Prayers of the People September 16, 2018
Based on Mark 7:24-30, Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman
Take these gifts, God, which we have brought with deeply grateful hearts to you today. In giving them, we acknowledge we owe everything to you --- and that we give back but a part of what is yours. We pray you will continue to bless us, as we seek to rightly share what you have entrusted to us.
And we pray that we, along with your children across the globe, may learn to share more than resources. We pray we may find ways to share the loving, compassionate, hopeful and affirming spirit of Jesus. Where there is warfare, terrorism, or political strife, let his spirit of reconciliation emerge among us and prevail, calming bitterness, anger, and vengeance. Where there is hunger, homelessness, joblessness, hopelessness for the future, let his spirit of confident expectation grow among us, quieting fears. Where there is illness, loneliness, regret, or grief, let his spirit of healing and renewal suffuse the hurting places within us, as your soothing balm.
And remind us that Jesus consistently looked beyond the customary boundaries of social obligation, and offered all his astonishing gifts of grace to those who would have been easy and acceptable to ignore. Help us, then, as his followers not to take the easy, customary paths if more might be asked of us. Let us step out, and offer whatever gifts of hope and grace we have to share, with whoever needs them most. Let us, like Jesus, acknowledge that while the world might label people in ways that diminish their significance, we need not continue that practice. We, as Jesus’ own friends and followers, have the capacity to acknowledge the “realness” of each person – each one’s dignity, unique potential, and inherent worth.
And so, dear God, wherever we might see as Jesus saw, with the light of love; wherever we might speak as he spoke, with nourishing words; and wherever we might act as he acted, overcoming divisions and claiming friends among every group and family; urge us to do so, God. If we are tempted to be satisfied with anything less, remind us that it’s never good enough to delay kindness or moderate compassion. Let us offer swift and substantial help, where we can, and feel the privilege of doing so in Jesus’ name.
We pray these things today with gratitude that Jesus has awakened us to our own worth and that of each person we meet. We all stand as sisters and brothers, we all stand as your children, God. And so we pray to you, our Father, in Jesus’ own words of trust and hope, as we say together: The Lord’s Prayer.