We thank you, O God for your love for us.
Love that reaches out to accept us, wherever we are, whoever we are.
Love that demands a lot, but at the same time, somehow, amazingly,enables us to meet those demands.
Love that reassures, affirms, prompts, challenges, and overwhelms us with the completeness of its response.
Help us, your people, held within the security of your love, to risk showing that same love to others.
May our love, too, be known for its abundance, its readiness to speak out and its healing power.
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand
O God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference;
living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971, considered by some to be "the most influential American theologian of the 20th century."
O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succor;
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
That I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
Alan Paton, South Africa, United Methodist Hymnal #456.
Be present at our table, Lord,
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy people bless, and grant that we
may feast in paradise with thee.
Attributed to John Wesley, Anglican priest
Dear God, the world seems so dark and foreboding.
where are the signs of hope?
What are you calling us to do?
Wars, uprisings, displacements, hunger, poverty, and disease continue to claim victims by the millions around the world each year.
Our ears do not want to hear their stories and our eyes do not want to see their plight because the suffering and destruction is so massive and cruel.
In our hearts and minds there is a desire to help somehow, but the crisis seem so overwhelming that we shake our heads in dismay and we wonder what the point is for us even to attempt to be witnesses for healing and hope in this hellish morass.
We beg with the song writer to open our eyes that we may see glimpses of truth you have for us.
Help us to follow the path of Jesus, the Suffering Servant. Give us the courage to be willing to walk the path of depression and pain with the victims of injustice here at home as well as abroad.
Help us to seek ways to light candles of hope, however small, through our words, our deeds, and our prayers, to encourage our sisters and brothers to hold onto the faith in spite of the pain and suffering they are facing.
And help those of us who are among the fortunate ones, who have enough bread to eat, good health, and who live in relative peace, to open our heart to learn from our sisters and brothers who are living lives of grace and forgiveness in the horrid circumstances which surround them. O God, help us to light one candle rather than to curse the darkness.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, who knows what being a light in this dark world is all about.
Written by Larry Kehler Mennonite Central Committee, Canada, 2009