Gracious God, as we gather together this morning, some are dejected, some are celebrating, some are confused and some wonder what is happening to the world that we have known.
It seems that all that we have held dear is in flux, that things and people that we don’t understand are somehow gaining an upper hand. Some of us are frightened and agitated.
Yet, you, O God, are in control.
When situations occur that we don’t understand or that we disagree with, it is easy to lash out in anger and fear, yet you call us to react with love.
It is easy to react with language of persecution, until it is called to our attention that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering from real persecution and sometimes even dying for their faith as they proclaim Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. We grieve with them and for them and for their families and in the light of real persecution, we see how pathetic our concerns are.
Holy One, help us to love as you have loved us. Help us to live our lives as if you make a difference in ours. Help us to see your image in everyone that we meet and help them to see you in us.
We pray for our leaders, that they will lead in humility and not hypocrisy. That they would avoid inciting fear in order to gain votes.
We pray for our nation and all of her people. We pray that instead of finding things that divide us, that we may seek those concerns that bring us together: that we might take better care of the earth that you have given us and not rape and pillage nature in the vain pursuit of profit; that we might seek to care for those in poverty, especially those who are working hard yet still fighting to keep their heads above water as they struggle to provide for their families; that we might welcome the immigrant as Scripture so often challenges us to do.
We pray for our active duty and reserve military, our veterans, and their families and we pray that all of our leaders will tread carefully before committing our troops to battle, and then may we as a nation live up to our promise and moral obligation to these men and women to help them transition from the horrors of war back into civilian life, an obligation that we have failed to keep to our sorrow and shame.
We pray for the sick and those who care for them, for those who mourn, and for those who struggle with addiction, rejection, and all things that devalue life.
We pray that our witness may be strong and that in all things that we will seek to live by the words that we proclaim when we state that you, Jesus, are our Lord and Savior.
O God, you are our help in times of trouble and times of confusion. Hold us in your strong arms and guide us and direct us as we seek to discern your will for us and our community. Most of all, empower us to do all that we are called to do in a spirit of humility and love.
We ask all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.