more and less

We pray, our God,
for others.
We pray, our God,
for ourselves.
We pray, our God,
for our community and our world.
We pray, our God,
for creation.

We pray for healthier.
We pray for more whole …
and more holy.

We pray for more integrated—
and a greater awareness and celebration
that it’s all integral.

We pray for less pain,
more love;
less injustice,
more grace;
less violence,
more respect;

more interdependence
more mutuality
more responsibilities embraced,
fewer shirked;

less need left wanting,
and more wanting left;

less hunger as physical need,
more hunger as spiritual longing;

less intolerance for what should be ignored,
more intolerance for what shouldn’t be ignored.

And we pray …

in the name of the one
who lived into what we pray for,
amen.

in distinctions of story

The distinctions of story—
my story and your story, his and hers, ours and theirs—
the distinctions of all these stories
blur at the edges—
or would, you know, if stories had edges.
But precisely where you look to see where one person’s story
is distinguished from another person’s story,
the distinctions blur.
As do distinctions within the story of God—
the stories of God,
which blur—
shimmer—
merge,
and God’s particular way of being—with us—
God’s specific way of living and loving,
however hazy,
however indistinct,
emerges.
The shimmering way of God
is not a clarity of direction we see before us,
but what we see in others,
and what others see in us—
merging.
God help us—
emerging.
Indeed.

just breathe

Our God,

The winds blow cooler these days.

In negotiating life together—
in community with each other—
You with us,
we pray for Your Spirit to blow
into our lives
refreshment—
recreation—
renewal.

And we pray in the name of the One
in whose life we still see
Your Spirit moving—
in whose words and deeds and teachings,
we still see Your creative wind
blowing over the surface of what is deep.
We pray
in the name of the One
who breathed You in
and breathed You out—
sustained by You,
manifesting You.
We pray in the name of the One
whose living and loving were indistinguishable
and in whose love we rest our circumstances—
gratefully trusting,

Amen.

we hit “pause”

Our God,

We hit “pause” on our unfolding stories
to share with each other and with You
these particular circumstances—
and even more particularly,
the details of us and others in the midst of them.

So we pray in this moment—
for this moment,
but with some sense
of Your presence
never just of this one moment,
rather always in the unfolding
of time and circumstance and relationship—
ever offering the gifts of love—
the assurance of presence,
the promise of hope,
the possibilities of grace—
dynamic gifts that look beyond any moment
into what’s been
and what is yet to be.

So we are reminded
that You care about now—
about us in this now—
that You are ever with us now,
that You have known us through all our yesterdays,
and that tomorrow is thus more wide open—
less confined—less defined,
and that we can, therefore, be more hopeful.

This we grasp now,
as we can,
gratefully—
in the name of the one
whose moments were all defined by who You are
and so opened into eternity,
amen.

this our cry today

This day, we pray for
our country and its culture—
in which we have armed the people with military hardware
and so want and need the police to have as good
if not better
than what’s out on the street, right?—

a country and culture in which we have
marketed stories of violence
in the service of justice and righteousness,
and yet seem surprised that the ensuing cycle
is one of just violence,
and it is a downward spiral
into the grief and the anger
of mothers and fathers
family and friends
of those swept away.

We have allowed a culture—
participated in shaping a culture—
benefitted from a culture,
in which people of color
are viewed with suspicion and fear—
are pulled over more—
arrested more—
convicted more—
jailed more—
killed more—

in which white privilege,
nothing to defend,
is nonetheless enjoyed—
if often unconsciously—

in which it is us and them—and not us,
in which division and inequality
undermine liberty and justice for all—

with the taken-for-granteds we don’t question,
the assumptions of freedom and opportunity
that form the dream of this country
that are not true—
that are not true
for too many of its citizens.

We are citizens of a country and a culture
in which anger has grown and continues to grow—
a country and a culture in too many ways
essentially incompatible
with Your will on earth as it is in heaven, our God—
with parents teaching children rules not written on any books,
but indelibly in minds, on hearts and souls,
rules indicating some lives here are worth more than others—
some people matter less than others—
a country and a culture in and at which You, our God, weep.

This we confess.

May our repentance, God,
lead us into committed relationships—
into deeper relationships with them
to learn from them
the others who are different—
those who have so much to teach us,
to create a better, stronger us—
undermining fear and anger and inequality and injustice.

For that is Your story—
and ours, if we claim You
with intent and integrity.

This our cry today—
prayed in the name of Jesus,
who lived the tension
inherent to Your word in our world,

amen.

into what we take for granted

Into what we take for granted, our God,
comes disruption.
Into our hopes,
what is feared.
And so our prayers often
simply name our wish
that things were different.

But disruption and scary things
are a part of freedom—
of change, and growth and love.

And so we pray
for the wisdom and courage
to pray for honesty
in vulnerability—

to pray for the strength and perseverance
to live the kinds of grace-full lives
that lay a foundation
from which to lean into the unexpected and the hard,
the scary and the painful—
in the assurance of love
given and received,
in the strength of community and relationship
and the truth of God-with-us.

May it be so.

re-instill in us the dreaming

Our God,
we pray on this occasion
remembering, in particular, our country.
We give you thanks for the good dreaming
that envisioned a land of freedom and opportunity—
a land in which to grow respect for all its citizens.
We give you thanks for all who sacrificed in so many ways
to create and to sustain such dreaming.

We give you thanks for the many ways
in which that dream has been,
and continues to be
embraced and made manifest—
as a better tomorrow is shaped for all—
all within these borders and all without them too.

We thank you for the call to let freedom shine,
to let celebration of the dignity of all resound.

But we also confess to you
the many ways in which we fall short of our best dreaming—
fall into immaturity, and selfishness—
into shortsightedness—
into too much of a focus on immediate benefits for some
and a lesser tomorrow for all.

We confess to binding the dream
we apparently sometimes want to claim in word only—
not in words made flesh.

Re-instill in us the dreaming, God.
Guide us into the disciplines of love and grace
that cultivate those ideals of discipline and sacrifice—
of a commitment to our children and our children’s children
that theirs should be a better land than ours is now—
with more mature leaders and citizens than we are—
with greater opportunities than we have known—
with even deeper respect for all its citizens—
a more far reaching vision—
with richer examples of freedom and bravery
because that’s the way we dream it to be.

Ah, may it be so.
Amen.