Shalom To You-Prayer

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God’s peace is not a catchphrase, a cliché, or a phrase to throw around lightly. God’s peace creates a sacred bond between the person offering peace and they who receive the gift. O God, your peace is the most important gift in the world. It is the most precious thing we can receive and then share with someone who is hurting, broken, in pain, or walking a path of sorrow. Tangible yet immeasurable, easily said but hard to grasp, Shalom does what we alone cannot do. God’s peace leads us to places we would never journey on our own. It is like a road sign we see and hear, urging to go just a few paces further.  Yet the further we travel, O God, we realize the gift of shalom is where we are and where we received the words. Shalom is here and now. Shalom is never something we can hold on to. We say, “Shalom to You”. We receive it and we must, in turn, give it away to someone else. God’s peace is not ours alone. Our pain is not ours alone, it is shared by God. As we share our pain, may we now share God’s peace.

Amen.

Poetry in Response to the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-13)

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Jesus,
You heard what was said,
John the B,
Is now dead,
I got so much,
I need to say,
Is God listening?
You know how to pray,
Teach me the words,
Y’all used to lay,
Up on God’s heart,
Not the cheesy clichés,
Simple words from the start,
God’s name is holy,
A coming kingdom,
Was Herod’s bitter pill,
Ain’t no euphemisms,
A verbal exorcism,
Of strung together empty words,
Doing God’s will,
Don’t look like nothing I’ve seen:
On Earth,
Is that what I read?
“Pray for my daily bread?”
Surely you do not mean,
While my bread is mine,
Vengeance is thine?
My enemies get off clean?
This prayer,
Is more than it seems.

–Richard Bryant

A Collect of Mercy and Compassion for Dallas

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Let us pray,

Almighty God, bestow upon us grace so we may cast away this pall of darkness. Visit upon us, in this hour of great humility a spirit of confession and reconciliation. Give us a peace which this world cannot give. Release us from the bondage of hate and the chains of history so our hearts may be mended and our malice assuaged. Forgive the offense of our pride and our failure to love our neighbors as we have been loved by you.

Through Jesus the Christ, Amen.

A Prayer of Contrition-For Middle Aged Skateboarders

 

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Gracious God,

I know you have much on your rather large plate.   Despite this, like the Psalmist, I have heard the call to contrition and know of your desire to hear our prayers.  Today I need to seek forgiveness, humility, and contrition in my spirit. Lord, I need your help.  When I see grown men on skate boards, I become frustrated and judgmental.  I ask myself rhetorical questions that are impossible to answer.  I know I should not be so harsh with men my age or older who’ve chosen a means of transport identical to those used by my daughter’s 13 year old friends.  You love them.  I pray for their safety and that if they choose to ride bicycles in the near future,  you would make a way for two wheels to roll into their lives. Forgive me Lord for being so easily frustrated.  Allow me to graciously bring the Good News of Jesus to middle aged, bearded men on skateboards.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places Number 5

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place: a garbage dump

I have so much garbage in my life. There many things I want to discard and abandon forever. I seem to be unable to let go of the trash I carry. When it finally becomes more than I can bear, my habit is to dump everything on people who don’t need my junk, garbage, and emotional mess. I leave my spiritual and social nastiness at their feet and walk away as if nothing as ever occurred. This shouldn’t happen. There is a right way to deal with my garbage. I need help before my life becomes a garbage dump. Might you help? I’ll sort. Send some Amen love my way.

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places Number 4

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place: a field

I am standing on the edge of this field. In these morning hours, I sense a great distance to cross. I see no one else around me. I am alone. Yet, I am not. Sky above, ground below, air all around; somewhere God you are in my world. Help me to see the most basic things I’m missing. I send my Amen to you. My carpenter friend from Nazareth, please send an Amen to me.

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places Number 3

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place: a road sign

Amigo, compadre, my friend from Nazareth; I seem to be seeking direction. Which way do I go? What do these signs actually mean? What’s the best way for us to go in any direction, together? I will go toward you, away from you, forward, and backwards all at the same time. I will believe I’m doing your will. Somewhere along the way, maybe that will happen. Send some Amen my way.

Food for Thought-Common Prayer for Common Places

 

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Common Prayers for Common Places

Place: a ferry

We are on this boat, O God. The water around us is way cold. Divine creator bro, amigo, and compadre; I like the warm comfort of this lounge.  Be with us when we park tightly, breathe air rightly, and smell the sea air which moves us spritely. So, Amen me up some long term flotation love. On my best days, I’m sinking when I’m walking. You are the best.

Food for Thought-Giving Up, Giving In (A Lenten Poem)

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I love Lent,
In more ways,
Than I care,
To hint,
Or even say,
Perhaps it is,
Somewhere within,
February’s days,
My obvious sins,
Are spread about,
Far too thin,
Unable to sing,
Unwilling to shout,
Look at me,
Free of something,
For all to see,
Giving up,
Giving in,
choose a word,
It’s only sin.

–Richard Bryant