God, who reconciles and makes new.
By Pat Brennan-Alpert, December 31, 2017
God, who reconciles and makes new,
at the turn of the year, we have come together to turn to You.
We thank you for bringing us together as a Church in this time of great change when we feel our stability, our sense of community, our hopes for the future are threatened.
We thank you for all the people, the angels among us, who have moved us toward justice and peace this year:
the many members of our church who have turned refugee/strangers into friends, and those who work to get to know and care for people who face illness, loneliness, imprisonment and hate.
We thank you for The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and all the indigenous people who told and tell their stories.
We thank you for Black leaders in the world, particularly in our city, who bring their stories to us, hoping to “Break our hearts of stone and give us hearts for love alone.”
These courageous deeds give us hope when we are struggling to find our way in times of great change and frightening divisions; they inspire us to “seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.”
In the silence of our hearts, we offer up our thanks and praise for all the ways you have blessed our lives this year.
We aim to live as followers of Christ. Please move us to follow Jesus’ example.
When we find it easy to see hypocrisy in world leaders--words and deeds don’t match.
Let us turn that critical gaze on ourselves.
You know very few of us are without the sin of hypocrisy.
Move us to turn away from the thrills of mockery, or self-righteous anger; move us to turn our hearts towards prayer, witness, and acts of loving kindness. In our families, move us to turn away from impatience, blame and fixed ideas; turn us towards deep listening, prayer and acts of love.
You know our fears, the outer ones: climate change, political change, and the intimate ones: concerns about security, self-worth, health and relationships. We bring our particular concerns to you now.
God, our rock and our salvation,
Your scriptures show us that violence and oppression are business as usual.
True change is change of heart.
We trust in your forgiveness and unceasing care as we turn the stony places in our hearts to love.
We pray in the strong name of Jesus.
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