Posts Tagged ‘renewal’

A New Year

January 4, 2010

For 2010 we wish a happier, healthier, richer experience of this life for everyone we know – and for everyone we don’t know.  For all of you.

On this first weekend of the new year, we offer the following verses, taken from the poem “Ring Out Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  The text of the full poem can be found on Wikipedia.

“Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

*                           *                           *

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.”


Grace and Confidence -1

December 13, 2009

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Lord as we approach the celebration of your birth, help us to embrace your message of hope, joy, forgiveness and peace. Help us to see the many opportunities we have around us to experience and share that message – the hope that comes with change; the joy in simply being alive; the opportunity to accept and be accepted by those who love us;  the peace of a quiet moment, a good meal, a warm bed.  Give us the confidence to move forward, one step at a time, as we work to fix our economy, to help those who are longing to work, feed those who are hungry, and to care for all who are sick.  Forgive us our faults,  — our shortsightedness, self righteousness, anger, fear, and denial — that stall our progress.  Help us to accept that progress is incremental and that in seeking a world that is more fair and just, we must often seek hope in the unseen. Let us find confidence in your mercy and grace, and follow the promise of your love.   Amen

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)

Finding Our Way

October 25, 2009

. . . “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

Thank you Lord for those who take up the hard work of governing, and especially those who are volunteers in our cities and counties, or serve school and fire districts or on other boards and commissions.  Bless and encourage those who work for the common good and persevere in the face of great challenges.  Help free those who are caught in the vise of party partisanship and enforcement.   Save us from those who would abuse their public trust.   Mitigate the voices of paid lobbyists and partisan media, and help those who govern to hear instead the voices and needs of the governed.  Help us examine our public life and turn away from the behaviors that discourage many who are capable from serving – mockery, misstatement, false accusations, and other behaviors designed to limit debate and consolidate the power of  a faction.  Let us, both leaders and citizens, find new ways to connect, engage, and listen to each other.  Help those who would lead our communities reach across divides, focus on core needs, and move forward together, adding to their ranks as they go.  Lead us, O Lord.


A Thousand Points of Light

October 18, 2009

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

Lord, we thank you for volunteers:  Those who teach, who clean up, who raise money, who clothe, who feed, who build, who repair, who plant, who heal, who organize, who donate, and who help in many other ways to sustain our communities.

We thank you for leaders who were not afraid to dream of a better world, and so set up infrastructures that have sustained generations of volunteers:  John Kennedy and the  Peace Corps, George H.W. Bush and his thousand points of light, Bill Clinton and AmeriCorps, and others throughout our states and cities who help connect citizens to the work that needs to be done.

As our current president promotes national days of service, let new generations and more individuals heed the call to public service.  As we work together, help us to form new relationships, strengthen the bonds of brotherhood, and re-energize our civic life.  Help us O Lord.


Charity and Truth -4

October 11, 2009

[Note: This is the final prayer in a series that reflects and quotes from the Encyclical Letter Caritas In Veritate given by Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2009.  Quotes from the letter are identified by paragraph number.]

And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:21

Thank you Lord, for encouragement in the form of a Nobel prize.  Encouragement for a new vision for our country — one of a world leader that respects others, seeks to rebuild relationships of trust, accepts accountability, opens new dialogues, and believes that all countries may some day live in peace.  Thank you for a president with the courage to dream and to speak out.  Thank you for his patience, calm demeanor, willingness to persevere and to forgive, and his focus on future generations.

Your love, is your “promise and our hope.Encycl. Ltr, par. 1. We are called to share that gift, to acknowledge our interdependence, to seek wisdom, to care for and about each other, and to work to establish a true sense of community with other citizens and other peoples.  Encycl. Ltr  16-20.    As we work through our current global economic and humanitarian crisis, we acknowledge that

[t]he different aspects of the crisis, its solutions, and any new development that the future may bring, are increasingly interconnected, they imply one another, they require new efforts of holistic understanding and a new humanistic synthesis. The complexity and gravity of the present economic situation rightly cause us concern, but we must adopt a realistic attitude as we take up with confidence and hope the new responsibilities to which we are called by the prospect of a world in need of profound cultural renewal, a world that needs to rediscover fundamental values on which to build a better future. The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey, to set ourselves new rules and to discover new forms of commitment, to build on positive experiences and to reject negative ones.  Encycl. Ltr. par. 21.

Let us heed your call for change O Lord. Harden not our hearts. Do not let the voices of doubt, denial, and denigration silence those who are seeking and working to build a better world.  Help the politics of hope and compassion overcome those of fear and domination.  Give us  peace in our lifetimes, O Lord.