Gracious God and Astounding Lord,
You come into our presence with authority. We are once again amazed by your message. The things you say and do are like nothing we have seen or heard. Yet, in our complacency, we still manage to take you for granted. You do not preach with anger or rage. You speak with an authenticity that reflects your love for us. For you the law is not a tool to accomplish some distant political end. In hearing you, we understand that if scripture does not bring us together as sisters and brothers in the kingdom of God, it is impossible to do it on our own. O Christ, we need you. Your words come alive with compassion and hope. They pull us together when we would prefer to be alone and driven by shallow self-interests. Your words convict us to act, inspire, and do more than we ever thought possible. When we are bound routine, the rituals of our lives become acts of service and love.
You have heard the names of the loved ones we have lifted this morning; both those spoken and those shared in silence. They are near and dear to us. Some we know by name, some by situation, for others, only you Lord, can truly understand their needs. For those suffering pain, loss, grief, fear, sickness, and addiction, we ask that you draw them close to your heart at this time. Be with their families, friends, and others who support them. Give them strength to continue on their journeys of recovery toward wholeness and healing. You rejoice with us in our celebrations and you walk with us in our sorrows.
Hear us now as we pray in the name of Christ Jesus, who taught us to pray…