Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011 - Pastor's Prayer

Calvary Presbyterian Church, Hawthorne, CA

Great God Almighty,
Creator of the Heavens and the Earth,
You have been our dwelling place throughout the ages.
Before the world was cast by your word, your love for us was already established … your grace already at work …
From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
Your Word anchors the universe.
Your light shines in deepest space and in the tiniest of creatures.
You number the hairs of our head.
A sparrow falling to the ground catches your attention.
You are at work in all things.
In all things for good.

It is right and good, O God, for us to be here today.
To hear the words of Jesus.
To think and pray.
To sing and celebrate.
To enlarge our understanding.
To know you better.
To love you all the more.

We pray, O God, for our world.
We pray for the leaders of the nations.
For parliaments and legislatures and judges.
We pray for peace.
We pray for your blessing on women and men of good faith.
Those who dare to see a new world, and strive for it.
Those who refuse to believe the gospels of violence and power and nationalism.
And believe, instead, in the Prince of Peace, and walk with him on the pathways of humility, kindness and justice.

We pray for President Obama and his family.
We pray for governor Brown and for mayor Guidi.
We pray for all those who take up the burdens of government.
And we pray for the citizens of America.

Deliver our nation, we pray, from the sins of nationalism and pride.
Deliver us from the sins of greed and wealth.
Deliver us from the sins that divide one against another.
Deliver us from the sins that impoverish many and enrich the few.
Deliver us from the sins that shut minds and harden hearts.

Bless Calvary Presbyterian Church, we pray.
Bless us, that we might be a blessing to our neighborhood, our community, our world.
Bless us, that we might have the light of Christ in our hearts and minds.
Bless us, that we might be the salt of the earth, a joyful witness to your work and your wisdom.
Bless us, we pray, that we might do your will on earth as it is in heaven.

Watch over us, we pray, in the remains of the day.
Breathe into us anew the Holy Spirit.
Use us, we pray.
And send us forth from this place with a fresh sense of hope, because you are at work in all things, in all things for good.
And to you, O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all praise, honor and glory.
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, on earth as it is in heaven … 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Southern Religion - Some Unpleasant Observations

Having lived and pastored in W.Va and in Ok, I'm well aware of the "violent pulpit" - the cajoling, the threatening, the hellfire and brimstone, the laws and the punishments.

 It enters into the air folks breath and the water they drink ... along with the lack of unions and good pay, the terrible racism that still plagues so many areas, poor public education, too many private schools, and home-schooling, a love of the military and guns, too many young girls having too many children (no birth control and no abortion), a male sexual ethic out of whack and subservient women, a god-controls-all-things mentality that shrinks human responsibility, a punishing god who's going to kill the enemy and send 'em all packing to hell, forever; and a religion that's all about being saved, baptized and going to heaven, with a god who killed his own son for the sake of something good. Sorry to go on and on, but Southern religion is, for me, mostly a dysfunction.

This note was written into some questions raised about a recent assessment of the most violent states in America - click HERE to read.