And a voice came from above, “You are my beloved child; I love you.” – Luke 3:22
Baptized in water, sealed by the Spirit, marked with the sign of Christ our king:
Born of the Spirit, we are God’s children; joyfully now God’s praise we sing.
Michael Saward, tune: BUNESSAN
Holy One, you who love us beyond measure, you who regard each of us as your own beloved child, we come to you thirsty for the Good News; thirsty for forgiveness, thirsty for justice, thirsty for healing for this earth and all its peoples. Open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the realities of the world in which we live, that we might be filled with your compassion for all those who are in need or in pain, those who are lonely or in danger, those who are without a voice, and those for whom daily living is a trial beyond belief.
Hear us, Gracious God; your mercy is great.
We pray for all those for whom home has become a dangerous place: for the refugees fleeing to the United States from Central America; for Rahaf Al-Qunun, a young Saudi woman who has been granted refugee status by the United Nations and is being welcomed by Australia; for people from South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria who have been forced to flee home for their very lives. May they find a home in your compassionate love, and may we do our best to provide that love in our own lives and neighborhoods.
Hear us, Loving God; your mercy is great.
We pray for all those for whom justice has become a fleeting dream: for the people of the DR Congo, where the presidential election is still in dispute; for Nazanin Zafhari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian citizen who has been held in an Iranian prison for 1000 days and is being denied medical care; for the countless numbers at the southern border of the United States who long to have their requests for asylum heard; for those caught up in the United States criminal justice system for minor crimes and misdemeanors. Grant us courage to speak up and speak out when we see such injustices; grant us the awareness to see these people as our sisters and brothers, your own beloved children.
Hear us, Just God; your mercy is great.
We pray for those for whom freedom of speech is at risk, especially for the people of Venezuela and Guatemala. When they need someone to speak for them, let us not turn away but speak out in ways that are both daring and healing, that the leaders may know that their citizens have sisters and brothers in other places who care deeply.
Hear us, Courageous God; your mercy is great.
We pray, with thanksgiving, for the ways in which the schools of Capetown, South Africa, are making welcoming accommodations for transgender students, letting them know that they are of value, telling them with actions that they are God’s beloved children. Open our hearts to reach out to those in our own countries, in our own neighborhoods, in our own families, who need our hospitality and our acceptance, even as we need yours.
Hear us, Welcoming God; your mercy is great.
All of this we pray in the name of the One who Loves, the One who Comes, the One who calls us each sister or brother. Amen.