly accused;
unjustly prosecuted;
unjustly punished;
unjustly killed.

We pray for those we know who are perpetually put in these unjust situations.
We pray for our Latina/o friends,
our African-American friends,
our poor friends,
our gay friends
–for all our friends who are ‘suspect’.

We repent of participation in systems of such abuse.
God forgive me.
God forgive us.

Open our eyes!
Open our ears!
Open our hearts!

Teach us to be different.
And to love difference.

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Filed under Homosexuality, Justice, Poverty, Public Theology, Racism

December 8, 2013- Second Sunday of Advent

Reflecting on the theme of Peace for this Advent Sunday and on the death of Nelson Mandela.

 

God of Peace,

We gather together this Advent season
in acknowledgement and anticipation of your presence among us.
In you we live and move and have our being.
And its your presence which calls us out of ourselves
and opens us up to each other.

In you we find points of commonality
and it is only in you we can celebrate our differences.
In you we find peace.

Open our hearts to the prayers of concern and utterances of joy of this congregation:

[read aloud the congregational prayer cards]

Still our minds
and calm our anxieties.
We trust you to hold those moments of delight left unspoken
and those cries of anguish too painful for words.

Hear our silence as well- such silence is also an act of faith.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us how to best love one another.
And teach us, in remembrance of Madiba,
to work for justice,
to practice forgiveness,
to seek reconciliation,
to be servants of Peace.

Remind us that peace is so much more than the absence of violence.

Blessed Be!

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Filed under Advent, Justice, Peace

Chicago- September 22, 2013

After a particularly violent week in Chicago…

God of grace and peace,

We gather together today
as a people in need of understanding.
Violence rocks our city and we are at a loss–
-to know how to grieve
-to know how to comfort
-to know how and when to change
-to know when to intervene
-to know where justice lies
-to know how to be merciful.

Quiet us this Sabbath.
Open our hearts to one another,
our minds to learning,
our souls to peace
as we hear the prayers of this congregation.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

For Chicago, we pray for peace.
For our gangs, we pray for reconciliation.
For our police, we pray for safety and that they love justice and show mercy.

We acknowledge those prayers of delight
which are simply pondered in our hearts
and those expressions of pain
which never make it past groans into words.
Hear those prayers as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us to rest in one another this Sabbath.
Teach us how to best love one another.

Remind us that peace is a commitment that must be renewed daily.
All the day long this commitment works for good in the world.
Peace stirs up in us a desire to serve
to live in community
and to devote our ways to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
who welcomed the excluded
forgave the offender
bridged the gaps
and cared for the vulnerable.
Jesus demonstrated a different way of being in the world.

Teach us to live this Sabbath way.

Blessed be.

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Filed under Justice, Peace, Public Theology, Sabbath

Never Forget: a Christian’s reflection on 9/11

I am breaking with form here to post a reflection which is also a prayer:  Jesus had a vision of what it means to “Never forget” (the mantra of 9/11): that is, the open stance of “Do this in remembrance…”.

The open table might be the BEST metaphor for peaceable living and reversing the enemy-making process we are so good at.

In order to “Never Forget”: let us live openly, welcoming all who will come to the divine banquet of fellowship.

 

So out of remembrance:

Break bread with your neighbors today

Give to the poor

Encourage the weary

Welcome the excluded

Break the chains that bind

Out of remembrance…

 

Out of remembrance…

Refuse to be exclusive…

Refuse to ignore the needs around you…

Refuse to gain when others suffer…

Beloved, let us love one another.

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Filed under Change, Grace, Justice, Peace, Public Theology