I'm not interested in polarizing the congregation tomorrow. I need tomorrow to be a worship service. More and more I crave the gathering together around the actions and symbols of the church. Unity is crucial to authentic worship.
The prayer for tomorrow is especially good. Theresa, our Interim Worship Service Coordinator (which is the cantankerous title I wanted for the position most church call "Worship Minister"), wrote the prayer and will deliver it.
July 1, 2007
God--who makes the sun rise and the rain fall on us all—we thank you for loving us equally. We thank you for your abundant mercy, and when we cannot see that mercy, we thank you for the many ways you sustain us—through family; through shared story; through unsolicited, selfless acts of kindness.
Your goodness surpasses our understanding. But with clumsy steps, we attempt to follow the example of your son, whose brief ministry opened our eyes to the hope and healing and wholeness that can only be found by orienting our lives toward you.
Like marble waiting to be shaped, may we yield to the chisel that will form us into your image.
When the gouging of heartache pierces our very soul, soothe our wounds with your grace.
When we are chafed by petty disagreement, smooth away the roughness with your gentle instruction.
When the worries of this life leave fissures that run deep, strengthen us with your joy.
When the acid of discouragement erodes our will and exposes our weakness, send your holy spirit to blanket us in peace.
O that we might yield to your artful hands, that we might bear your likeness—that we might be God-shaped people.
That this might be a God-shaped nation. As we celebrate our freedoms and our independence, let us be reminded of the cost. Let us be reminded that true freedom comes only through Jesus Christ, who suffered the cost when he submitted to the cross and conquered the evil that binds us.
That we might be more complete—more Christ-like, more Spirit-filled—in humility but with confidence we raise our voices to you in prayer, speaking together the prayer spoken by your son, Jesus Christ:
Our Father . . .