God, we call out to you! From the depths of our hearts, we cry, “Lord, hear our prayer!”
We are consumed by grief. The events of the past few days have overwhelmed us— it’s hard to sleep, it’s hard to eat, it’s even hard to pray.
Where are you, God?
Deep down, we know that you love us— we’ve experienced your mercy and your faithfulness in the past, and it has sustained us through many difficult times. We refuse to believe that you have deserted us, or that you are unaware of the pain that we’re feeling. And so we turn to you again, longing for your presence, looking for your comfort and peace.
Surround us with your unfailing love. Remind us that you alone are God, and that you hold us in the palm of your hand. Give us courage and strength to face the days ahead, and strengthen us in the knowledge that we do not face them alone.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, we pray.
Christine Longhurst, Worship Professor, Canadian Mennonite University
Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent van Gogh: “It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.”
You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.
My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.
O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, 1932 – 1996, Dutch-born Catholic priest and author
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth
are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening