Pastoral Prayer

Pastoral Prayer

April 15, 2018

 

Some things are just hard to believe, O God.

It’s hard to believe that Jim is retiring in a few weeks and we won’t have the same sort of relationship with him anymore.

It’s hard to believe that after four years of praying every Sunday for Esther Usman, we finally have a picture of her. We can see with our own eyes this person who has been floating in our minds and held in our hearts these last four years.

It’s hard to believe that after a winter that seemed to stretch on and on, that spring is actually taking hold. Yes, there may be a little bit of chill still left in the forecast, but the world is becoming green again.

It’s hard to believe that change has come or change is coming, and even more so, that the change that is overtaking us will bring some good thing.

It’s hard to believe, and yet that’s what we are called to do: to believe.

 

We are called by you, O God, to have faith in you;

We are called to imagine what we have yet to see;

We are called to have hope even when we still feel the sharp tug of despair or discouragement;

We are called to look at the world with more wonder than cynicism;

We are called to build a foundation not just of responsibility, but of joyfulness;

We are called to believe.

 

Can you help us with this, O God?

Can you give us more courage and more strength than we can seem to find within ourselves?

Can you make the case for us in a way that is similar to the way Jesus made the case for his disciples: Walking into the room, showing them his hands and feet, eating a bite of food with a body that was no longer dead?

 

We know that we are often selling you short, O God.

We confess that.

And we are often selling ourselves short, expecting less from our faith rather than more.

We are so quick to not only grasp the short straw, but to intentionally choose it.

 

But you, O God, are deeper, wider, mightier,

more peaceable, more compassionate, more patient,

more colorful, more loving, more engaging

more miracle-making, more hope-inducing, more imagination-stretching…

than we ever expected.

 

Open our eyes to all of that, dear God.

Open our hearts to all of that, dear God,

So that when the change comes, we can ride along with it

rather than wielding our uncertainties and disappointments

as weapons arrayed against an unknown future.

 

You hold the past, the present, and the future in your hands, O God.

And you hold us in your heart, O God.

 

So now let us rest in that,

even as we pray for strength and courage and healing

and restoration and reconciliation and blessing

for all we have named this day in our prayers.

 

And grant to us all your peace, O God,

through Jesus Christ our Risen Lord.

 

Amen.