Table Prayer, 2nd Sunday in Lent 2010

written by Diana R.G. Trautwein
for worship at Montecito Covenant Church
March 7, 2010

“Faithfulness, faithfulness is what I long for
Faithfulness is what I need
Faithfulness, faithfulness is what You want from me

(So) Take my heart and form it
Take my mind, transform it
Take my will, conform it
To Yours, to Yours, Oh Lord.”

We’ve sung that sweet song a lot around here, Lord.
I’d even go so far as to say it’s a favorite of ours,
one that we like to sing,
to create harmony to,
to wail with a bit.
It’s a really good song for that –
for lettin’ it all hang out there a little.

But I wonder,
speaking for myself at least,
if we really think about what is we’re lettin’ all hang out there.
“Take my heart?
My mind?
My will?”
Wow – that feels like a whole lot of stuff to let go of
when I say those words
and don’t sing them.
Because when you think about it,
I mean when you really think about it,
those hearts,
those minds,
those wills –
well, that’s pretty much all of us, don’t you think?

And, then,
there are all those rhyming verbs in that song –
Now those are really strong words, Lord.
Really strong.
Kind of like the words that show up in places like
fitness centers,
or artist’s studios,
or science labs.
Places where you make something entirely new and different
from just regular old stuff like
out-of-shape human bodies,
or paint or ink or clay,
or elemental chemicals,
your basic liquids or solids.

Yet they are – each and every one of them –
words that also come right out of your holy scriptures.
And I do believe that you mean every single one of them.

So I thank you this morning for the words of that song,
and the words of the sermon we’ve just heard,
and the words we say together around this table today, Lord God.
Because all those words are about taking ordinary, everyday stuff
and making something wonderfully and powerfully new out of them.
And as scary and overwhelming as that can sometimes be,
especially when we are that ordinary, everyday stuff,
they are words for our good,
for our very best, in fact.
Because these words speak to us of hope,
and of promise,
and of restoration,
and of transformation.

So let us celebrate your promise of newness
by setting ourselves straight with you this morning.
In the week just past, we have thought and said and done
some things that work against your good will to change us
into our best selves.
In this moment of quiet, we’re going to –
remember those things,
tell you how sorry we are for them,
and then release them into the waves of
your grace and forgiveness which are waiting
to wash us clean.
Hear our prayer, O Lord:

Thank you for grace,
thank you for the power of forgiveness.
Thank you for Jesus.

We also need to say, Lord, that we are oh-so-aware
of people and situations,
here at home,
and all around our world,
where your transforming power is desperately needed.
So as part of our table celebration today,
we want to remind you of these things,
just by saying first names or
very simple descriptions out loud,
all around the room.
And for each person or problem mentioned,
we’re all going to agree by saying, “Yes, Lord!”

Thank you for inviting our prayers,
thank you for listening,
thank you for answering.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear
as you work your winsome way in our
messed-up world.

So we’ve gotten ourselves straight with you,
and we’ve reminded you of those people and places
we care about the most,
and we’ve said thank you for your great gifts to us
of grace
and forgiveness
and presence.

Now, Lord, we want to eat together as you’ve asked us to do.
Take – once again – these ordinary, everyday things –
this bread and this juice –
and transform them into
bread of life
and cup of salvation,
for Jesus’ sake,
until he comes.

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