man running

A Prayer for Milestones and Marathons

Sunday Morning Worship June 14, 2020 by Senior Minister Dan Smith

Holy One, Spirit of Love and Life,

where do we begin in our prayers to you on this Sabbath day?

Our hearts are overflowing, God,

yet we know you hold it all and you pray within us,

in sighs too deep words.

We turn inward to listen

 for your presence our very hearts.

Speak to us now, in this silence

and through our deepest gratitude and yearnings. We are grateful today for your beauty in all creation

 on a spectacular day that you have made.

 Let us rejoice and be glad.

We are grateful too for the sheer joy

of seeing and hearing our children and yours.

Jesus taught us to begin with them, God,

And to let them lead us.

We thank you for their authenticity and curiosity,

for their honesty, humor and challenge.

Today, even as we hold the sorrow

of not being together for year-end celebrations,

and the fact that graduations via Zoom just aren’t the same,

we celebrate their hard work

 and their milestones on the journey of faith

and pray for you to continue to be their guide.

We pray too for graduates of every age

 that you will keep them and us on a path

of endless learning, growth and transformation.

Continue to pray in us, God, keep us attentive

to all the ways your Spirit is leading us in this moment.

Jesus also taught us that your truth will set us free!

Lead us in the truth that’s being told in the ages-old cries

pouring out in protests and insisting on

the birth right dignity and equality

of Black Lives,

of Indigenous Lives,

of lives of all persons of color.

We hear your truth rising too

in the ongoing cries for dignity and equality

of Trans Lives,

and all LGBTQ lives.

We grieve the loss of so many

of your precious and beloved children

to violence and racial terror.

Remind us God that those who have gone before

now stand in that great cloud of witnesses,

surrounding us, encouraging us, imploring us

 to keep speaking up and acting out your truth

that by your grace and holy spirit power,

together, we may yet set free all who are

strung up, beat down and choke-held

 whether by our violence or our silence.

Help us God to hear other’s voices and pain as our own,

to listen, to learn and to love.

Teach us, God, as we run the race that is set before us,

‘that what is being revealed now

is not merely some sprint

of reading or posting or holding signs

when we can find the time.

Instead God, teach us and give us the strength

to run with urgency what is surely a marathon.

By your power and grace,

transform these tumultuous and uncertain days

into a profound and lasting moment, a marathon even,

of deep remembering, deep repentance, deep reckoning.

Give us each steadfast hope, and conviction

that the truth will set us free.

We know God that to stay on the path

will require daily conditioning,

demanding us to exercise muscles

some of us barely knew we had.

By your truth, God, stretch us.

By your courage, God, push us until it hurts,

until all of us can feel the genuine pain

that is required for lasting change to take hold.

The whole creation waits,

In labor pains groaning.

And when we are overwhelmed by it all, God,

by the sadness at so much loss,

by our anger at failure after failure of leadership,

by the shame of our complicity,

restore us, God,

give us rest.

Help us to drink deep of our spiritual practices

and of the wells of your infinite love and strength.

And return us to your joy!  Yes, joy!

Enliven and en-joy our work

of love and justice and peace

until your sweet kin-dom banquet comes

and your will be done.

These things we lift up, God,

as we join with our brother Jesus

in the prayer he taught us:

Our Creator who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us,

and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.