Call to Prayer (and to action) | Psalm 146

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. –  1 Peter 4:8 (NRSV)

Before the election two years ago, I wrote about being the family of God (note: I was talking about the Church not the United States, don’t get me started on “Christian nation”).  We have a certain responsibility within the Church to treat one another with respect and keep our focus on Jesus.  This means we don’t get to choose who’s in the family.

God’s family looks more like the one the kids put in the manger than the pretty one we set up with such care each Christmas. The messy, the stinky, the outcast, the rich man, the everyday guy, male and female – this is God’s definition of family. God’s Word says that we are children of God[1], co-heirs with Christ[2]. Jesus says my Father’s house has many rooms[3] and the table is large[4].

Family isn’t defined by those who look like us, are called our children by either blood-line or adoption, or even live in the same country. Family isn’t defined by who you voted for and who was elected. Family is defined by God[5].

I pray that Christian or not, our country will seek to listen and work together. For those of us who do call Jesus Lord, I pray that we keep our focus on Jesus. The Church – you and me – have a chance to witness to Christ’s commandment to love and Christ’s ministry of reconciliation.

On the Sunday after the election, I posted my sermon and communion liturgy.  I still stand by God’s call for the Church and our ministry of reconciliation.  But the Church is fractured and has deviated from her call of a ministry of reconciliation to all people.  We have allowed our secular preferences to cloud God’s mission in the world.  We have let our fear of losing power nurture hate and racism in our country – and our world.  In some cases, we have aligned ourselves with hateful rhetoric and injustice towards the oppressed.

The Church is fractured and has deviated from her call of a ministry of reconciliation to all people. It's election day in America. We have much to be thankful for - and much to confess. #election #voteforlove Click To Tweet

It’s election day in America.  We have much to be thankful for – and much to confess.  Psalm 146 guides us in how we are to treat the vulnerable among us.

 

Call to Prayer

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Not only will we have to repent for the sins of bad people; but we also will have to repent for the appalling silence of good people.”   Let us break our silence as we bring our prayers of adoration and confession before the Lord.

Prayer of Adoration and Confession with Psalm 146

With our whole being, we bring our praise before you, our holy God.  Made in your image, we find comfort in being called your children.  But in our comfort, we can forget that this is not our own doing.  Even as you have lifted us up, you call us to do the same.   

God, the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them:

Forgive us when we dishonor your creation.

God, who is faithful forever:

Forgive us when we are weak.

God, who gives justice to people who are oppressed:

Forgive us when we turn an eye to injustice or when our voices remain silent.

God, who gives bread to people who are starving:

Forgive us when we are satisfied with our full stomachs rather than unsatisfied that others remain empty.

Lord, who frees prisoners:

Forgive us when we keep them shackled to the past.

Lord, who makes the blind see:

Forgive us when we are blind guides, leading others astray.

Lord, who straightens up those who are bent low:

Forgive us when we deny our part in systems of injustice.

Lord, who loves the righteous:

Forgive our self-righteousness.

Lord, who protects immigrants, who helps orphans and widows:

Forgive us when we consider them least – or fail to consider them at all –  and do not offer a hand.

God in your mercy.

Lord hear our prayer.

silent confession

God, it is in you we trust.  

God, it is you who saves us.  

God, it is you who are faithful, from one generation to the next.

Restore us to the joy of your salvation.  Amen.

 

Words of Life Isaiah 40:28-31 (NRSV)

Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

The LORD does not faint or grow weary.  The LORD’s understanding is unsearchable.  The LORD gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

 

I’m a pastor, so include words of forgiveness with our confession.  Knowing that’s God’s forgiveness is available to us is the only reason we can truly and honestly confess that which we would try to rationalize.  But I don’t believe it’s time for us to celebrate forgiveness but to atone for our sins.  Cornel West said, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”

It’s election day in America.  Get out there and vote for love.

 


If you are interested in more prayers like this, consider checking out my book:

Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for WorshipPrayers for the People is a collection of prayers for worship. These prayers offer the worshipping community fresh perspectives for praying the words of Scripture, using current language and references. Cross-referenced to the Revised Common Lectionary, pastors seeking to lead their people in prayer have found a relevant and beautiful source for worship planning.

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