have mercy on me, O God

image / Graham C99 from London, UK, CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Lord our God, how excellent is your name in all the World!
Your glorious majesty is excellent, but that brings me nothing;
    your justice is excellent, but that brings me nothing.
It is your mercy that must do me good,
    and therefore your other excellencies I adore,
    but this I invocate.
To invoke your justice, I dare not;
    your glory, I cannot,
    but your mercy, I both dare and can.
 
For why should I not dare, when fear gives me boldness?
How should I not be able when weakness gives me strength?
Why should I not dare, when you invite me to it?
How should I not be able when you draw me to it?
 
Do you invite me, and I shall not come?
Do you draw me, and I shall draw back?
Can there be a patron so powerful as you?
Can there be a beggar so dejected as myself?
 
Whom, then, is it more fit to ask for mercy than you, O God,
    who are the God of mercy?
And for whom is it more fit to ask for mercy than for me
    who am a creature of misery?
 
Richard Baxter, 1615 – 1691, English Puritan
 
_________________________
 
 
Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
  according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

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What can I say to you, my God?

Holy Trinity, Lawrence OP, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
What can I say to you, my God?
 
Shall I collect together all the words
    that praise your holy Name?
 
Shall I give you all the names of this world
    —you, the Unnameable?
 
Shall I call you
    “God of my life,
    meaning of my existence,
    hallowing of my acts,
    my journey’s end,
    bitterness of my bitter hours,
    home of my loneliness,
    you my most treasured happiness”?

Shall I say:
    “Creator, Sustainer, Pardoner,
    Near One, Distant One, Incomprehensible One,
    God both of flowers and stars,
    God of the gentle wind and of terrible battles,
    Wisdom, Power, Loyalty, and Truthfulness,
    Eternity and Infinity, you the All-merciful,
    you the Just One,
    you  – Love itself?”
 
Karl Rahner, 1904 – 1984, German Jesuit Priest
 
__________________________
 
 
Then Moses said to God, 
“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 
    ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ 
and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ 
what shall I say to them?
 

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building a people of power

mosaic / music4life / pixabay
 
God the Holy Spirit
Like a Mother, you have brought forth
And in your infinite power
You are building a people of power.
You have continued to sustain us in our daily struggles.
In the midst of much exploitation and injustice,
    cause us not to be silent.
Like you did to the timid and fearful disciples
    give us the boldness to proclaim your righteousness and justice.
 
May you cause us to unite in making your truth known and experienced.
May your fire from heaven
    consume our greed and self-centeredness
    so that all we have may be held in common.
Spirit of truth and power, we are not afraid
    of being misunderstood
    as being out of our mind
As this was done by your early disciples.
 
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
 
_____________________
 
 
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, 
    and it filled the house where they were sitting.  
Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared 
    and settled on each of them.
 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit 
    and began speaking in other languages, 
    as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

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let me practice pure religion

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash
 
Father, I have seen the commands of Scripture
    to care deeply about the plight of the oppressed.
I am often moved emotionally 
    when oppression is before me.
I am often filled with good intentions about what I could do
    to help those who are oppressed.
Yet I seldom act.
I seldom visit the orphans and the widows.
I seldom speak against the systematic oppression in our world.
Sometimes I don’t act because I’m too consumed 
    with the details of my life.
Sometimes I don’t act because I don’t want to complicate my life.
But today please strip away all my excuses,
    and let me practice pure religion:
    by visiting the afflicted and comforting them,
    by working to stop injustice,
    and by keeping myself from loving this world too much to act or pray.
 
Kurt Bjorklund, 1968- , American Minister and author of
Prayers for Today A Yearlong Journey of Devotional Prayer
 
______________________________
 
 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: 
    to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, 
    and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
 
 

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Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around

civil rights march / GPA Photo Archive / flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
 
Almighty God, Thou has called us to walk for freedom, 
    even as Thou did the Children of Israel.  
We pray, dear God, as we go through a wilderness of State Troopers 
    that Thou will hold our hand.  
We pray, dear God, as we must go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, 
    that Thou will go with us and strengthen us for the task.  
Keep us strong.  
Keep us calm.  
Help us to love our enemy.  
And above all, keep the fires of freedom burning in our hearts, 
    so that no matter what happens, 
    ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.
Because Thou, dear God, has set us into this place.
Thou has sent us to fight, not just for ourselves,
    but to fight for this nation 
    so that democracy might exist here for the whole world.
Keep this vision in our hearts,
    and may we one day wake up and find the state of Alabama,
    where all men might vote, 
    where all children might get a decent education,
    where every man and woman might find a decent job
        according to his or her abilities,
    and where every man and woman 
        might be able to live together as brothers and sisters
    and violence and bloodshed and hatred and prejudice
         shall be no more.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 -1968, American pastor and civil rights activist
 
_________________________
 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they shall be satisfied.

 

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to see the human predicament

Jesus and the poor / 1857 / Library of Congress / public domain
 
O God, our Father,
the fountain of love, power and justice,
the God who cares, 
    particularly for the least,
    the most suffering and the poorest among us.
O God, Lord of creation, grant us today your guidance and wisdom
    so that we may see the human predicament for what it is.
Give us courage and obedience 
    so that we may follow you completely.
Help us, Lord, to bear witness to the cross of your Son,
    our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is the reason for hope,
    and in whose name we pray. Amen.
 
Koson Srisang, Thailand
 
_____________________________
 
 
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

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transforming lives for your glory

image / pixabay
 
Creator God, our heavenly Father,
your Son was a carpenter in Nazareth:
we pray for all those who labor
in our factories and shops.
Grant them wisdom and honesty, strength and skill,
to provide for themselves
and for the needs of our country.
Look with compassion on the landless poor,
the unemployed and homeless,
the orphans and the hungry,
and grant us your power to work towards justice
in transforming their lives for your glory;
through the risen Lord Jesus Christ,
who had nowhere to lay his head.
 
prayer from Kenya
 
___________________________
 
 
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk about in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

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go with me in a new exodus

Saint Peter Liberated from Prison / The Metropolitan Museum of Art / CC0
 
O God of fire and freedom,
deliver me from my bondage
    to what can be counted
and go with me in a new exodus
    toward what counts,
but can only be measured
    in bread shared
        and swords become plowshares;
    in bodies healed
        and minds liberated;
    in songs sung
        and justice done;
    in laughter in the night
        and joy in the morning;
    in love through all seasons
        and great gladness of heart;
    in all people coming together
        and a kingdom coming in glory;
    in your name being praised
        and my becoming an alleluia,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Ted Loder, born 1930, American Methodist minister
 
_________________________
 
 
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.

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Great God Almighty, We Are Free at Last!

 Martin Luther King, 1964 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
 
God grant that right here in America and all over the world,
    we will choose the high way:
a way in which men will live together as brothers.
A way in which the nations of the world will beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
A way in which every man will respect 
    the dignity and worth of all human personality.
A way in which every nation will allow justice to flow down like waters,
    and righteousness like a mighty stream.
A way in which men will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
A way in which men will be able to stand up, 
    and in the midst of oppression, in the midst of darkness and agony,
    they will be able to stand there and love their enemies,
        bless those persons that curse them,
        pray for those individuals that despitefully use them.
And this is the way that will bring us once more into that society
    which we think of as the brotherhood of man.
This will be that day when white people, colored people,
    whether they are brown or whether they are yellow  or whether they are black,
    will join together and stretch out with their arms and be able to cry out:
“Free at last! Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!”
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929 -1968, American pastor and civil rights activist
 
_____________________________
 
 
And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
    and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

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Cusp of midnight

 imagegamagapix / pixabay
 
What Mary wants now
God says soon

What Joseph needs now
God says not long

What the peacemakers seek now
God says hold your breath a little longer

What the hungry long for now
God says hush but a moment

What the poor yearn for now
God says, wait a little more

What the lonely hunger for now
God says shortly

What the forgotten thirst for now
God says presently

What the world aches for now
God says soon and very soon

Time is moving towards incarnation
justice is slipping into skin
peace is labouring
truth is taking human shape
this night
this hour
this moment
soon
 
Roddy Hamilton, Scottish Pastor
 
____________________
 
 
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

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