The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
You call us to freedom, O God.
To the freedom of morning,
where the rhythm of birdsong and sunrise
let us pause to remember
the sacred breath in our bodies
and the holy heartbeat within.
We give you thanks for the gift and freedom
of awakening to this day.
Let us be consumed by an active search for freedom,
not the self serving freedom of “do my own thing”
but the Moses-inspired freedom that cries
“let my people go.”
Build within us a heart for freedom
to live life in community,
freedom to care for one another’s well-being,
freedom to be in sync with the needs
of the one on your left and on your right.
Bind us to one another, O God, sister to brother,
parent to child, neighbor to neighbor,
zip code to zip code,
immigrant from this year’s hardship
to immigrant from the struggle of century’s past.
We pray, continue to protect
the freedoms of people beyond the binaries
of black and white,
male and female,
rich and poor,
migrant and native,
educated and uneducated,
able and disable.
Let us abandon such bias,
and seek instead the rights of all.
Let even the freedom of the earth be our resounding cry,
with every feeble attempt to protect biodiversity,
large and small,
microscopic habitats and the flourishing of forests,
air to breathe and water to drink.
We pray for the forests of Canada
and for all impacted by the decrease in air quality.
We pray for the people of Russia and Ukraine, and all those impacted by the impossibilities of war and violence.
We pray for your presence in our lives as we seek to build a culture of freedom and generosity knit together by your word.
As neighborhoods become alive
with the sound of fireworks,
an air of celebration hangs in our midst,
and yet we recognize that for some,
the fizz and swoosh of patriotic fireworks
sounds far too akin to the pop and thud of gunshot.
We think of the people of Highland Park
and for all who are weary and wary of crowds
or who live and relive the trauma a year later.
We are thankful for time with family,
with parents and grandparents,
children and grandchildren,
friends and neighbors.
Let us find freedom in our relationships,
forged in compassion and sympathy and understanding.
O God, in such freedom
you have called us together to be the church.
Unite us now at your table,
and in one loaf and a common cup,
make us one in Christ Jesus.
Let your Spirit empower the life
we share and ignite our witness in the world.
With all who have gone before us,
keep us faithful to the gospel teachings
to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Give us strength to serve you
until the promised day of the resurrection,
when with the redeemed
of all the ages we will feast with you
at your table in glory.
Through Christ, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, with the Holy Spirit in the holy church, now and forever. Amen.
Our Father…. Amen.
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