Our Lives are Messy (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32)

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A Messy Life

We make choices in our lives.
Sometimes we choose wisely and
sometimes our choices land us in the muck,
maybe not literally rolling in the mud with the pigs,
but we can get pretty messy, Lord.

Remind us that we can find you in the messiness of life.
As children, we learned about the world you gave us by getting dirty.
We jumped in puddles, rolled in the autumn leaves
and picked dandelion bouquets we gave to our mothers.
Sometimes we played together nicely and
sometimes we refused to share our toys.
You were with us during those times of exploration.

Teenagers, Lord, can be really messy creatures.
As teenagers, we struggled to find our place in the world
and to understand the messiness of adult responsibilities and relationships.
As parents of teenagers, we struggled to find the words
to connect with our children in ways that brought them closer
and didn’t push them away.
The teenage years were full of exploration and angst.
We may not have had dirty clothes, but we were often deep in the muck.
You were still with us, Lord, during those years.

And then we became adults, Lord, perhaps with children of our own.
And even then, our lives were messy and we knew that we were not always in control.
Families are really, really messy, Lord, no matter how old we are.
We hurt each others’ feelings. We borrow things that don’t belong to us.
We think our family members should know what we want and what we need.
We expect things from our family that we would never ask a stranger to do.
Our children may not have the same dreams we want for them.
Our parents lose their independence and we find our roles suddenly changing.
Remind us, Lord, that we find you with us in the messiness,
and the joy, of family life.

Jesus, you taught us the value of forgiveness and acceptance.
Help us to see these truths in the messiness of our lives.
Open our eyes to the barriers we may be placing between ourselves and others.
Open our hearts to forgive when we feel unappreciated or less valued.
Use our hands to support each other and
to celebrate each other’s gifts and talents.
Remind us of the joy of childhood and help us find in our lives today.
You taught us the value of community and family.
We know that you are with us always, even in the muck,
and we ask that you especially be with __.

As your family, as your loving children,
we use the words Jesus taught us, by saying,
“Our Father…”

A Place to Call Home (Deuteronomy 26:1-11)

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
Home is a place where when we walk through the door,
we can drop our public face and become who we truly are.

Lord, we ask you to be with those in this world who have no home,
no safe place to live, who may not feel welcome,
and who feel alone and helpless.
We ask that you open our eyes to the needs
of those who live in war zones,
of those who live in underdeveloped countries,
and those who live in poverty within our own country.
Remind us that our public policies and our private choices
have contributed to their situations.
Remind us how fortunate we have been to be born
in this place and in this time,
how fortunate we are
to have the opportunity to improve ourselves and our situations.

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
As we come here each week to this sacred place,
we feel your presence and we know that we are cherished.
This place, this home, is always here for us even as our lives change.
Your teachings and your grace are always here for us
even as the world changes around us.
No matter where we travel in this world, no matter where our home may be,
you are with us always.
We know that you walk with us on our journey and
we ask that you make your will known to us.
We ask that you be with those among us
who especially need your healing touch, and we name ___.
As the world changes too quickly for us to comprehend,
we ask that you be with us and fill us with your peace.

Lord, there are far too many people in this world
who have no place to call their home.
There is too much violence, too much economic uncertainty,
and too much political upheaval for any of us to feel comfortable.
Remind us that we are your children.
Remind us that as your children,
each of us is deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Remind us that as your children,
as your followers, we are to support one another.
Remind us to help each other find their home, their safe place.
Remind us to share our fortune with others,
and especially to share the good news of your love and your teachings.

Each of us longs for a place to call home,
a place that we are safe and cherished.
If we cannot find our home in the earthly world,
we know we have a home with you.
We know that we can be ourselves with you
because we are your children.
You know us completely and you love and accept us.
In this sacred place, in this home, we use the words that your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

God of Second Chances ( John 21:15-19)

Thank you for loving us always.
You are the God of second chances
Even when we don’t forgive ourselves,
You give us another chance.

You know that we also love you
but sometimes we don’t show it.
Sometimes we focus too much on ourselves.
Sometimes we worry about the wrong things.
Remind us to focus on you and your teachings.
Remind us to follow you.
Remind us to take care of each other.

You are the God of second chances,
of third chances and fourth chances.
Remind us that we are human
but we can seek the divine.
Quiet our minds so that we can take the time
to hear you, to seek you out in the quiet space.
Open our hearts to your plan and your teachings.

As the God of second chances,
you accept us as we are and
take pride in whom we will become.
You ask us if we will love and follow you.
We offer our lives to you, we offer our hearts to you.

Thank you for loving us always.
You are the God of second chances.
We ask that you share your grace and love with ___
As your children, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

Complete Acceptance (Mark 1:4-11)

Father God, we confess that often our focus is on how we appear to others.

Did we say the right thing?
Did we act like we were in control?
We wonder too much about what others think of us.

Mother God, remind us that we are your children.
As your children, we are deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
Our words please you when we speak to raise others up,
Our actions please you when we work for peace and justice in this world,
Our thoughts please you when we think of ways to help those who have no power in this world,
and our hearts open to you when we take a moment in prayer.

Spirit God, you fill us with your love and grace.
Your living water washes over us, cleansing us of our sins and shortcomings.
We know that no matter how hard we try, no matter how good we are,
we will never live up to your ideals.
And, yet, we know that you accept us as we are,
you not only accept us, but you loved us before we were even born.
We are your beloved, and we are loved.

We confess that we spend too much time thinking about the material world around us,
and not enough time in prayer with you, Lord.
Open our hearts to your loving embrace,
Open our minds to desire that conversation and time of reflection with you,
Open our imagination to the possibilities that are within you,
Open our hands to the work that needs to be done in this world.

Mother God, you are with us always, loving us and healing us,
be with those among us today who need your healing grace.
We name ___
As you are with us, filling us with light and love,
open our hearts to desire this time with you,
remind us that we need to spend time in contemplation and reflection.

And, as we spend time in prayer with you, we use the words that your son taught us,
“Our Father…”