My mind is overloaded and whirling. My mind is blank. My rational mind is leaping from one world event, so often catastrophes and suffering, to the next of fear and injustice. A sense of overwhelming helplessness and anger threatens to engulf me. My soul whispers, “Be still, and know that I am God…. and there is none beside me.” The contrast and dissonance threatens to throw me off-balance with sorrow, anger, frustration and pain for all the situations and people I cannot “fix.” The great delusion of the ego wanting to be “in control.”
O God, still us in our being, so we can hear Your voice, gain Your discernment that dispels our confusion and fears. Let us seek and find Your peace, not to escape from reality but to give us calm to see things in their proper perspective. Give us simplicity where we have complexity and root us in reality when we are in the grip of fantasy or fear. Give us the peace of Jesus, who found tranquility at the heart of the storm.
Creator God: hear us and answer our prayer.
In this month of LGBT+ awareness, the almost inevitable mixture of hatred, oppression, love and support are everywhere in the world from France, Canada, Hungary, and India to England where the Methodist Church of England has voted to allow same-sex marriages and where Paul Bayes, the Bishop of Liverpool, has called for a gender-neutral marriage canon law ‘as a necessary but not sufficient first step’ towards equality within the Church of England. We pray for older people who are finding it necessary to go back “into the closet” as they seek residential care, but we give thanks for support groups springing up in the UK to support them and even planning to build a purpose-built facility. We lament that such segregation is necessary rather than that we recognise that “Love is Love.”
Creator God: hear us and enlighten us.
While some countries are making great progress with vaccination programs, so many other countries in many parts of the world are struggling with supplies and distribution. In the last week alone there has been an increase in cases and deaths in Africa by almost 40%; the World Health Organization identifies this increase in at least 12 countries, with Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia, Rwanda and Tunisia worst affected. North Korea is facing severe food shortages and indications of high levels of COVID-19 without vaccinations or treatment being available. India, still in the grip of an out-of-control COVID pandemic, is also dealing with an even more dangerous epidemic of tens of thousands of cases of mucormycosis – a deadly black fungus – which can have up to a 50% death rate. Drugs to treat it are in extremely short supply as it is usually a rare condition, but experts believe that COVID and its treatment has led to this explosion of cases. Meanwhile other countries like the UK are stockpiling COVID vaccinations to help them “live with” the virus.
Creator God: forgive us our self-centredness and awaken us to the reality of common kinship in You, whoever and wherever we are, so we can live compassionately and care for each other as family.
Natural disasters continue to cause havoc, with the heat dome over parts of the USA and Canada causing death and power and water shortages. Crops are threatened in so many parts of the world, leading to increased suffering of the poor while the rich are protected in their fiscally secure bubbles.
We give thanks for those of many faiths and none working in so many small and often unseen ways, making differences in their own communities but arising from love for their neighbors. Remind us that these examples are so very much a true reflection of your heart.
Creator God: bless them and all who seek to do Your will.
*Trusting in God’s forgiveness, let us in silence confess our failings and acknowledge our part in the pain of the world.
Before God, with the people of God, we confess to turning away from God in the ways we wound our lives, the lives of others, and the life of the world.
May God forgive us, Christ renews us, and the Spirit enable us to grow in love. AMEN.
*Editor’s note: Prayer text from here on is borrowed from The Daily Office of Iona Abbey Worship Book, under copyright of The Iona Community.