Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on Advent I, or during the Green Season at the start of a new year of programming.
I beg you pray with me this morning for all of the various spiritual leaders of the world, and particularly the clergy of our church whose tasks so often resemble herding cats.
Inspire and strengthen them. Give them boundless patience. And a sense of humor couldn’t hurt.
My sisters and brothers, our political leaders are so often in over their heads with the problems of the world which are, far too often, of our own making.
Holy Spirit of God, inspire all of the leaders of our world to do their best – far better than they have ever intended or could possibly imagine. Shower them with wisdom, courage and good will.
News stories weigh us down with worrisome fearful problems; sin endlessly vexes us.
Our help is in the name of our God who is mercy beyond imagining. There is none like the Lord our God.
Echoing down these long centuries we still hear the prophet Amos crying woe for those who trample the needy and bring ruin on the poor.
Spirit and Advocate, remind us when we are thoughtless and when our actions or our inactions harm others – even the Other Nations – all creatures great and small with whom we share the web of life.
Let us lift up the dying and rejoice with the dead for whom God has tirelessly searched and now has found.
The race is nearly over for our dying sisters and brothers, their earthly tasks nearly complete. Lord of life, carry them away in your arms to join the blest cloud of holy witnesses who patiently wait for the rest of us to fulfill our tasks and complete our race.
Father Creator, Jesus the Christ, Spirit Advocate, we lift up the concerns of our little community.
Oh God, you knew before we thought to ask: Young families need jobs that pay a living wage. Local farmers need enough rain in season and viable markets – as do artists and crafts-persons who work to add to the beauty of your world.
Now here is a poorly kept secret: (feel free to blab it all over the place.)
In forgiveness is Grace.
In forgiveness we are transformed.
In forgiveness is hope.
In forgiveness we are made whole.
In forgiveness we begin anew.
In forgiveness we are bathed in God’s love.
So let forgiveness begin here with ourselves and with each other.
And let’s be hasty to love and profligate with forgiveness.
Bless us Lord and bless our church and community as we turn our faces toward the bright and ever-green promise of this new season.
Now let us all shout a loud Amen.
These prayers, written by Thomas Robb, were first used at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Port Townsend, Washington on September 12, 2010 – which we called “Launching Sunday” because it started a new year of programs at our parish. To my ears, the fresh tone and moments of surprise in these prayers also make them a good fit for the start of Advent and the new liturgical year.