Our “pastoral” prayer this morning is adapted from the
Wednesday morning worship at this year’s annual
conference. It was prayed by the worship leader, the
general secretary of our denomination, and the moderator
and the moderator-elect of Annual Conference. It
reflects the tension of working through some difficult
decisions in our body of Christ this year. May it be
blessing to us here and now as we pray together. Please
bow with us before God…
1 - God, who moved over the face of the waters, transforming
chaos into created beauty, move in our midst, transforming the
chaos of our troubled and aching hearts into an awareness of
your peace which passes all understanding.
2 - Hear now our prayers, those we find words to articulate and
those we can only express through tears, cries, groans, and
1 - Divine Love, we celebrate the reality that there are no “if
s” in your heart; that your love for us does not depend
upon what we do or say,
on our looks or intelligence,
on our success or popularity, or
on any single aspect of our identity.
2 - Your love and grace are steadfast and unconditional, and
your love binds us together in one body.
1 - Giver of all good gifts, we thank you
2 - for the spirit of unity that gives shape to our work
1 - for the vulnerability and willingness to share that deepens
2 - for the expressions of respect that builds up the body;
1 - for the diversity of gifts which enrich our life together:
2 - for the spirit of generosity which bears witness to your
1 - As we strive to be a reflection of your perfect love,
recognizing how our brokenness bears witness to your kingdom,
2 – O Amazing Grace, forgive us when we deepen the wounds in the
body of Christ,
1 - when our words and actions, intentionally or unintentionally
hurt, rather than heal, exclude rather than extend, tear down
rather than build up,
2 - Forgive us when we fail to recognize that we are all created
in your image and gifted with promise.
1 - Forgive us when our sisters and brothers ask for bread and
we offer them stones.
2 - Forgive us when we relate to one another from a position of
control rather than compassion.
1 - Forgive us when, in our certainty, we fail to open ourselves
to your continuing revelation through your Living Word.
2 - Forgive us when our fears prevent others from experiencing
true freedom in Christ.
1 - Forgive us when we carry a burden far greater than our
shoulders can bear, when we fail to share that burden with
others, or doubt your promise to give us rest and lighten our
2 - And even as we ask for your forgiveness, help us also to
forgive one another, because forgiveness has the power to heal
and restore the wounded body of Christ.
1 - Word made flesh, grant us the grace to understand that we
are your people and that it is only together that we embody your
story. Make us ever mindful in our daily living that, as persons
made in your image, we are co-creators with you, crafting the
story of you and your people in this time and in this place.
2 - Grant us humility as we continue to wrestle with our
tensions, openness as we seek to truly listen to one another,
grace to disagree in love and to avoid unkindness toward those
with whom we differ, and wisdom as we continue to seek the mind
of Christ together.
1 - We pray that the weariness bred by conflict and brokenness
within the body might not interfere with our mission and
ministry within the world, bearing witness to the good news of
Christ’s love in word and action.
2 - Through the gift of your Son, chosen, blessed, broken, and
given to the world, you satisfy our deepest hungers, so that we
might become the living body of Christ, chosen, blessed, broken,
and given to a world that hungers for meaning in life, for
comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for
restoration and healing. We are only a few loaves and fishes,
but we are enough when we think in ways that defy the world’s
1 - Bless our hands, our hearts, our vision to work together for
the bringing of your kingdom, that
in our differences we may find grace,
in our laboring we may find justice,
in our suffering - hope,
in our embracing - love, and
in our risking - transformation.
2 - So that as we move into the future we might be known by the
quality of our faith, by the depth of our love, by the level of
our hope, and by the audacity with which we engage you, engage
life, and engage our neighbors.
1&2 - Amen.
Wednesday morning worship
2011 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren
July 6, 2011. View the
The worship leader was Rhonda Pittman Gingrich,
who may have written all or part of this.