Archive for November, 2009

Giving Thanks

November 30, 2009

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Lord, we give you thanks for the many blessings in our lives, even when times are hard. We thank you for babies born healthy and for the legacies of lives that were lived with wisdom. We thank you for opportunities to work and opportunities to learn. We thank you for the strength and love of our families and the support of our friends.  We thank you for teachers and mentors. We thank you for those who protect us both at home and abroad.  We thank you for the technology that connects us to a broader world and the crafts that connect us to our past.  We thank you for the music and art which enhance our lives.  We thank you for the natural world that renews and inspires.  We thank you for sleep and for food.  We thank you for forgiveness and new beginnings.  We thank you for your constant presence among us.

As we enter the Advent season, help us to be ever aware of your presence throughout our lives, and to share your message of hope, love, joy, and peace.  We thank you, O Lord.


Save Our Children

November 22, 2009

The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call. Acts 2:39

Lord, at a time when one out of six children in the United States live in poverty, and over 30% of US children are projected to live in poverty at some point in their lives, please bless our children.  Bless those who live in the projects and tenements of our cities and the more than 50% who live outside of major cities in trailers, in cars, and in substandard housing.  Bless and help the parents who struggle to feed them and to find them shelter.  Bless the volunteers who fill weekend backpacks, donate clothes and food, and provide mentoring and friendship to children in need.  As our children grow, help them stay in school, find funds for the education they need, get jobs, and develop the habits that will allow them to be financially self-sufficient.  Do not let the sins of this generation imperil their future.  Give all of our children hope, and save them, O Lord.


Bounding Markets With Love

November 16, 2009

“A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34.   “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15.   “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12.  “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17

One of our readers wrote in response to Charity and Truth 2 that

Economics is a science but we sometimes forget that it is a special kind of science.  It is not a natural science (like astronomy, geology or botany). Economics is essentially a study of culture, not of nature.  This is an important point.  When economists study and talk about the market they are dealing with a human construct, not a natural force like the tides or eclipses. . . [T]he concept that economics deals with culture (not nature) means that to a large extent we can structure it to be what we want it to be, and if we want to change it for social or ethical reasons it is possible and proper to do so and we are not as some suggest) tampering with a natural force.” (read the full comment below posted following Charity and Truth 2).

Lord what would it look like if our markets were bounded by care and compassion for our neighbors?  Should those who profit by moving financial capital be required to reserve for the risks of dislocation and loss borne by those who provide the physical capital needed for actual production? Can we find ways of ensuring that a market’s failure to properly manage risk does not cause a loss of jobs and homes for those who have no control over the decisions made? Or ways to ensure that those who work and save do not see their life savings eliminated as businesses and banks are restructured?  Help us to find ways to fund training for new forms of work and opportunities to those who are in desperate need.  Free us from unquestioning acceptance of the myth that markets act wisely, and give us the courage to change.  Give those who profit both the humility to recognize that they build on the contributions of others and the grace to share the benefits they receive.  Help us to search for and find the structures that could help our markets better serve our  communities. Help us to care for one another O Lord.


Reaching Into The Shadows

November 8, 2009

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5.

Lord, bless the homeless who sit on park benches, seek shelter on church steps, and wander our streets.

Lord bless the hungry who hide in their homes, who queue up at pantries, who can’t feed their kids.

Lord bless those who are without hope, filled with despair, unable to work or to access the care they need.

Lord bless our shelters and our food banks and the volunteers and workers who struggle with inadequate means to meet the growing demand.

Lord bless our storefront churches that share your light in broken neighborhoods and reach out to the homeless, the hungry and the hurting with offers of fellowship and care.

Lord bless other faith communities that provide volunteers and resources and build networks to provide help to those they do not know.

Lord, bless those men and women who seek to implement governmental policies and budgets that reflect your care and compassion for those unable to help themselves.

As our economy recovers, let us try to provide all those in our country with dignity, and to meet their basic needs.

Help to care, O Lord.


Illumine Us

November 2, 2009

Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals — these are the very things that destroy them. Jude 10

Lord, forgive the bloggers that rant without reason, that accuse without foundation, that rail against realities they refuse to accept.  Forgive the pundits who incite hate and anger and sow confusion and fear.  Forgive those in the media that rebroadcast soundbites and ignore context and complexities.  Do not let their fear, confusion and anger distract, delay or prevent us from moving forward.  Instead,

Open our eyes that we may see, glimpses of the truth that could set us free.  Enlighten us.

Open our ears that we might hear, voices of truth that are sounding clear.  Lead us.

Open our hearts, that we might share your love and truth without fear.  Illumine us.*

Help us to look at facts, to understand cause and effect, to accept our current reality and to move forward.

Guide us.  Enlighten us.  Illumine us.   Help us to be wise, O Lord.


(*paraphrased from the hymn Open My Eyes That I Might See” by Clara Scott, 1895)