O Holy One, you are indeed a generous God. We give you thanks for the abundance of gifts that you lavish upon us, some large and spectacular, obvious for all to see; others small and ordinary, so woven into the everyday fabric of our lives that we fail to recognize them for the gifts they are and the ways we carry your fingerprints. We thank you for our ability to untangle and resolve complicated conflicts, to soothe frayed nerves, to create a work of art or piece of jewelry, to play a flute, handbells, the piano or sing a song; for the ability to open new worlds to students through the patience and practice of teaching; for the ability to fix broken things – furniture and glasses, bicycles and cars, relationships and hearts; for the laughter that eases tension, the willingness to listen to another’s story, the comfort someone knows simply because we’re within reach. For our willingness to share a cup of soup, write a note, offer a ride, stop to say hello, speak a word of welcome, say no in the presence of abuse or a misrepresentation of the truth, thank you. Open our eyes to recognize the gifts you have planted within us; give us the courage to use them, the openness to share them, the humility to put them to work so others might know kindness and joy.
We pray, O God, for those who suffer and struggle across our country and throughout the world. We pray for the residents of Florida and the Carolinas, the most recent victims of this year’s endless string of hurricanes and tropical storms, even as we remember the Gulf Coast overwhelmed so many times already; the lands and homes destroyed by wildfires’ voracious appetite, farmers’ fields left barren because of drought or unharvested because of an absence of workers. We give thanks, great God, that you are present beside each shattered life, broken body, and shipwrecked community. Wrap them in your love, lead them along the long, slow road of recovery, and show us how we can walk with them, offering your care and our hands, doing what we can to share with them the gifts you’ve given to us. We pray especially for the sick, and for a pandemic that insists on spiking yet again. As numbers soar, records break, hospitals fill, medical personnel collapse in weariness, and equipment runs short, show us what we can do, the hard choices we can make to stay home, stay apart, stay safe so that others can stay well and alive. Spark our imaginations and creative instincts so that we might make and share joy and laughter, kindness and connection even in the days when we are apart.
And we bring before you once again our concerns about an election season that lingers. As a President has not conceded the race and a President-elect prepares to take office, we pray for the well-being of our nation, the health of our democracy, and the safety of all. Show us how to navigate our differences with wisdom and respect, humility and courage, compassion and honesty. Lead us as we seek to reduce the threat of violence and forge bonds of cooperation and collaboration. Help us to reach across aisles, to build alliances across divides, to work together to build up and protect the common good of our shared life.
Hear our prayers, spoken and unspoken. And hear us as we pray together 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.