Lord, I make you a present of myself. I do not know what to do with myself. So let me make this exchange: I will place myself entirely in your hands, if you will cover my ugliness with your beauty, and tame my unruliness with your love. Put out the flames of false passion in my heart, since these flames destroy all that is true within me. Make me always busy in your service. Lord, I want no special signs from you, nor am I looking for intense emotions in response to your love. I would rather be free of all emotion, than to run the danger of falling victim once again to false passion. Let my love for you be naked, without any emotional clothing.
St Catherine of Genoa, 1447-1510, Italian Catholic mystic
Loving God, our faithful father, you who created us in your image and likeness, and are willing to meet with us here, as market vendors, barbers, mothers and fathers.
We confess that in our sweat and toil, we often forget your presence. In our struggles and weariness and frustration we are often lukewarm. Forgive us.
Tabernacle with us.
We need you now more than ever. Drained of strength and energy we come, that we might be re-energized and filled.
So come Lord. Come as the wind, blow your breath gently over us, blow the dust off our lives. Come as the fire, burn out all the hate and anger we feel towards those who oppress us and treat us unfairly. Come as the water, wash the dirt of poverty off our stalls, the marketplace, and our lives.
Come as the dove – settle all matters concerning us. Let peace reign.
May we encounter you today. Ignite our hearts to worship and serve you. Take your place and rule and reign in Jesus’s name as we leave our struggle at the foot of the cross and liberate us to worship you. Amen.
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Lord, I’m so easily weighed down by my struggles, my burdens and the harsh realities of daily life…
Sometimes, I think I’ll lose hope in you in tomorrow, in others, and in myself so I need you to help me trust, to help me hope that the peace I imagine, the peace I pray for, the peace you promise is stronger and greater than any of my problems…
Let hope be my hunch, Lord: that my future’s not limited by my present trials; that the troubles of the moment won’t have the last word; that my burdens are truly a prelude to joy…
Give me hope in the midst of suffering, Lord: I know that’s the path of your love, I know it’s the way to peace…
Help me see, Lord, how my troubles prepare me today for your coming, the advent of peace, for the gift of your presence, the harvest of hope, my hunch proved right by your grace…
Protect me, Lord, while I’m awake and watch over me while I asleep that awake, I might keep watch with you and asleep, rest in your peace… Amen.
Fr. Austin Fleming, Roman Catholic Priest serving near Boston, MA Concord Pastor
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
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