By Jackson Droney
God of Creation, as our world revolves around the sun, as we move through the seasons, we are reminded that we are on pilgrimage with you, and that all of your creation exists as our companions. We give you thanks for all you have made, knowing in our hearts that all creation was made good. Help us be prophets for this truth. Help us stand for laws and policies that defend and honor all people in their infinite diversity; the environment, especially the air we breathe and the water we drink; and the animals, plants, and all other life with which we share this earth. Inspire us, Lord, to champion this stewardship in our daily lives through the choices we make – what we choose to eat and what we choose to buy, how we choose to dispose of waste and how we choose to have fun. May our pilgrimage through life be expressed in part by how we care for all of your glorious creation.
God of hope, as we pilgrimage through Lent we are encouraged by the faith of your son, Jesus. For forty days he was tempted in the wilderness, but did not succumb. We too are tempted, Lord. We are tempted by consumerism, vanity, power and violence. These forces put ourselves at the center of our own universes. We are also tempted by apathy, complacency, exhaustion, and nihilism. The forces that tell us that nothing matters, nothing will change, and we shouldn’t even bother trying. All of these forces, left unchecked, separate us from you and from each other. Give us the wisdom to see these forces of evil at work in our own lives. Give us the courage and the will to resist them. We take heart in knowing, Lord, that none of us are perfect. We are all works in progress along the way. May this be a compassionate and nurturing community where we can learn to trust one another in our brokenness, where we can speak truth in love as we grow in faith, where the promise of resurrection inspires us towards reconciliation and wholeness.
God of humility and compassion, help us not to think of ourselves more than we ought to. But Lord, help us also not to think less of ourselves than we ought to. You abide in each of us. You have called each of us by name. You have made each of us worthy of love, dignity and respect. Help us confidently recognize and exercise our gifts – not for the sake of others approval, not for the sake of besting a rival. Rather, help us see our talents and even our possessions as your gifts to us, and may we use those gifts to honor you and your creation. As a community, may we recognize and celebrate your gifts in one another. Sometimes certain gifts are more socially valued than others. Help us see each other’s gifts as you see them, as you created them. Each of us will fail others at times, and others will fail us. Your death and resurrection remind us that each of us is worthy of your forgiveness and grace. Give us the wisdom to know when and how to seek forgiveness, and when and how to offer grace.
God of love, our hearts break at the loss of seventeen young lives this week in Parkland, Florida. As Jesus wept for his friend Lazarus, we know you weep with the families, classmates, and friends in that stricken community. We grieve with the grieving, we mourn with those who mourn. We remember those who have died and those who are ailing. We pray for those we now name aloud and for those we name in our hearts. Our grief for the loss of life in Florida is an angry grief, an exasperated grief. How can this keep happening? Why can’t we stop it? Something is wrong with our politics and laws. Something is wrong with our culture around guns and masculinity and mental healthcare. So much is wrong. We turn to you for answers, for guidance, for courage, for wisdom, for inspiration. Amid all the darkness, you are a light that can not be overcome. In our grief and frustration, keep us close to your light so that we may find comfort and rest, and so that we may be your torchbearers through acts of justice and mercy.
God of transformation, our pilgrimage through life is full of sorrows and joys. The peaks and valleys of life bring growth, compassion, and wisdom. And we are fortunate not make this journey alone. You are with us always. And you send us comrades on the journey – angels in the form of our loved ones, prophets in the form of our teachers and mentors, and saints in the form of our friends and fellow sojourners. As we journey together, you give us lots of opportunities to grow, to heal, and transform. It is never too late to do the right thing, to mend a relationship, to learn something new, to get ourselves “unstuck.” May we recognize our stuck places and blind spots, as individuals and as a community. Help us discern the next steps on our journeys to be all that you are calling us to be. When Jesus beckons us, “Do you want to be made well?” may we be prepared to say, “Yes” and support each other in our journeys towards new life.