Gracious and most merciful Creator, You have graced us beyond comprehension. All that we have, even life itself, is a gift from you. And for all that we have received we give you thanks and praise.
Even as we praise you for the mercy and love you have poured into our lives we recognize that there are those around us that are not so blessed. We are forced to admit that our world is not just, that evil abounds, that violence stalks the poor, and that hunger still kills thousands of our family every day.
Our prayer this morning is that each of us who call ourselves followers of your Son might be guided more completely by his love and compassion. Allow us to be touched by the pain and fear of the poor and hungry. Allow us to sense the anger Jesus felt for those who would abuse the weak.
And throughout this week we would ask that you would guide us to those we might demonstrate compassion and mercy in your name. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit that we might bring bring peace where there is conflict and grace where the need is the greatest. Grant us the power to serve you by serving those most in need of your love.
God is more glorified by a man who uses the good things of this life in simplicity and gratitude than by the nervous asceticism of someone who is agitated by every detail of his self-denial….His [the latter’s] struggle for perfection becomes a kind of battle of wits with the Creator who made all things good. – Thomas Merton
Nothing turns me off more than frowning saints. And the problem is that there’s far to many of them in most of the churches I visit.
Many Christians live, and want others to live, as if faithfulness to a loving Creator is best manifested by a public denial of anything that might be good or enjoyable. These fine folks look like they lost their ticket to the big game and can’t find anyone to blame.
These are the folks in every church who look as if they just returned from a trip and they didn’t enjoy the ride. The glass is not only half empty, it’s also chipped, as well. If it’s good it’s suspect.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk. He lived a life of simplicity as his faith response to God’s love, but he understood that God isn’t glorified by a constant struggle against enjoyment of his perfect creation.
Thoroughly enjoying all the good gifts of God glorifies him far more than continually fighting against the contentment that follows a good meal or a walk through a spring meadow. We don’t have to be afraid to enjoy the good things of God.
God created the world and saw that it was good. Not only can we enjoy it, we can actually smile as we thank God for all the blessings we have been given.
Most merciful and gracious Lord, we thank you for another night of safety and rest. We praise you for another glorious day filled with the promise of your presence and power.
We pray today to be more mindful in all we do. We pray today to have more understanding, especially for those in dire circumstances and deep difficulties. Help us to see beyond the superficial. Help us, Creator God, to glimpse the same beauty in those in need for which you allowed your Son to go to the cross.
Allow us to be fully open to your leading. Allow us to be perfectly useful to you in touching those that crave a loving touch, those who shiver with the chill of neglect, and those whose hunger is far deeper than just bread.
Help us this day, o Lord, to have insight in how best to meet the deepest needs of those you place in our path. AMEN.
Great and gracious Creator, we take time this morning to offer you our praise and thanks for a night of rest and yet another beautiful day filled with your grace and beauty. Your abiding presence in our lives brings a peace that passes all understanding, and we begin the day knowing we have nothing to fear. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from your eternal love.
Grant us your mercy today. Grant us your wisdom today. Grant us the ability and the desire to walk humbly with you, extending a healing touch to all those we meet. Grant us the strength to bring a word of peace and reconciliation to every person we encounter today.
And Master, please empower each of us today with your Holy Spirit. Grant us a vision of your kingdom, and then guide us in the most positive ways to use the power we have been given to transform the world into your kingdom, a kingdom where justice reigns for all.
Grant that we might make friends with those most in need of your love and provision, and may we see you in the face of every hungry person we meet. Amen and Amen
Nowdays, we are confronted by a huge gap between the rich and the poor. This is not only morally wrong, but practically a mistake. It leads to the rich living in anxity and the poor living in frustration, which has the potential to lead to more violence. We have to work to reduce this gap. It’s truly unfair that some people should have so much while others go hungry. — The Dalai Lama
The gap between the rich and the poor is huge. But that gap is not only between those of us who have and those of us who have not. That gap is the gap between us and being good. That is the gap between us and a moral lifestyle, the gap between us and living justly. The gap between us who have and those of our family who have not is the gap between us and walking humbly with our Creator.
The huge gap between the rich and the poor confronts us with a daily choice. How should we live in a hungry world? Do we respond to the cries of the hungry, or do we refuse to hear and look the other way?
It is truly unfair, writes the Dalai Lama, that some have so much while others lack their daily bread. It’s unjust, and we all know it. What are we going to do about it?