O Jesus, crucified, have mercy upon me

image / Luca Giarelli, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Jesus, poor and abject, unknown and despised,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not be ashamed to follow thee.
O Jesus, hated, calumniated, and persecuted,
    have mercy upon me, and make me content to be as my master.
O Jesus, blasphemed, accused, and wrongfully condemned,
    have mercy upon me, and teach me to endure the contradiction of sinners.
O Jesus, clothed with a habit of reproach and shame,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not seek my own glory.
O Jesus, insulted mocked, and spit upon,
    have mercy upon me, and let me not faint in the fiery trial.
O Jesus, crowned with thorns and hailed in derision;
O Jesus, burdened with our sins and the curses of the people;
O Jesus, affronted, outraged, buffeted,
    overwhelmed with injuries, griefs and humiliations;
O Jesus, hanging on the accursed tree, bowing the head, giving up the ghost,
    have mercy upon me,
    and conform my whole soul to thy holy, humble, suffering Spirit.
 
John Wesley, 1703-1791, English churchman and founder of Methodism
 
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It was now about the sixth hour,
    and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 
    while the sun’s light failed. 
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said,
    “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” 
And having said this he breathed his last.

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Do you weep over my city?

Donegall Street, Belfast / Albert Bridge / Wikimedia Commons
 
This is my city, Lord:
I’ve flown over it,
driven around it,
walked through it,
and I love it.
Its concrete chasms, its quiet parks,
its massive buildings and its tiny houses,
its suburbs rich and poor.
But most of all, Lord, its people…
My city, Lord. Your city.
Remember, Lord, there was one city
over which you stood and wept.
Do you weep over this city?
With its hunger, its greed, its cruelty?
Its foolishness and heartbreak?
Lord, I believe you do.
 
prayer used over Belfast, Northern Ireland
from A Procession of Prayers, edited by John Carden
 
_____________________________
 
 
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 
“Would that you, even you, had known on this day 
    the things that make for peace! 
But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

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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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blessings of home

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
 
O God, bless those who have no homes.
Bless those who have to live away from home
  in lodgings and boarding-houses and hotels.
Bless those who have been left alone,
  and who are solitary now.
Bless those who are searching or waiting for a house.
Specially bless young couples who have to live in furnished rooms,
  or with relatives, and who have never had the chance
  to be alone together and to have a home of their own.
Bless those who keep house for other people,
  and who have no house of their own.
Bless old people who are coming to the end in some institution
  which is very comfortable but which is still not home.
Help us who have the blessing of a good home
  to keep an open heart and an open door
  to those less fortunate than ourselves.
This we ask for your love’s sake. Amen.

from the Audenshaw prayers, UK
 
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Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, 
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

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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
 
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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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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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Praise to God our King

Jesus Christ enthroned / by Ted  / CC BY-NC 2.0
Before I call others to praise you, 
    my spirit will kneel down to honor you.  
Make me today a choir 
    with many songs and heavenly strings that praise you.
Before I explain the futility of human salvation, 
    I bow down to worship you.  
Before I knock at the doors of the strong, 
    I bend down to seek you.
Before I start unpacking my worries, 
    I sing and thank you.
 
You are the one who brings forth justice to the oppressed, feeds the poor, and releases the prisoners.  You freed the oppressed Joseph and Jeremiah from jail. In the lion’s pit, you were with Daniel, and you released Peter from chains.  Rhoda shared the good news that the Lord answers the prayers of the godly ones.  You freed your people from the chains of oppression, just as the prophets foretold.
 
You opened the eyes of the blind, and my own eyes have seen the glory of heaven.  How many eyes have been bound by moral darkness?  But with your light, they can see heavenly glories.  You have straightened the bent ones and have relieved our worries.  You have searched for the marginalized and taken care of the widows, the orphans, and the strangers.  
 
O Lord, rule over my country, and let the evil of the enemy end!
 
Yohanna Katanacho, 1967 – , Palestinian Israeli evangelical theologian
 
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Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
   the Lord gives sight to the blind,
 the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.

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Prayer for Election Time

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash  

Heavenly Father
source of all truth and wisdom, 
who knows and loves the whole creation,
watch over our nation at election time:
that truth may prevail over distortion,
wisdom triumph over recklessness
and the concerns of every person be heard.

Lord Jesus,
who chose the way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
help us to turn our backs on self interest
and to support policies that sustain the poor, 
the vulnerable and the frightened people of this world.

Holy Spirit,
who brought understanding
among myriad peoples and languages at Pentecost,
give to all your people a passion for peace
and inspire us to work for unity and cooperation throughout the world 
and in our political life together.

Lord, we give thanks for the privileges and responsibilities 
of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time,
that through the exercise of each vote, 
your Kingdom may come closer.

Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism, 
guard us against the idols of false utopias 
and strengthen us to make politics a noble calling 
that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen.
 
Unboxed Worship, Box Hill Baptist Church, Australia
 
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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

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Pondering the small ways

plumb bob by Wolfgang Sauber / CC BY-SA 3.0
 
We ponder at your greatness.
 
We bless you in your wonders of creation.
 
We magnify you for your miracles of deliverance.
 
We relish the news of your gift of
    newness given us in Jesus of Nazareth.
 
We make our doxology as large as we can,
    in order to match your
    massive presence in the world.
 
But then, in slow times and in lesser venues,
    we know you to be the God of small things;
        one widow and one orphan,
        one touch of healing,
        one lunch turned to much food,
        one small temple for a small people in a small city,
        one small scroll to power the small city.
 
On good days we are among those,
    who do not occupy ourselves
        with things too great and too marvelous.
 
It is enough that short of glory and magnificence,
    you hang in to make small places your venue for governance.
We are grateful for your “tidbits”
         that bespeak life among us.
 
Walter Brueggemann, 1933 -,  American Protestant Old Testament theologian
_____________________________
 
 
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

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Our dwelling places

My dwelling places are many, Lord:
   my house or apartment, my dorm or condo;
   my neighborhood, parish and local community;
   where I work, where I study, where I pray;
      my dwelling places are many….

 

First of all, I thank you, Lord,

   not only for so many dwelling places in my day
but for the gift at each day’s end of a door
   to a place, to a room with a roof overhead,
      the place I call home, 
   whether large and spacious or small and cramped,
       a place to lay down my head at night and rest…
 
My dwelling may not be a castle, Lord,
   but how many in need would deem it a palace
for its locks and safety, its light and warmth, a fridge with food, 
   a shower and toilet, a bed and a pillow, an address for mail,
for it’s being a place to return to each night
   for being a place to call home…

 

I thank you for my dwelling place, Lord:
   let me not take it for granted
      and keep me generously mindful
         of those who have no place they might call home…

And how lovely is your dwelling place,   
   O Lord of hosts…

Your dwelling is the universe and all the heavens
   – and beyond the heavens, Lord…

Your dwelling has no roof, no walls,
   no beginning and no end…

The beauty of your dwelling’s beyond anything
   my mind might conceive or my dreams imagine
and yet – your dwelling place is with me and in me…

You who cannot be confined,
   you choose to dwell within my soul
      and make your home within my heart…

You, whom all creation can’t contain,
   you enter my humble quarters,
      the spare, simple chambers of my heart,
   and there, in Spirit, make yourself at home…

And, Lord, as you can see,
   I’m seldom ready for company,
      for receiving any guests at all,
         let alone, you, the greatest guest of all…

So, please forgive me,
   (indeed, forgive me, Lord!)
for my house is not in order, not yet or ever ready
   to be a place where you might dwell
      a place you might call home…

And yet, you come, you enter and you stay
   and you don’t leave, you don’t go away,
      you remain within me, always,
and in making my heart your home
   you make of your heart a home for me…

Amen.

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