Be Whole (1 John 4:7-21)

We are your children, made in your image,
formed by you and loved by you.
Help us to feel that love within ourselves.
Open our hearts to accept your love freely.
Help us to love and to accept ourselves
as you have shaped us.
None of us can claim perfection or live up to your teachings.
And yet you still love us and give us grace.
Help us to feel that grace deep within our souls.
And remind us to share your grace with others.

We are your children
but we live in a world that is separated and divided.
A world where many feel unwelcome or marginalized.
A social climate that rewards materialism and
casts blame on those who are impoverished.
A political agenda that reinforces the fear of the “other.”
A world that celebrates the rich, the powerful and
the beautiful.
None of us can claim perfection or live up to your teachings.
And yet you still love us and give us grace.
Help us to reject the world around us and
to see your image in the faces of those we meet.
Jesus taught us that there is no “other.”
We are to act as one people, one community.

We are your children
and as you support us, we support those around us.
We ask that you be with ___ and share your healing touch with them.
In love, we lift up those who have gone unnamed
and have not yet realized that they are made whole in your love and grace.
We ask also that you be with us, a white congregation,
and begin to open our eyes
to the ways our society is not fair to our brothers and sisters of color.
Help us to see how our known and unknown biases
shape our interactions and our beliefs.
Take away our defenses so we can share honestly with one another.
Give us the courage and strength to have the conversations that will bring us together as one.

Jesus taught us that there is no “other.”
Gracious God, we lift up our voices today
asking for your help to make this world your world.
We use the words Jesus taught us, saying “Our Father…”

Be Reconciled (1 John 3:16-24 )

Love is not just words, love is action.
We know, Lord, it is not enough to
tell someone who is hungry that we will pray for them.
We must also feed them.
Better yet, help us to find a way
to ensure your abundance is shared with everyone.
Give us the wisdom we need to make this world a better place,
to make a difference by what we do and say in your name.

Your love for us is never-ending. Your love fills our hearts and our minds.
As an act of love, you have given us your teachings,
you have given us grace, and
you have given us your son to show us how to put your words into action.
Help us to follow in his footsteps.
Urge us to action and fill our hearts with the desire
to make this world a better place.
Use our hands, move our feet, open our eyes and free us from doubt and fear.
We can follow your teachings.
We are your people and you give us strength.

As your people, we have come together in community
to grow and share our faith.
We honor you and lift you up in worship and praise.
We also lift up those among us who are in need of your strength and grace.
We name ___.
But we ask you to also be with those among us who have not been named.
Some may be embarrassed to ask for help and choose to remain silent.
Some may feel unworthy of your love and hide from your presence.
Some may feel separated and alone from the congregation
and don’t know how to connect.
Gracious God, you know our needs better than we do and
we ask that you be with us and help us to be the people
you know we can become.
We know that you are with us always.

Love is not just words. Love is action.
Love is truth spoken in kindness.
Love is peace and justice.
Love is forgiveness and reconciliation.
Love is faithfulness to people and to ideals.
Love is a willingness to share your gifts and talents with others.
All this and more, Gracious God, is how you show your love to us
and how we show your love to others.

We lift up our voices in the words that your son taught us so many years ago,
“Our Father….”

The Light of the World (1 John 1:1-10)

Our world can be a dark and scary place.
Creation shows us her power with hurricanes and fires.
Oceans rise, storms rage and islands are destroyed.
Nations quarrel and politicians squabble.
Women, children and men are used and abused by others in power.
The poor grow poorer and too many people go hungry.
People of color feel unsafe.

As we look at the pain in our world,
we don’t see ourselves as responsible.
We blame the system and hold ourselves outside of that system.
We confess that we hold others to be accountable
while making excuses for ourselves.
When we do this, we know we are walking in the darkness.

Remind us to follow in your light, to be the light to others.
Remind us that in your light, we are forgiven and made clean.
And help us to share that good news with others.
You have revealed yourself and your love to us.
Help us to share the fellowship we have with you.
Help us to be in fellowship with everyone we meet.

As we let the light that is inside of us shine,
may we see clearly the reality around us,
May we use your light to show your plan here on earth
and to guide our feet.
May we use your light to help us identify the needs of those around us.
May we use your light to identify the inequity in our world
and to help us take steps to create a just and peaceful world.
As your followers, we support each other.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your strength and healing touch.
We name __.
We ask that you be with those among us who are celebrating and
are filled with joy.
We name ___.

As we walk in your light, and as we share your light with others,
we use the words your Son taught us.
“Our Father…”