Friday, August 31, 2012

Divine love

The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle...

Song of Songs 2:8-9a

O God, you love us in every way. Like a human lover, you court us, you desire our love, and you seek our "Yes" in a partnership that is loving, lifelong, and faithful, that will fulfill us and bless the world. Grant that we may recognize your approach, that we also may seek your face and return your love, and that we may be transformed in your grace. Amen.


Image: Cylinder seal from ancient Israel, probably inspired by the Song of Songs.
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Prayer for holy places

How dear to me is your dwelling,
     O Lord of hosts!
My soul has a desire and longing
     for the courts of the Lord...
  Psalm 84:1-2a

Great God, you have established among us sacred places: in the natural world, in tabernacle and temple, in the meeting places of your people. So too you came to dwell among us, and have hallowed the temple of our human bodies. Help us to care for your good creation, in stewardship of earth, sea, and sky, and in the care for human well-being: body, mind, and spirit. Rest your healing hand upon the wounded and suffering places of this world, and upon our bodies: individual and social. Renew in us a right spirit, and restore us to health, through thy great mercy. Amen.


Image:
Lost World – Temple of Nature. Matte painting by Romanian artist Tiberius Viris.
 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prayer for another shooting

We know that every day violence afflicts our land, and that only some incidents make "the news," or find their ways to our attention. On Thursday, four police officers were shot and two killed in Louisiana (see "Four deputies shot in two St. John the Baptist Parish incidents"). A friend who serves a church in the area is connected to one of the surviving officers' family and asked for prayer.

There are many ways to work for a more peaceful and just world. But I know of no better start than by asking God to be involved in our efforts. Let us pray...

Look with mercy upon our fallen world, O God. We know not what to do with the violence which afflicts us, nor with the weapons of destruction which we cling to in misplaced faith.

Minister to all victims of violence, especially Michael Boyington and Jason Triche, that wounds of body and spirit be fully healed. Receive into your blessed kingdom all who die while serving their communities, especially Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche, and sustain those who suffer from their loss.

And please, O God, come to those who have committed or contemplate acts of violence, individually and collectively. Restrain their hands from evil, transform their minds, and give to them a new heart which seeks your realm of forgiveness and peace.

We ask this in the name of the one who lived and died and rose for us, Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord. Amen.



Sheriff's deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremey Triche.
Rest in peace.