Last Sunday we had an amazing time of congregational prayer during our monthly prayer lab. We prayed for our nation and our world in the midst of violence, hatred, racism, fear, mistrust, marginalization, polarization, and disunity. We together slowly and meditatively prayed the only words that (to me) seem sufficient during this time of brokenness – St. Francis’ prayer, asking God to make us instruments of God’s peace in this world.
During this season of our lives in which it seems like everyday we hear of tragedy and incomprehensible violence that is worse than the day before, we are committed to being a praying congregation. We neither know nor understand what is in people’s hearts, nor do we know or understand God’s presence (or at times seeming absence) in this world of discord right now. But we will remain steadfast in our faith that God, in and through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, has already redeemed this world and is at work, right now, to transform all the broken places into the whole and restored Kingdom of God. Communities and peoples who have been denied justice will be granted justice, equality, fairness, respect, dignity, and value. Officers who risk their lives to protect our communities will not be targeted for their service or for the sins of others. We will no longer be a nation divided by twitter hashtags and political perspectives, but a kingdom of redeemed people who recognize the image of God in each other and the saving work of Jesus to redeem, restore, and transform each of us and this world in which we live. We are a congregation committed to praying, “God’s will be done on earth,” and we are a congregation committed to praying for God’s Holy Spirit to work in us so that we might be empowered to live and act in this world as God’s agent, doing God’s work of feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, advocating for the marginalized and oppressed, and seeking to end violence, war, and hatred. We will proclaim the hope of the world, Jesus Christ, God-in-flesh, who is in our midst.