Category Archives: Public Theology

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–

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!



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Filed under Inclusion, Public Theology, Racism, Uncategorized

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

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

January 26, 2014–Semi-Annual Business Meeting

Gracious God,

We gather today with the business of “church” in mind.
Our thoughts are filled
with schedules and policies,
long-term planning,
and budgets.

Open our hearts and minds
to the movement of your Spirit
so that we never lose site
of the fact that being your church
is our work
and in all our tasks,
the Holy is present.

Teach us to honor the Holy in one another.
And teach us to share in each other’s burdens and joy.

[read aloud the prayers of the congregation]

And help us hear the silences and see the gaps
acknowledging those burdens so heavy
that words alone cannot bear them,
and those delights so sweet
we are left speechless.

[pause for silent prayer]

Teach us how to best love one another.
And remind us that being a congregation together
is a commitment that is renewed in our daily work–
in the most mundane of chores.

We are together to do good in the world.
Stir up in us a desire to serve
and to live peaceably,
devoting our ways to walking in the living traditions of Jesus
to welcome the excluded
to side with the weak
to care for the vulnerable.

Blessed be!

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Filed under Public Theology

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

Palm Sunday- March 24, 2013

Gracious God

We gather today on this Palm Sunday reminded:

Reminded of the powers that pull for
our attention and affection.
Teach us to center our focus correctly.

Reminded that public leadership
with an eye for social justice
comes with a cost.
Give us courage to stand in solidarity with those in need anyway.

Reminded that our actions have consequences.
Expose us when we carry praise or blame too far.

Reminded, as we give voice to the joys and concerns of this congregation
that we are all in this together.
Teach us how to best love one another.

[read aloud the prayer cards]

And we lift up those prayers
-those cries within us-
which are too tender or precious to be spoken aloud.

[pause for silent prayer]

Give us eyes to see each other’s needs.

And remind us through all of this
that new every morning is your love
Great God of Light
And all the day long love is working for good in the world.
It stirs up in us a desire to serve one another.
To live peaceably.
And to devote our days to walking
in the living traditions of Jesus.

Blessed Be.

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Filed under Justice, Palm Sunday, Public Theology