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ImageLast night I had the honor of offering an opening prayer at La Cena, an All Saints Feast put together by Cafe Momentum and House of Plates. Here’s the prayer that I wrote. Please feel free to use it for churches or other celebrations (churches may want to substitute “today” for “tonight”)

 

 

Tonight we remember the saints

And give thanks for the way they shaped us. May we mold the world according to their witness.

Tonight we remember the saints

And give thanks for the way they loved us. May we reflect their light, long after their lives have slipped into darkness.

Tonight we remember the saints

And pray  we be remembered like them. For this fleeting flesh will not last, but the fossil remain of our work will surely linger and give shape to the coming age.

Tonight we remember the saints

And savor their memory as we do this meal. May we be nourished by this food, nourished by their memory so that we might serve the world in a way that brings light to darkness food to hunger courage to victim flesh to bone water to thirst life to death.

Tonight we remember the saints

and give thanks to God, the giver of death.

Tonight we remember the saints

and give thanks to God, the giver of life.

In the Blink of an Eye

A prayer for the 10th anniversary of September 11th, led by four voices

1: In the blink of an eye, a mangled torrent of steel, jet fuel and earth ended hundreds of lives.  Our nation opened its eyes once again to tragedy.  And we wept.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

 

2:  In the blink of an hour, thousands more would die.  People who showed up for work at a desk.  People who showed up for work, on a plane.  People who showed up for work on the back of a firetruck, never to return home.  They made one last phone call, said one last prayer and their eyes were closed.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

3:  In the blink of a day, tens of thousands flocked to scarred remains of earth, broken shards of buildings.  Churches opened their doors, restaurants opened their tables, donors opened their veins and their wallets.  The world opened its heart.  Humanity’s best reflected light in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  Covered in ash…covered in shock…covered in grief, we were all the same…and the world opened its eyes to hope.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

4:  In the blink of a year, we were at war—twice.  Revenge tangled with justice…confusion tangled good will…hatred tangled hope.  In some ways, we offered peace.  In some ways, we became like those who had hurt us.  We saw the world with blinders that follow injustice.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

2:  In the blink of ten years, we have adjusted to a new normal.  On September 10th, 2001 ,we had more wealth, more confidence, more naiveté, more innocence, more friends.  We had far fewer scars.  But scars, too, are signs of hope—reminders of healing–that life goes on, that the  arc of the time bends towards recovery.  Scars in our memories, in our land and in our skyline remind us that injury and death do not have the last word unless we give it to them.  Scar tissue is resilient, tough and hopeful.  We see the world with renewed hope.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

1:  And so we confess

2:  That we have not loved our enemies

3:  That we have not prayed for them

4:  That we have, at times, become like them

2:  That we have bombed their children instead of feeding them

3:  That our instinct to hate and hurt were in us before we were attacked

All: Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

1:  And so we celebrate

3:  That there is light in valley

2:  That we were able to participate in that light

4:  That the nations of this world struggle towards freedom

2:  That you were not silent on 9/11 and you have not been silent since

3:  That we have begun to heal

All: Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

 

1:  And so, wide-eyed, we look

4:  For a world of hope

2:  For a world of peace

3:  For a world of faith

2:  For a world of love

4:  In the long gaze of God.

All:  Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

This is a short prayer that I wrote on the way to church on Sunday.  It was inspired by a David Crowder song:

When darkness falls on us,

We will not fear, we will remember that your light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

When rain falls on the earth,

We will not fear, we will remember the waters of our baptism that bring death, but also new life, purpose, calling     and grace.

When sickness overshadows our bodies,

We will not fear, we will remember that Jesus healed 2000 years ago and that Jesus continues to heal today.

When we walk in the valley of the shadow of death,

We will not fear, we will remember that you are with us—your rod and your staff comfort us.

When our sins and mistakes cover our souls.  When we’ve broken someone’s heart.  When we’ve broken your heart,

We will not fear, we will remember the prodigal son who remembered the goodness of the father.

When  fear creeps in, help us to remember.

Amen    

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