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

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…”

Because We Believe (John 3:14-21)

Like you, Father, we understand the love you have for your children.
Until our children were put in our arms, we had no idea how much love we could feel.
We are your children, Lord, each of us uniquely cherished and deeply loved.

You gave your Son to us, not to condemn us but to save us.
Help us to truly follow his teachings.
He taught us that we should act as one body,
to treat each other as we would want to be treated.
Help us to freely love one another without reservation.
He taught us to love the unlovable,
to comfort those in pain or illness,
to speak for those who have no voice,
and to value those who have no power.
Help us to realize it is not enough to say we believe,
help us to understand that our actions truly define our beliefs.

We cannot say we believe in your teachings
if our actions tell a different story.
We believe in your Son, and that he is the way to your light and your love.
And, because we believe, we act in ways that uphold those beliefs.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not freely love our brothers and sisters.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not seek out opportunities to make this earth as it is in your heaven.
We cannot say we love your Son
if we do not love ourselves completely.
We cannot say we love your Son
until we are willing to sacrifice our needs and wants for those around us.

Give us the strength to carry out your plan on earth.
Open our hearts to share your love freely with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Help us share your message of love and healing to those we encounter in our daily lives.
Be with those among us who need your healing touch and your sense of peace.
We name ___.

We are your children, Lord. As your children, we know that you are with us always.
We are comforted by your love and we use the words that you have taught us,
“Our Father…”