Gracious and loving God,
During this season of Lent, as we journey with your Son to the cross and through the cross, we admit that we are fearful. We are scared — scared to let go, scared to join in, scared to open up. We are scared to open our hearts, our time, our homes and ourselves.
Yet, Great Comforter, we come to you so that we may articulate and share one another’s fears and burdens, as we know you always receive ours. Hold us in your healing embrace, all who need you this day. Breathe new life and purpose into all who are suffering, who are in pain, who are wandering in the wilderness, unable to turn to you. O God, there are so many in need of your tender loving care in this broken and hurting world.
Holy One, we pray for our queer Catholic siblings upon learning the news this week that the Vatican has banned gay union blessings. Holy One, there are no limits or confines to your love. It is a gift that you share abundantly and freely and wish for us to do the same. We grieve how often communities of faith and religious leaders have perpetuated violence against our LGBTQ siblings. We mourn how often humanity, we ourselves, fall short of understanding the expansiveness of your love. Give us the courage to celebrate and to stand up for all forms of liberating and life-giving love and relationships.
O Mother and Father of us all, you claim each of us as your beloved child. Today we repent for how we have fallen short of loving our neighbors as ourselves, in particular how we have fallen short of caring for and protecting our Asian American and Pacific Islander siblings. Let us name how the violent murders in Atlanta, Georgia, USA this week are rooted in racism, white supremacy, a history of misogyny and stereotyping directed at Asian women. We pray for the eight souls who were murdered. including six Asian women, in these hate crimes and acts of terror. Holy Spirit console the grieving families, friends, their communities whose pain and trauma is too often ignored or cast aside. Let us turn toward, instead of away from, this grief and pain. May we be catalyzed to confront the roots of racism and xenophobia in our midst, and even within ourselves. God, show us how our being and wellbeing are tethered to one another.
Holy One, our grief hangs heavy as we pass the one-year mark of Breonna Taylor’s killing. Her life was cut short, and justice remains elusive as white supremacy keeps a hold on our systems and power structures. We are grateful for all who confront this evil with strength and offer a transformative, alternative way with truth-telling, accountability, and mercy. Let us not just proclaim that Black Lives Matter, but build a world where Black lives matter.
Holy One, you are anywhere and everywhere. We uplift to your safekeeping all of those in need of your protection and comfort this day. We pray for your children in Myanmar as the most powerful Buddhist monks’ association has called on the junta to end violence against protesters. We pray for the citizens of Tunisia and Libya as their political leaders meet for the first time since a UN-backed unity government took power in the 10 year war-torn country of Libya. We pray for those in Mali who have lost loved ones where thirty-three soldiers were killed and fourteen wounded in an attack on a military post in the Gao region.
May all who are weary and oppressed find people and communities around them that are nurturing, strengthening, and freeing. Redeemer, you bless us through the self-giving love of Jesus Christ, and through all the ways that Christ’s love is embodied. May we proclaim it by teaching and living out our faith, that the love of God and neighbor is the heart of the Gospel.
Coax us out of our fear, Compassionate One, so that we may know your radical, amazing grace — in all the big and seemingly small moments of each day we live for you, in you. So, we lift up our joys as well. We give thanks for love and light and sun and this equinox. We give thanks for all those who helped us find our way in the recent storm. We say thank you and amen to all those people and encounters that bring smiles to our faces so that our hearts burst. Help us to remember that sensation, which is your love, O God.
As the great social justice leader, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin asked: “Courage is a crucial virtue — will we be scared to death, or scared to life?” Give us courage for the wilderness days and nights ahead. Walk with us this Lenten Season, as you walked with your Son, the Risen Christ.