A work in progress . . . after a day like this, I would usually re-write the entire service. But the congregation I have been serving this summer has just learned that its pastor’s medical leave has been extended indefinitely, and he is going to speak with them tomorrow ~ his last opportunity to preach and share with them. So I have been working on the Prayers of the People off and on all day . . . it may look completely different sixteen hours from now . . .
God of All Peoples,
When you came among us as Spirit Wind, you did not come to a small group of like-minded people who knew what to expect. You came as a surprise of power and a mystery of awakening to people of all sorts from all places in the world as they knew it ~ people who came by different routes, people who looked different from one another, people who spoke different languages from one another.
You called us, this conglomeration of all peoples, to gather as your church.
You called us to follow the way of your Son, who was never intimidated by illness or disarray, and to align ourselves with your healing presence.
You called us to follow the way of the prophets, who again and again called your people to the justice which is care and provision for all peoples, to the kindness which embraces all peoples, and to the humility required for ourselves to become instruments of the way you set for us.
And so we pray for Pastor — and for his family, that they may recognize and deeply know the community, the hope, and the healing, whatever those things may look like, that come across the winds and the waves of life with your Son.
We pray for the people of Charlottesville and of our nation, for the killed, the injured, and the heartbroken, that they may know the determination of a nation set on hope and justice grounded in the abundant love and care of God..
We pray for our leaders, that they may find the patience and wisdom and courage to guide us toward peace at home and abroad.
Grant us the patience to gather in community and to seek and offer healing, even and especially where healing does not look like that which we ourselves seek and prefer.
Grant us the strength and confidence to condemn racism and violence wherever we encounter them.
Grant us the courage to pursue justice and peace, in our community, in our nation, and in our world.
Help us to become the people you want us to become ~ people who follow the One who rose victorious over death and who reigns over the new creation of heaven and earth into which we are all called.