God, giver of life and author of compassion, we celebrate your gift of love that nurtures in ways that are tender and courageous, bold and kind, mysterious and enduring.
Today we pause to recognize the ways Christ’s abiding love is embodied in this congregation: In those who knit care into every stitch of the prayer blankets, in the taste of meals prepared and delivered to the homes in times of need, in the sound of prayers and petitions lifted in our sanctuary and in prayer circles, in the silent, listening spaces held by our Stephen Ministers, in the often invisible work of leaders who coordinate, calendar, and commit to weaving an inclusive and loving web of care for those in need of comfort and companionship. Lord, for these persons, and the ways you knit this congregation into a beloved community, we give our thanks to you.
Today we acknowledge those people who offer the type of nurture and care we name “mothering” even though the word is often inadequate in describing the diversity of caring bonds that exist and the complexity of emotions we encounter in our relationships. In scripture we find Sarah and Hannah, Ruth and Naomi, Elizabeth and Mary, and so many unnamed people whose stories echo our experiences of motherhood: Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, step-mothers, and surrogate mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, and neighbors, mothers who have caused hurt and fallen short, and those who struggle in silence, those who long for children and those who grieve their children, those who are gathering after many months apart, and those families who cannot be together today, Lord, for these persons, we ask your blessing.
In your gift of nurturing relationships we often discover that we are both givers and receivers. Today we pray for those in our congregation, in our communities, and around the world who are in need and those who are searching for Christ’s outreaching love: For those who facing difficult news and diagnoses, for those hoping for reconciliation, for those struggling to procure life’s necessities, for those facing discrimination and injustice, for those seeking refuge and safe haven, for those discerning the next step, for those leading in challenging circumstances, for those who feel alone…Lord, Hear our prayer.
We come to you in confidence that you love and care for each of us. And so Holy God, continue to create in this community, your church, a common life of gratitude, devotion, and service, which stretches out to the world in the myriad of ways you have called us to minister as disciples of the one who taught us to pray, Our Father….