Archives for June 2009

A Prayer for Ordinary Time…

Summer is officially here now, Lord.

The slow season, 
the travel season, 
the take-a step-away-from-the-usual season:
the usual schedule,
the usual people,
the usual obligations,
the usual expectations,
the usual….
And our church calendar coincides so nicely with our
day-timer calendar!
For on our church calendar, we’ve moved from Eastertide 
into the season of Pentecost –
the season of Common Time, 
of Ordinary Time.
I love that!
Ordinary Time.
And sometimes, Lord, it begins to feel like we do
indeed have to move away from the usual,
in order to truly step into the ordinary!
To let go of the clutter
and the appointments
and the activities of our friends and various family members,
in order to just sort of settle down into a
and however
and whatever 
it takes,
I am glad and grateful that it happens, Lord.
I need some ordinary time!
And I’m pretty sure that these friends,
gathered here to worship you today,
that they need some ordinary time, too.
So this morning, I want to say ‘thank you’
for this time,
this stretch of ordinary time from now until August – 
time to stretch out a little,
time to sit and talk
with friends,
time to be in the yard or the patio or the park
and listen to the children play,
time to watch the shadows lengthen 
in the afternoon sunlight.
Thank you for friends,
and children
and parks
and summer sunlight.
And I want to thank you for the space that
this ordinary time opens up inside of us –
space to think,
space to remember,
space to pray,
space to dream.
Thank you for minds,
thank you for memories;
thank you for prayer,
thank you for dreams.
Thank you, too, for the catch-up opportunities
that come with ordinary time.
Sometimes those we most need to play catch-up with
are those people that we live with
or care about the most.
Your word for us today is a powerful one,
and it speaks to our need to honor commitments made,
in marriage,
in friendship,
in relationship.
And a primary ingredient in honoring and keeping commitments
is time – plain old, ordinary time.
Time spent talking,
Time spent listening,
Time spent sitting or walking or working together
with those whom you’ve given us to love and live with.
So I thank you today for heartfelt conversations
that are open and honest,
filled with laughter or with tears.
I thank you for people who listen to me.
And I thank you for space and time without speech,
yet rich with companionship and shared history.
Even as I say these words of thanks, O, Lord,
I am keenly aware that there are many here today
who find it hard to say ‘thank you’ just now.
Some find that ordinary time stretches out endlessly,
with not enough companionship
or meaningful conversation to fill the hours and days.
Some are living with loss and grief,
unable to imagine a joy-filled future.
Some have given their commitments full-hearted attention for years
and find that now, they’re holding nothing but dust,
the dust of broken hearts, shattered dreams and great reservoirs of regret. 
O, Lord, have mercy!
Have mercy on those who are lonely this day.
Have mercy on those who are grieving this day.
Have mercy on those whose marriages
or families
are fighting for life this day.
Have mercy, O Lord.  Have mercy.
Grant, O Lord, that we who rejoice in ordinary time
may extend your arms of grace and mercy toward
those who don’t.
For we need each other to be a living and vibrant community of Jesus in this place.
The wonderful thing about ordinary is that….it’s ordinary!
Sometimes we’re doing great,
and sometimes we’re not.
Sometimes we’re rejoicing in life,
and sometimes we’re struggling to survive.
Sometimes we’re buoyant and believing,
and sometimes we’re downhearted and doubting.
But by your grace and through your power,
we’re in this together,
reminding one another of the gift of ordinary time.
And we do this through Jesus Christ,
who chose to leave his extraordinary heavenly home
and live a wondrously ordinary human life.
Glory be!

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday…

Holy & Magnificent Triune God,
Father, Son and Spirit;
Creator, Redeemer, Comforter.
MIghty KIng, Gentle Shepherd, Sweet Wind of Grace:
we cry with the prophets of old,
“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
The whole earth is full of your glory!”
We are glad and grateful for the fellowship you share
as One God in Three Persons,
and for your gracious invitation to us
to step into the circle of your eternal love.

We do not begin to understand the mystery of your Being,
but we are grateful for Who you are,
for how you work,
and for your presence with us.
We hold this mystery with fear and trembling
and with love and devotion,
acknowledging that you are God.
And we are not.

Forgive us for so often living as though the opposite were true –
that we are somehow in charge here
and you are some kind
of accessory,
or Interesting Idea,
or convenient scapegoat,
or junior partner in our many plans and endeavors.
We can sing so easily and beautifully that
‘we surrender all,’ that ‘we give up our rights,’
and ‘hand you our dreams,’
but we have this terrile tendency to snatch them back
when the singing stops!
Forgive us for too often forgetting to
offer you the worship you are due,
the worship of a holy and whole life,
lived for your glory,
for the service of others,
and for our own true fulfillment.

And oh, Lord God,
forgive us for searching for that fulfillment in so many other places –
in money
or family
or relationships
or popularity
or good grades
or ‘success,’
whatever that is.

We come before you this morning with contrite hearts,
some of us with broken spirits,
some with the burden of dreams unfulfilled,
or of plans unravelled.
We come with the weight of past mistakes,
of present failures,
of future fears.

And we want to take all of that ‘stuff,’
and lay it down,
right here on the table,
this altar that represents to us
who you are in our lives,
and we want to say,
“We’re sorry.”
And we want to say,
“Please help us.”
And we want to say,
“Lord, change us!”

By your Sovereign Will as Creator of this Universe,
by your Gracious Forgiveness as Redeemer of the lost,
by your Powerful, Life-Giving, Life-Changing Presence as
In-dwelling Spirit,
forgive us our sins,
help us in our struggles,
change us into holy, righteous daughters and sons of grace.

You’ve begun that work in us, Lord God.
On our good days, we know this to be true.
So, on this good day,
on this Table-of-the-Lord day,
we ask you to continue that good work,
shaping us into men and women,
students and seniors,
boys and girls,
who live lives ‘more righteous than the scribes and the Pharisees,’
as our text for today reads,
who understand more fully what it means to be a disciple of Jesus,
who seek to be among those who will be called ‘great’ in the kingdom of our God,
great because we have learned your law of love & humility
and have obeyed it with our whole hearts.

We ask these things humbly,
and hopefully,
trusting in your goodness
to forgive,
to heal,
and to transform.
For Jesus’ sake,