The Great Prayer January 23, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

As the snow piles high around us,
We remember with gratitude
Shelter and food
The miracle of substance and survival
And we recommit to ensuring such thriving for all.
And that is why we gather to worship
Gratitude and commitment
Delighting in the presence of God
And seeking God’s glory in our daily lives
May we be humbled in the presence of the Lord.
Let us worship God together.

God of this good earth, we are hard pressed, forgetful. We live as if our own lives are the center of it all, as if this here is all there is. And yet you presided over the womb of beginning born from chaos into light. What was once just a glint, a longing, became your deepest pursuit. Open us up to the wider song of hope beyond this day. The snowy fox, the bat, the cicada deep underground, each a miracle, formed of dust, made alive, breathed into by your deepest promises. Your uncompromising gift of life unfolds before us.

Yet somehow in spite of it all, even when we seek you, even when you open our minds to possibility, there is a lasting impression that we cannot hold such beauty. We live fragmented. Pretending. Unburdened and then regretful. Our disobedience, a forecast of trouble. We forget the hungry. From the beginning of time, we your people, buy one more something or other instead of turning our focus toward justice, mercy, tenderness, and creative love. You send us prophets in every age, people who prod us to start over, to accept, even half awake the pleasure of constant good, of saving hope, of invisible generosity, of self-chosen kindness. But our noise canceling headphones block out such messages and we tumble forward unpersuaded.

But hope is not canceled. In your abundance, underserved grace bursts forth again. Hope beyond hope is made known. You send us Jesus Christ who is light beyond light and love beyond love. Your eternal song of tender hope is blessed by the certainty of word made flesh. We can hope because Jesus walked the road before us. Incarnate you tumbled body into the deepest injustices, into the hardest places we dare not enter. You sacrificed. You blessed. You broke bread. You fed and feed us. Even when there are wars and rumors of wars, when there is famine, hatred, and betrayal, you are there, a silent presence, a welcoming warmth, a permanent nearness with enough gravitational pull to spin us together toward love.

Accompany us O Christ. Today transform us and these familiar things—bread and cup—in the same way you continually transform the world around us. Bless bread and cup, wheat and grape, farmer and harvest, seed and sower. So that in sharing these simple elements, we might taste and see your goodness, and glimpse what it is to be in communion with you and with one another.

Through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, most holy God, now and forever.

And hear us as we pray together the prayer Jesus teaches us. Our Father….Amen.

January 23, 2022

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