As the scheduled writer for this week, I, like so many others, am finding life in its beauty and complexity challenging, dispiriting, frustrating, with more questions than answers and often don’t want to hear what I think God is trying to say to me as the way forward: more of the same old, same old…? Then in the middle of the physical grey, cold weather this morning a few moments of clear blue sky, and sunshine making the melting frost and dankness glisten with sparkling light – a metaphor to me of the glimpses of God’s glory and light in the encroaching murk. A hymn that we may be using at church this Sunday sprang to mind as I prayed for the Holy Spirit to come and lighten my darkness to what she wants me to pray.
Summoned By the God Who Made Us ¹
Summoned by the God who made us
rich in our diversity,
gathered in the name of Jesus,
richer still in unity:
CHORUS: Let us bring the gifts that differ
and, in splendid, varied ways,
sing a new Church into being,
one in faith and love and praise.
As we bring ourselves and all our baggage, whatever that may be,
Incarnate God, accept our love and praise: Lord, hear our prayer.
Radiant risen from the water,
robed in holiness and light,
male and female in God’s image,
male and female, God’s delight.
Jesus, as we followed you through baptism to the new beginning you offer us, we celebrate the differences you have created in us whether male or female. We hold up for protection and relief from the dangers, abuse, violence, imprisonment and even death encountered by so many in our own countries and throughout the world for those very differences.
Among others we remember our brothers and sisters in India, Myanmar, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the USA, UK, Spain, Morocco and Venezuela. We give thanks and pray your protection and courage for all who work for justice, equality and the right to be whom you have created them to be, in love – and in your own image.
Jesus, Light of the world, bring light into the dark places so Your new way of justice and peace can begin: Lord, hear our prayer.
Trust the goodness of creation;
trust the Spirit strong within,
dare to dream the vision promised,
sprung from seed of what has been.
We pray for visionaries and for ordinary folk, both, in their own way living and persuading by example how to live in harmony with all that you have created in order to maintain life as you envisaged it here on earth. We build and re-learn often what others who lived before us knew and what so many indigenous peoples still strive to do despite the efforts of too many cloth-eared tycoons and politicians.
We pray for those in Russia, Scandinavia and the Americas suffering from the rapid melting of the permafrost which literally underpins their existence; those where water, the source of so much life, is either polluted, scarce or totally lacking such as in Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, so many countries in Africa and even in Nepal. Yet so many countries continue to pollute our common rivers, oceans and atmosphere. We give thanks for the many efforts taking place to educate and change these attitudes and practices and pray that COP26 will not have just been another public relations talking shop but with actions undertaken to meet this planet-wide emergency. Are we willing for this to affect our lives?
Holy Spirit, hope of the world, energise us, disturb us, inspire us: Lord, hear our prayer.
Bring the hopes of every nation;
bring the art of every race.
Weave a song of peace and justice;
let it sound through time and space.
Inspire us, to listen – not merely to be silent while composing our response for the next available pause – so we might truly learn, encounter, hear and see the dreams and visions of others, and so be enriched by the interplay and exchange of those whose lives differ from ours. You the Servant King, show us a new life-enhancing, life-fulfilling way of being so that truly your new way of being human can heal and transform our fear-filled, damaged people and planet where too many are only surviving not living. This in truth can and will be – since it is your will – a transfigured yet beautiful world and life.
Creator God, community of Love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: hear the prayers of our hearts.
Draw together at one table
all the human family;
shape a circle ever wider
and a people ever free.
Holy One, your Truth revealed to us in human form in Jesus, makes us free. We thank you and praise you. Lead us in this way.
- “Summoned By the God Who Made Us,” Lyrics: Delores Dufner OSB
Tune: ‘Holy Manna’, The Colombian Harmony, Cincinnati, 1825
Or, ‘Nettleton’American melody in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part II, 1813
Accompaniment tracks: Holy Manna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d-nIIq4Ef8