Pastoral Prayer 11-6-16

Pastoral Prayer 11-6-16

  Dear Father whom we dare to call Ours, we know that election is about choosing.   We have many examples in Scripture of your choosing individuals like Abraham and Joseph and Elijah and Elisha, and Samuel and Solomon, and David, and Joseph and Mary, and Peter and Paul and a whole community called Israel.  So today we ask you to choose us.  No.  We know from your Son and our Lord Jesus Christ that you have already chosen us.  We have come to believe that your Spirit works within and among us.  And so I guess we are asking you to re-choose us at this critical time in our nation’s history.  You know our needs.  You know how we have fought for land as did that first community that you chose.  You know how we have deviated from our ideals and have been stingy with our love and have hated our enemies.  But we are still trying, dear Father, we are still repenting of our past sins.  We ask you to forgive us and paint for us once again a picture of the peaceable kingdom that your son can bring about.  And now we lift up our prayers to you, as we say: “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.” *********************** If the lion and the lamb can and will lie down together, surely we of differing political opinions can co-exist and wish each other well.  Commit us to do good, to renew our determination to follow your Son’s Way, to follow BOTH of the great commandments, to acknowledge that we are brothers and sisters in Jesus.  Because when we reflect on our history, when we review our blessings, when we remember our purple mountains’ majesty, when we see what good is being done by so many people, we are so grateful.  We see these things and people as sacraments of you.  We know that your Son did not pitch his tent among us to change your mind about us, but to change our mind about you—You who are our dear Lord, and our loving Father.   And so we pray: “Our...

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Pastoral Prayer 4-24-16

Pastoral Prayer 4-24-16

Lord, Friday was Earth Day. We only really saw this earth that you have made fully illuminated by the sun and in a color photograph taken by an Apollo 17 astronaut on his way to the moon in 1972.  That blue marble photograph turned out to be the most important thing these astronauts brought back from their journey to the moon.  For the first time, we could indeed see and appreciate what you, our God, created.  And here is what he (Eugene Cernan) said about what he saw from the window of his spacecraft: You have to literally just pinch yourself and ask yourself the question, silently: Do you know where you are at this point in time and space, and in reality and in existence, when you can look out the window and you’re looking at the most beautiful star in the heavens — the most beautiful because it’s the one we understand and we know, it’s home, it’s people, family, love, life — and besides that it is beautiful. You can see from pole to pole and across oceans and continents and you can watch it turn and there’s no strings holding it up, and it’s moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception. Eugene Cernan did not mention God, but WE do: Lord, we close our eyes and try to imagine it.  We look at this marvelous globe and reflect upon your greatness.  But it’s difficult.  As the Psalmist sings: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it”  (Ps. 139: 6).  ”On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate” (Ps. 145: 5).  It is too much, for we get so immersed in our day to day situations from dirty cars to dirty diapers and whether we have taken our pills or kept our appointments. But just this past Friday, leaders from 175 countries signed the Paris agreement on climate control and a rapper’s video on protecting the earth went viral on the internet and will influence thousands of young people.  His name is Prince Ea.  And so we are filled with hope. For the beauty of the earth, we thank you, Lord.  Heal it, evolve it, transform it, teach us how to care for it, how to be a part of it, stewards of it.  “We lift up our eyes to the hills…” (Ps. 121:1).    And we lift up these prayers to you from this beautiful earth you not only created but visited in the person of your son, and through him we pray:  “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer…” Let us pray, As our Jewish brothers and sisters...

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On the Edge of Autumn

On the Edge of Autumn

Season of greenfulness, Riding on a blue planet As it slowly tips away from the sun And causes your green leaves To undress themselves in the chemistry of fall And show the colors hiding under chlorophyll. Dear God, we wear our images so long and carefully, As if to hide our true colors From the embarrassing light of day; And so we ask you—poised on the edge of fall To let us tip our hearts closer to you And let you deal with all our shame. Your son forgave his murderers; We know he will forgive us, too (Do we even have to ask?) So that we can cover others’ shame and hurt With the colors of compassion And so we pray: “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.” ***** The weight of our pain and fear can overwhelm us, Lord; We need you to flex your strong arms And gently lift these burdens from us all Then we will rest in you like autumn leaves on warm October ground, And catalog and lend your colors to a weary world. We start right now by praying: “Our Father…” Benediction May the heat of God’s love Penetrate our heads and hearts So we may learn that we are loved And that we ARE love For those we meet each week. Amen. Joe...

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A Pastoral Prayer

A Pastoral Prayer

PASTORAL PRAYER FOR SUNDAY, JULY 19, 2015 I begin with portions of this oft-quoted poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins: Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;         5   And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;   And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent;   There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;         10 And though the last lights off the black West went   Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs— Because the Holy Ghost over the bent   World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. Dear Lord, In this part of the country, summer is our chance to take off our shoes and feel the soil, Perhaps find a patch of grass that has not yet been adulterated with carcinogenic pesticides We believe in what Hopkins wrote –that the Holy Spirit is like a bird warming the earth, hatching new and wonderful things Please make us aware of that Spirit, Your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray (Veni, Sancte Spiritus!) We need your Spirit, and we trust that you will NOT leave us orphans But will continue to inspire us, to join us together in creating, planting Helping each other to protect and sustain your beautiful creation Help us to remove whatever prevents us from seeing it, feeling it, loving it And hear our prayers for those who cannot appreciate it because they are suffering and are in need, and for them we pray: “Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.” ****** Were it not for your Spirit, your presence, and experiencing you in the people you gather here We might despair of accomplishing so much with so little We are like the snails that Zen Masters cheered on to climb Mt. Fuji, but slowly, slowly. Help us to keep on, slowly offering our prayers and resources, reaching out a hand, giving some of our harvest, Not letting criticism and cynicism deter nor discourage us, never giving up, always pressing through tiredness and obstacles. Because you remind us, refresh us, and cajole us with your presence in perfect summer days.   Amen.   BENEDICTION My Lord, we can bless each other and call for good things to happen to each of us, and so we do now. But we also acknowledge that everything in creation blesses us, the air, the earth, the fire, the water. You caress us with them and embrace us. And we are so grateful....

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New Beginnings Prayer after Genesis 1-3

New Beginnings Prayer after Genesis 1-3

Creator God, in calling You Creator, we acknowledge You as the God of our Beginnings, all beginnings. And so we ask you to bless our beginnings this year. We ask you for light, and to help us separate light from the darkness of ignorance and selfish myopia. We ask you for the moon and stars, because our dreams are big and our aspirations great. We ask you to focus our attention on the beauty of this blue and green and brown earth and to protect us from the sharks and killer whales that often seem to lurk as we swim in your ocean of air. We ask you to help us respect the snakes and crawling things while resisting the temptation to act on their level or to climb up the false tower of our own hubris thinking we are better and taller and more independent of you than we are. And finally, we ask you to teach us how to get along, to keep us from wanting to kill each other, to show us how to talk politely about our differences and even to celebrate them. We accept the beginnings you have entrusted to us. We hold them in our hands and wonder at their promise. We promise to take care of them and to return them to you even better than they now are. But for this we need your hand on ours, loving us, consoling us, energizing us, renewing us and keeping us faithful....

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We Showed Up

We Showed Up

Something has brought us to this room today—something besides the entry in our calendars or the email reminding us or the items on the agenda.  Something long ago started us on a path that has led to this room.  It’s been a journey fraught with hardships, unexpected turns, maybe even some painful falls that brought our faces into contact with the dirt of our path.  But we kept on. People lifted us up and supported us.  We believed this was the best road for us to travel.  We hoped we had something to offer, something unique, something transformative.  We may be weary now, but there was once a spark, and it wouldn’t take much to remember it and–if needed–rekindle it.  It is as ancient as fire, as a Passover to freedom,  as a journey from death to life.  It smolders at times, sends up pungent fumes at times, but is never extinguished. So, OK: Someone has brought us to this room today, Someone who is often discovered in fire, and Whose warmth embraces us and those who stand near us. ...

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