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God, you are source and sustenance, you restore and advance our flourishing, you draw us together, friend to friend, loved one to loved one, side by side, where we can know a different kind of joy, even amid the many goodbyes, sorrows, and heartaches that trace the contours of our lives.
We ask your presence among us.
At this table before us, we remember that ours is a thick, embodied spirituality. When our bellies are hungry, the most ordinary daily matter, we know you are there. When we gather to feast, we know you are there. As we bake bread, yeast and flour become an alchemy of love, a reminder that we taste and see your presence in this life. All eating is an act of memory, and our gratitude here, a spoken memory of thanks, reminding us that all is gift and gift and ever-gift.
Place us side by side with kind traveling partners for this part of life’s journey. Let us see the abundance of your good creation together, and even in the midst of suffering, let us experience an echo of joy at the core.
Open us to a deeper awareness of our mutual reliance. Call us into a cycle of flourishing, even when our bodies are hope-weary, and we are barely hanging on. Let us laugh together around the dinner table, and on hard days, cry on the kitchen floor, still connected to your promises of presence, comfort, strength, and tender care every step of the way.
For those who are in the hospital today, mark the way with hope. For those who are in hospice, mark the way with a gentle spirit and a holy goodbye. For those who do not know how to say goodbye, give words, gestures, deep breath, a presence beyond what we might otherwise notice. For those recovering, give renewed strength. For those who have had a hard path, give relief.
For the global community, the interconnected web of family and friends around the world, we pray: especially for those who can’t catch a break, whose lives have been turned upside down, who have found the world strained by powers beyond their control.
Make a way O God. Make a way even when no way seems to be found. And guide us always toward your table, remembering again the storied flourishing that can be made possible in your presence. And hear us as we pray: Our Father…. Amen.