Prayers of the People

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Prayers of the People April 21, 2019

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Based on Luke 24:1-9

Hosanna! The night is over, dear God, and the dawn of new light and life has come.  How awed we are to hear the ancient story this day – that two thousand years ago the earth shook, a stone was rolled away, the tomb that had held your Son was unsealed, and your love was let loose. 

Of course those who had come to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning were initially stunned and unsure of how to receive news so astonishing and unexpected.  How could what was dead and lost be restored and raised to new life?  This was too good.  It was just too good.  And so, the women at the empty tomb left the site that first Easter awed, and perplexed.

And often, we are too, God.  We are perplexed about how to respond to all that is broken in our world that we fear is un-mendable – hardships real and deep, losses anticipated, all those things we worry over, and struggle with, and pray about.  But, the empty grave shows us that nothing can entomb your healing and restoring love.  Nothing can seal us off from you.  Your Easter promise of new life extends beyond Jesus’ empty tomb.  It extends across the years and reaches across the miles to us.  And your Easter promise extends even beyond this day of jubilant song and fragrant flowers, extends in fact, through every passing year of our lives, as time draws us all ever closer to you – for you maintain your diligent, loving pursuit of us, always. 

So send us out today, God of Life, with the good news of the resurrection.  Let us run with the message that He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  If this is news that seems just too good, then let the word pass among us so widely, and so kindly, and so convincingly, that all the world will want to come and see.  For this news is the basis of every real, sustainable hope.  It teaches us that no matter what life deals us, it will not ultimately end in tragedy.  The end, will be surprising, joyous, eternal life, generously offered to all!  We pray in glad gratitude this bright Easter morning, and we sing together now the words that Jesus taught us to use when we pray … Lord’s Prayer.

Prayers of the People March 31, 2019

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Based on Luke 15:11-32, the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Receive our gifts God, given to you this day in recognition of your loving outreach to all your children.  May our gifts participate in your open-handedness, by sharing the love you have so readily granted to us.

We pray today, dear God, for our world, shaken by hardships, sometimes of human making.  Help us to be willing and swift to help others.  Let our own experience with hardships and tragedies help us to know how to soften their impact upon others.  We pray relief for those people around the world struggling with violence or grief, political insecurity or illness, abandonment or poverty.  In parable after parable, your Son, Jesus taught us that we are connected to these problems and these people.  Show us how we may help.

We pray for those in our very midst today who are struggling somehow.  May those of us here today who are hurting find new joy, new hope, and new promise here among this Body of Christ.

And we pray for ourselves … We confess, God, that we see ourselves only too clearly in Christ’s parables.  Like the younger son in today’s parable, we sometimes take all we can, focused only on our self-satisfaction.  We may be careless in honoring and protecting our vast inheritance from you.  Like the elder son, we sometimes chafe at the kindness and forgiveness you offer to those less dutiful than ourselves.  We may jealously desire your exclusive favor.  But however we may have distanced ourselves from you, teach us that like all who are lost and then found, by your gracious love we may always be restored to you.  You seek us out with a deep, vast, and prodigal love and gladly welcome our return to you.  You want, above all else, to bring us home.

So help us all, no matter what shape our lives have taken and what turns our paths have followed, to come to you willingly now, to join in the joyous celebration you have planned for all your children.

We pray these things in the name of Jesus, who taught all his disciples to say these words when they prayed together: The Lord’s Prayer.

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