Category Archives: Peace

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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Sunday before Thanksgiving- November 24, 2013

God of Grace and Peace,

We gather today as a people in need–
in need of grace
of kindness
of compassion
of healing;
a people in need of rest and sabbath;
a people in need of peace.

Hear our prayers–the prayers of this congregation.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge those needs left unspoken.

[pause for silent prayer]

Hear those prayers as well.

Wake us from our slumber of consumerism this coming season.
Open our hearts to your disruptive grace.
Stir us from complacency into contemplative action.
Motivate us by your unconditional, unfailing love
to act as an extension of that love.

Uncover our eyes to see abundance
so that we can experience satisfaction
and practice gratitude.

And remind us that a spirit of contentment
is a daily discipline.
It sees the good in the world
and enables us to move beyond ourselves towards service to others.
It trains our desire towards peace.

Your abundance allows us to keep a loose hand on things material
and instead embrace tightly
those who are excluded and in need.

Teach us how to best love one another.

Amen.

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November 10, 2013 — Faith

Gracious God,

We gather together
-not because of postulation
or proposition-
but because we experience the Spirit’s presence
in, around, and among us.

We gather because of promise
-the promise of your presence
and our covenantal promise to one another.

And as such, we promise to hear and bear
each others’ burdens
and share in each others’ joy.

Hear the prayers of this people!

[read aloud the prayer cards of the congregation]

And we acknowledge those delights so sweet
we find ourselves at a loss for words
and those fears and pains so deep
they only find expression in tears and groans.

Hear those prayers as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us how to best love one another.
And remind us that love is a commitment renewed daily.
All day long it works for good in the world.
Love stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.
And to devote our ways to the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to care for those in need
and to be faithful one to another.

Blessed Be!

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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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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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On the discipline of “Sabbath”– September 8, 2013

Gracious God,

Our gatherings are a pause
–a respite from the vicissitudes of daily life.
Or at least they should be.

Calm our spirits and gently remind us
that there is no where else we need to be
no better thing we could be doing
no issue so pressing
that we cannot or should not take the time
to breathe in your love.

Teach us to bask in your Holy Sabbath
Even in the times of our greatest joys
and most worrisome concerns.

On this Sabbath we lift up in quiet commitment
the joys and concerns of this congregation:

[read the prayer cards]

And we acknowledge those joys so overwhelming and sweet
they cannot be spoken aloud
And those concerns which burden us so deeply we are at a loss for words.
Hear those prayers as well.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us to set aside time for renewal
so that we have the resources to live up to our commitments.
For we know that love is a commitment which must be renewed daily.
All the day long it is working for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably.
And to devote our days to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
to care for the poor, and welcome the excluded.

In your quiet gentleness
teach us how to best love one another.

Blessed be!

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