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Prayers of the People

This prayer was offered by Rev. Matthew Nickel in worship on Sunday June 14, 2015 during the Prayers of the People.

 

The gospel writer tells us that you, O God,

are like one who scatters seed on the ground,

anticipating growth

so that mature plants could live your grace in the world.

 

We pray that in our worship and our lives,

and among the lives of all people in the world,

that your grace would be scattered among us like seeds,

that we might reach out like long branches,

where possibilities would grow strong and faithful.

 

Would you scatter a grace that surpasses all understanding,

in a world so vulnerable.

We seek the peace and hope of Christ alive.

 

We hope that we and the world would raise children of all nations,

to be good citizens, to enjoy learning and faith,

who learn to love well.

Scatter your grace among those who nurture the children.

 

We ache with human bodies that feel the weight of fragilility.

You designed us beautifully and resilient and yet as we age,

health can do things the body does not intend and we struggle.

Scatter healing that goes beyond the physical needs,

Among those seeking resilience.

 

So too, we feel hopeless in the face of the world’s refugee crisis.

As the Somali-British Poet Warsan Shire writes,

“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”*

We pray for the 50 million plus displaced peoples of our global community,

these from too many nations to count.

We pray for seeds of courage and an end to the fear.

We pray for seeds of radical hospitality and places of safety to receive refugees.

We pray for an end to such violence, so home can remain home for all people.

 

When we only have stunned silence. When have no words.

When we do not have a place to turn.

You gave us a prayer that unites us. A prayer to say when we mourn,

when we celebrate, when we gather in solidarity.

So when we gather, we turn to you with the prayer Christ gave us to pray saying,

Our Father…

 

* This quote come from the New York Times editorial Lost Voices of the World’s Refugees. Highland Presbyterian Church seeks to be a neighbor to the refugee community in Louisville through Kentucky Refugee Ministries, whose offices reside on the church campus.

September Reflection

This year, we are taking one phrase from our mission statement each month as a kind of  “theme” for emphasis and reflection. This month, as we begin the program year of education for children, youth and adults, it is appropriate that we reflect on how the Bible is our source of knowledge, inspiration and hope. When we use the word “inspired,” we mean it in two ways. First, our creeds and confessions say that the Bible is the “inspired” Word of God. This means that the Bible is both the product of human authors, editors, scribes and translators, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Presbyterian Christians argue that the authority of the Bible lies not in the words on the page but with the Holy Spirit who not only inspired the authors but inspires us as readers today.

 

“We are a community of faith inspired by biblical teachings.”

 

Second, not only is the text inspired, we are supposed to be inspired by reading and hearing the scriptures. The problem is that many people don’t experience the Bible as inspiring. Some have experienced the Bible as a weapon used against them: “behave this way, or else….” “Believe this, or else….” Obviously, the Bible contains principles, values, and rules for living. But when people use it primarily as a way to condemn others, the Bible itself is being abused, because its purpose is to bring life not death, hope not fear, joy not anxiety.

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