Holy God, we give you thanks for the gifts and graces of this day. For the beauty and wonder, majesty and fragility of creation, and for the privilege that is ours as we enjoy and cherish, honor and protect, restore and renew the face of your earth. For the gift of family and friends with whom we work and play, make a home and share our lives, the joy of summer work and the comfort of hearing a familiar voice, the growth of a young child and the wisdom of accumulating years, the tender care of a loving companion and the gentle push of one who knows what we need, for the grace of forgiveness and the patience to stay by our side as we find our way through the valley of the shadow. For the chance to learn and grow, read and garden, create and repurpose, call an effort good enough and embrace the clean slate of a second chance.
Loving God, the needs of the world cry out to us from every direction, and we come to you seeking healing and holding, wisdom and strength. As COVID-19 numbers climb and threaten, we pray yet again for the sick and the threatened, for loved ones separated to reduce risk and nursing homes locked down, for medical personnel who give generously to serve those in their care and hospitals filled to capacity and beyond. We pray also for the unemployed, for those seeking new benefits and the means to care for their families, for businesses trying to hold on. For families, a nation and a world that grieve – the loss of life, of hopes and dreams, of confidence in what tomorrow will bring. We pray too for the unrest and anger that fill many of our streets and homes, as blacks demand justice and safety, police reform and an end to the worry a child won’t make it home from a jog or a trip to the store; for police officers who fear for their lives and try to do their jobs, and the confusion about who serves with distinction and who poses a threat to a person of color. Help us, holy God, to do the hard work of finding our way through the darkness of this time: that we might know when to go out and when to stay home, when to assert our rights and when to set them aside for the wellbeing of another, when to be patient and when to cry enough, when to speak up and how to listen and encourage another to speak, when and how and for how long to negotiate and confer and search for common ground as if our lives and the life of our country depend on it – because they do.
Our prayers are many, a few of them spoken, others brought to you in the silence of our hearts. Hear them. And hear us as we join together in the prayer that Jesus taught, saying: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.