Prayers of the People | March 14

G od of dirt and moss and budding leaves, we know Lent isn’t over yet, but we can’t help ourselves—the earth keeps chanting “Easter is coming, Easter is coming” and we join in. We fill our lungs with as much air as possible. We soak our bodies in sunshine. The silent, frozen landscape is beginning to change—Aslan is on the move. Even though we are sensible enough to be prepared for more snow before summer, the excitement will not be shaken. The small child in all our hearts is squirming in her seat, impatient to get back outside.

God of songbirds and earthworms and groundhogs, with new life appearing all around us, we think ahead to Resurrection Sunday and we think back to times of renewal in our own lives. You awaken every sleeping seed. You are re-creating me. Every day, the old is past and the new has come. Thank you for never giving up on us. Whether we squander your wealth in riotous living or self-righteously ignore the riches all around us, you welcome us home, you invite us to the party. We are humbled. We are grateful. We bring to you now the concerns of our hearts, trusting that you can make them new as well.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Pakistan, Chile, Haiti, Afghanistan,You care for all nations of the world. As we hear of suicide bombings and aftershocks and lack of resources for those in need we remember that the world is still awaiting its ultimate renewal. We long for peace. We long for the end of war and poverty and hunger. Help us not to turn away when the truth is too painful. Help us to find ways to carry their suffering with us, so that we might find real ways to help, real ways to change ourselves and our world.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of Canada, Manitoba, Winnipeg,things in our corner are difficult, too. We think of the recent shootings in Ontario and Edmonton. We think of the avalanche in B.C. We think of the desperation and addiction that leads to violence in our own city. Forgive us where we are at fault. Empower us to participate in re-creation, wherever we can.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Our God, it is overwhelming that the God of the universe is also the God of st. benedict’s table, but you are. Thank you for the church worldwide—thank you that we are only part of a greater whole, that we are responsible to and for each other. Thank you for this community of faith, where we know we are welcomed and cared for. Thank you for the safety of this sacred space, where we can come, broken as we are, and find restoration. In love and trust, we together speak aloud the names of those we hold in our hearts, confident that they are held in your heart, too…

For those names spoken, unspoken, and for those we may have forgotten,

God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of changing seasons, the joy of spring does not erase the suffering of winter, and even as we experience new life we remember those we have lost in death. Be near us in our grief. Help us to comfort each other. We think especially of Karalee, whose death last weekend is strongly felt by members of this community. We hold her family in our thoughts and prayers: her mother Kim, her father Keith, her sister Kelsey, her brother Kyle. In the deep loss, anger, heartache and isolation of grief, may they know they are not abandoned.

God, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Written by Mari Raynard, to be offered in worship on the 4th Sunday in Lent, March 14, 2010.

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