Sunday, September 13, 2009

Prayers of the People - September 13, 2009

Prayers of the People – September 13, 2009

We thank you, O God, for our faith …

The work of your Holy Spirit,

Calling us to Christ.

Making each of us a part of Christ,

And imparting the grace of Christ to each of us!

One and all.

We thank you, O God, for our faith!

Once we lost, but now we are found.

Once we were blind, but now we see.

You came to us when we were lost …

You found us in the wilderness of sin …

You took us home to Christ.

You touched our eyes, so that we might see.

The wonder and the glory of Christ himself.

In your light, we see light.

LORD Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,

Be patient with us, we pray, as you were patient with your disciples.

Teach us about God the Father.

Teach us how to pray.

Teach us how to carry our cross and give our lives for your sake.

Today, O God, we pray for the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow and our vice-moderator, the Rev. Byron Wade …

We pray for the Rev. Linda Culbertson, our Presbytery Executive … we pray our Presbytery committees and all our churches.

We pray for our pastors, O God, our seminary professors and our missionaries far and wide.

Help us, we pray, to remember the larger church.

To see beyond the walls of Covenant on the Corner,

because we belong to a great Presbyterian Family, O God,

A rich and faithful heritage.

And more than that, O God,

We belong to the whole church of Jesus Christ,

Stretching back to the very first disciples,

Reaching forward to heaven’s gate.

Help us, we pray, to remember the larger church!

Today, O God, we remember those who lost loved ones in the fall of the Twin Towers … be merciful to them, we pray.

We pray for our nation today.

We pray our President and our Senator and Representatives, and for our Supreme Court …

We pray for our governors and our mayors, state legislators and council members, for you have called them all to public service …

We pray for our soldiers and those who command them.

We pray for our nation, O God.

Help us, we pray, as followers of Christ, to be peacemakers.

To offer wise counsel and sage advice.

To look to Christ in all things …

To live above and beyond the immediate claims of nation and state, city and home … for we are, O God, your people – your people in the midst of the nations … we have a citizenship in heaven, by your grace, and that’s where our treasure is – and where our treasure is, that’s where our heart is, too … for we would be Christ in all things.

Help us, O LORD, to keep our heart in the right place.

To be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

To love you greatly, and

To love our neighbor ethically.

To be beholden to none, because we owe everything to you.

To owe no one anything except the debt of love.

Forgive us, we pray, for our sins are many.

Heal us, we pray, for our hurts go deep.

Lead us, we pray, for we are lost on our own.

Use us, we pray, for we are yours.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All glory, laud and honor, to you, O God.

Now and forever more.

World without end.

Saying together as our LORD taught us, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven …

Friday, September 11, 2009

Whom to Choose? Pilate or Jesus?

Pilate asks: “What’s truth?” and Jesus remains silent.
Because truth is Jesus the Christ, standing there in front of Pilate – now get the picture: here’s Pilate, wearing expensive clothing, hair well-done, in a palace, surrounded by Imperial Guards with shiny weapons, beautiful draperies, servants attending to Pilate’s every need, fine food and drink … the lap of luxury … and then Jesus, hands bound with tough leather straps, blood seeping through his tattered robe, hair tangled with spit and sweat … already half-way to death …
Between these two, you’re standing there in the corner – you’re witness to this encounter – a Jewish prophet from Galilee and mighty Pilate in his palace … and you ask yourself, “Who’s telling the truth?”
How might you answer?
Come one now, tell yourself the truth?
Might you not be inclined to go with Pilate?
Rather than this beaten and tattered man swaying unsteadily on his bloody feet.
Pilate questions him with an imperious voice.
Jesus is horse from thirst, his mouth swollen from the fists that easily found their mark.
Who might you choose?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September 6, 2009 - Prayers of the People

We are here, LORD … once again we are here, by grace and by mercy, with faith, hope and love … coming from the four corners of the world, north, south, east and west – Westchester and Culver City, Inglewood and El Segundo, Manhattan and Venice Beach … as different as night and day, yet all the same, LORD.

We all hunger and thirst for life.

We all yearn for meaning and purpose.

We want to be real.

We want the last chapter of our life to be well-written.

We don’t want to be mean-spirited, LORD, though sometimes we are.

We don’t want to be selfish, O God, though self-interest is always sitting next to us, whispering its beguiling advice.

We don’t want to be small in spirit.

We don’t want to be little in love.

We want to be big in faith, O God.

And for that, we need you.

We need your love.

Your world-embracing, life-transforming, love.

The love of Jesus of Nazareth.

His compassion and wisdom.

His vision and virtue.

His love and his mercy.

Remind us, O God, that we CAN have these things.

We can be more like Christ than we dare imagine.

Here in this place, O God,

Covenant on the Corner,

We renew our vows to you.

We pledge anew our lives to the ways of Jesus our LORD.

We surrender to him.

We put our lives on the line for him.

With Jesus our Lord, we take up our cross.

We go to work.

We make this a better world …

We will not rest, O God, until the work be done.

We will not lay our heads down until what’s needed is finished.

We will pay the price.

Give above and beyond.

Go the extra mile.

We will be yours, O God, a city set on the hill, a light that no one can hide …

LORD, make us great, we pray.

Great in the ways of Christ.

Great in our vision and great in our love.

Today, O God, some simple prayers:

For firefighters in the mountains.

For police offices on the street.

For governors and mayors.

For the President of our Land.

For judges and legislators.

And all whom you have called to public service.

Your blessing be upon them all, we pray.

And our regard and our respect.

Today, O simple prayers:

For health and strength in the days that remain.

Wisdom and courage for the tasks at hand.

Employment and opportunity.

Enough food to satisfy.

Friends to enjoy and families to love.

Enough laughter to cleanse the soul.

Sufficient safety and comfort, O LORD.

For us, and for everyone else, too.

Because you’ve made the pie big enough, LORD.

Big enough for everyone to have enough.

So we pray, O God:

Never let us rest.

Never let us be entirely satisfied.

Until everyone is safe.

And the world be at peace.

In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done …