A Prayer for the Holiday Weekend…

Creator God, Sweet Jesus, Comforting Spirit –

We’re glad to be able to say that we’re here this morning.
After all the hamburgers and hot dogs,
all the chips and dips,
the baked beans and potato salad and
those lovely, sparkling explosions in the night sky –
we’re here.
Glad and grateful for the country in which we live,
happy to celebrate our freedoms as citizens in this great land.
We surely know that the US of A is not a perfect place.
We’ve made mistakes, some of them disastrous;
we’ve been opportunistic and greedy at times,
and our history is marred at points by bloodshed,
some of it spent in service of high ideals and worthy causes
and some of it not.
But, O Lord, we have been so incredibly blessed.
Blessed with a beautiful land,
with inventive and dedicated people,
with many leaders, at many points in time, who have
been creative, inspiring, and open to the movement of your Spirit
as they led us
and as they lead us.
Help us to be good citizens, even as your word admonishes us to be:
to support and pray for those who lead,
to uphold the rule of law,
to stand up for justice,
and to honor freedom, in all its facets,
as we live and work together.
For most of us, our citizenship in this amazing land
is an accident of geography and birth.
A wonderful, serendipitous gift.
O Lord, help us to value that gift and to live up to it.
But we also give thanks this day
that we are citizens of another place
even before we are citizens of the United States.
We are a part of the Kingdom of God,
a kingdom that extends around the world and beyond time,
a kingdom that demands our first allegiance
and which provides us with our primary identity.
May we be worthy citizens, O Lord,
listening to and obeying your word,
loving our neighbors as ourselves,
even when those neighbors may be our enemies.
Because enemies show up in the strangest places sometimes!
At home,
in the neighborhood,
at work,
at school,
on the freeway!
It’s amazing how quickly we can get our dander up,
how swiftly the anger rises,
the grudges grow,
the offenses pile up.
O, help us.
Help us to heed your call to us as citizens of your kingdom.
God, help us to love our enemies,
for we surely cannot do it on our own.
In fact, left to our own devices,
we’d prefer to fan those flames of resentment
into something very much like hatred,
perhaps even enjoy a moment now and again
when we just plain wallow in our discontent
because of what those people are doing
to us.

It is only by your power and grace that we are able
to rise above ourselves,
to view even that person we like the least
or has hurt us the most,
as just another child of yours,
created in your image,
beloved by you.
Empower each of us to reach beyond the limits
of our own insecurities,
our own preferences,
our own prejudices
to truly see those people
as your people.
We’ve gathered together our gifts of love for you today, Lord.
Will you take them and use them
to build this kingdom of which we are citizens?
Use this money to build programs
and projects that will
help us and those we support,
to be the gospel, the glorious good news of Jesus and his love,
both here and around the world.
We give you special thanks this day for Lisa Holmlund,
and for the ways in which she lives the gospel in our midst.
Bless her in her ordination,
remind her of your call on her life,
and continue to gift her with love,
love overflowing
for the students with whom she works.
Bless our pastor this day as he brings us your word.
And bless and encourage each one of us, as we worship you together this day
and as we live for you in our own settings during this week.
We ask these things in the name and for the sake of
Jesus Christ, who loves us.

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