Past, Current, Future: We Follow You (Exodus 3:1-15)

God of our beginning, you have called us to follow you.
We gather in this sacred place and open our hearts to you.
Even though we feel weak and inadequate,
we offer ourselves up to you.
Ignore our excuses, but instead use us to fulfill your plan here on earth.
Ignore the reasons we offer as to why we can’t and open our eyes to why we can.
Ignore our claims of inexperience, but remind us, you have given each of us
special gifts and talents.
Challenge us to be what we wish others would be.
Use us as you desire.

God of our today, you have called us to follow you.
You are with us always, in times of trial and in times of joy.
As our nation faces numerous crises, we ask that you grant us your peace
and your strength.
Hurricanes, floods, fires, pollution, political conflicts –
we live in unsettled times like every generation before us.
You hear our cries and know our fears.
As we reach out to support one another,
help us to feel your presence with us.
We ask that you be with those among us who need your healing grace.
We name __.
Challenge us to follow your teachings and to share your love with others.
Use us as you desire.

God of our tomorrow, you have called us to follow you.
We offer ourselves to you.
Open our hearts so that we can share your love with others.
Open our hands so that we can share our gifts and talents freely.
Open our ears so that we can hear the needs of those around us.
Open our eyes so that we see the world you want us to build.
Challenge us to truly be your followers.
Use us as you desire.

As your followers, we use the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father…”

What We Perceive (1 Samuel 15:34-16:13)

As a child, we see things in black and white.

Our world is very clear, and our boundaries are established.
A child can easily tell you if an act is right or wrong.
The world can become more gray as we get older.
Father, we have more doubts now and
sometimes we ask more questions than a two year old.

Why do we act selfishly at times?
Why do good people die before their time?
Why does a tornado hit one house and not another?
Why do I feel alone even when surrounded by many?
Why are there people in our neighborhoods who go to bed hungry?
And, why does evil sometimes seem to flourish in our world?

As adults, we see the world in shades of gray.
When asked if an act is right or wrong, we may answer, “It depends.”
We view the world based on our experiences, our biases, and our fears.
Father God, we ask that you open our eyes to your choice,
to your plan.
Open our hearts so that we can follow you without hesitation.
Mother God, comfort us in our doubt and confusion,
as a mother soothes her child.
Reassure us that while our world is sometimes lacking balance
and fairness, you are with us always.
Remind us that it is up to us to make this world as it is in your heaven.
We are to act now, to live out your word now, in this place.

Holy Creator, you have shaped us, formed us, and known us.
You see beyond what the world sees in us, beyond what we share with others.
You know us completely and you love us as completely.
We ask that you give us the faith to follow your plan
using the gifts and talents that you freely given us.
Allow us to see ourselves as you see us, each of us deeply loved and uniquely cherished.
As your children, we are to support one another in this world.
We know that you are also with us supporting us in the chaos of this world.
We ask that you be with ___ granting your comfort and peace.

We may still have questions, we may still doubt what we see around us,
but we have faith in the words your Son gave us.
We lift our hearts and our thoughts to you, using those words,
“Our Father…”

Why Is Life Unfair? (Mark 10:46-52)

As we look at the world around us,
we see much disparity.
Why do some have so much and others so little?
Why are some who practice bad habits, healthy and strong,
while innocent children face illness and pain?
Why does the drunk driver kill someone else other than himself?

Remind us that you are always with us,
but also remind us that our reality is not a litmus test of our faith.
A strong faith does not guarantee us a world full of riches and rainbows,
but our faith will help us get through those dark and lonely nights.
Our faith will help us get through the news that a loved one has cancer,
that a job has been lost, or that our child has made a bad choice.
It is our faith that has brought us to this place, to this community,
to this sacred place.
Our community of believers stand with each other,
supporting one another in times of need,
celebrating our special occasions and individual achievements,
lifting up those who need support,
healing those who are in pain,
and grieving with those who mourn.
That is what you have taught us,
that we are your children,
that we are to be your church.

We follow you, Father, and try to walk in the way of your Son.
He shared your love with us and
we know that we need to share our love with others.
Part of that love is to care for those among us
who have less than they need, for whatever reason.
Open our eyes to the need around us.
Open our ears to the call of those like Bartimaeus who
cry out for assistance.
Open our hearts to your plan, to your desires.
We ask that you use us, that you help us experience your call.
Help us to stand up, to throw off our cloak, and to follow you.

We follow you, Father, and we know that you are with us always.
Your Spirit moves among us, silently urging us in ways we don’t understand
and may never realize.
You are with us, and we ask that you especially be with ___.
Help us to realize that our only privilege in this world is that we are your people.
We are loved by you; we are your children.
While we will always face challenges in our lives, we know that you are always with us.

As Bartimaeus cried out to you, we also cry out to you and we know that we are loved
and that you hear our cries.
As your children, we raise our voices using the words your Son taught us,
“Our Father..”