God of unfailing Love,
We come before you on this day with thankful and joyous hearts because your love knows no bounds. No boundaries, limits, or obstacles—including those of our own making—can thwart your loving kindness from following us all the days of our lives.
Yet during this week, your story of passion mirrors to us how we have tested your love and spurned your compassion. You find no abiding place in those who welcome you in God’s name during this week; you are welcomed with short-lived praise and soon-aborted allegiance.
We kneel before you in awe of the Mystery of your faithfulness. We kneel before you with confession, acknowledging our complicity with friends and enemies alike who through the ages have disowned you through our words and actions. We kneel before you in gratitude, forever thankful that even during passion week your love held strong.
As we enter into Holy Week brace us with fortitude and gratitude and with the assurance that you are with us, world without end. Amen. Rev. Thomas Hall
What we do for others, we do for ourselves.
All of us are part of one human family. And we are all bound to our four-legged and winged family as well. In fact all living beings are connected on this beautiful planet we call home.
This coming year is a new opportunity to be aware of how all life is connected. It’s a new chance to live in gratitude and deep appreciation for the gifts we have been given. This new year is a time for us to save ourselves by saving each other as we all work together to save our planet.
A Prayer for the Hungry
O God, we pray now for the hungry— not the spiritually
not the emotionally hungry
not the psychologically hungry
(though they surely need our prayers)—
we pray now simply for the hungry hungry.
We know in the realm that Jesus showed us no one
no one lacks daily bread.
In Your Realm,
those with food remember the hungry,
those with food share their food with the hungry,
those with food work on behalf of the hungry,
those with food weep for the hungry,
even if it makes them feel guilty.
God, we are grateful you never forget about the
that you long for the hungry to be fed.
God, we are grateful you never forget about those who
that you long for them to feed the hungry.
God, the hungry and unhungry stand as one before you;
loved with the same love,
both in need of you and each other.
God of the Hungry, so many are hungry.
Rescue your hungry children,
fill their stomachs with food
and their hearts with gladness,
so that they, too, might experience the luxury of dealing
only with their spiritual hunger,
their emotional hunger,
their psychological hunger.
Send your Spirit to the hungry hungry,
and to the unhungry,
until all feast with Jesus in the new age.
In the name of Jesus and the hungry hungry we pray.
a prayer by Steve Hammond
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 gracious and loving Creator, how thankful we are this day for all your blessings. We confess that far too often we live in a way that doesn’t demonstrate our gratitude for your goodness and your mercy. We are not as good stewards of your perfectly created world as we would like to be. We are wasteful of the gifts you have given us and take the beauty that surrounds us for granted. Forgive us.
Help us to be better stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Grant us the insight to understand how closely we are connected to each other and all living things, and then grant us the wisdom and the grace necessary to live accordingly. Help us to walk more lightly on the earth that sustains us, and help us to share the abundant resources to have given us with all those most in need. And in all our endeavors, both great and small, grant that all we do brings you both glory and praise. Amen