Do we believe we are made in the image of God, or is our God made in our very finite image?” –Rhoda C. Martin
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!” (Eph 3: 20 – 21 The Message)
“Give your gift, whatever it is, great or small – God will bless and use it…” Anon.
God, creator of us all, who breathed life into each one of us, forgive us when our narrowness of understanding of you and your heart leads to our spreading hatred, abuse and negativity about people who are our brothers and sisters. As Jesus suffered and died from this outpouring, so others die today throughout the world.
We grieve and remember the homosexual men murdered by ISIL and others for their sexual orientation, the women and children abused by men who think they count for nothing, and others in positions of influence and power such as in the United Kingdom, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Chile, and so many other countries who prevent the perpetrators from being held accountable. We pray for honesty and openness where all such events are being investigated.
Lord, bring justice for the oppressed and change the hearts of the oppressors.
As Jesus gave thanks and taught us to follow his example, we offer our gratitude for those who continue to respond to the needs of those–often our neighbors–who lack food and basic provisions. We give thanks for the many throughout the world still helping those in Nepal and other areas of natural disaster to rebuild homes and schools, planting crops for food. Often this starts from one or two in local communities setting up small fund-raising projects and, in turn, inspiring others to look outwards and join in.
Lord, give us eyes to see how much we have to be thankful for.
Remembering how Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled for their lives and became refugees, we give thanks for those who, despite terrible strain and difficulties, continue welcoming the homeless, stateless and refugees. Strengthen these fleeing from danger and violence or from economic deprivation and the lack of basic clean water and sanitation. When we take going to our place of worship for granted, remind us that for so many, it could cost them their lives.
Lord, help us to be compassionate and caring for the vulnerable and weak. Grow us to be passionate about tackling the issues which force so many to flee their homes.
Lord, help us to remember we, small as we are as individuals, are made to live in community with each other and you and to be channels of your love, grace and power. Help us not to be afraid of the endless possibilities living our lives open to your grace entails, and instead of wanting to fix everything according to our own understanding, help us to be whom You want us and have created us to be, thereby enabling the transforming power of your Spirit to flow through us into your world. Lord, let there be light, love and peace rather than darkness, hatred and violence. In your name we ask it, Amen.