Prayers of the People| February 13

I call the community into a time of prayer. God of love, Valentine’s Day is problematic. It can remind us of all that is thrilling and sentimental about romantic love, but it can also remind us of all the times love has failed us, kicked us to the curb, alienated us. We want to celebrate love, but we also grieve love’s lack, all the spaces in our lives that are lonely and cold. We confess our own failures to love: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. Our lessons today remind us of your command to love each other, not to be like young children squabbling over authority, hating, cheating, and lying. We want to grow into mature love, your love that does not fail. Help us to celebrate the love we share, and to confess our failures to love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, we celebrate your universal church, the body of Christ bound together in faith, hope, and love. Thank you for our brothers and sisters around the world. Thank you for bringing us into a family, a place we can belong. God, we confess our failure to love your people. We speak ill of this church group or that denomination. We judge their motives when we cannot see their hearts. We fail to pray. We fail to remember the needs of our family around the world. We who have so much find it hard to offer even a little of what we have. Forgive us and help us, God of love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, we confess our failures as humans to build systems of government that care for citizens rather than pursue power. We do not protect “the least of these.” We strive to be the best, to have the most, to be in control. Because of our collective failure to love, the world you created has many needs. People suffer. The earth groans. God, we celebrate the places and times when love and justice break through in our broken world. We pray today especially for the people of Egypt, who are effecting enormous change in their country. May they find lasting, peaceful solutions to their political tensions.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, we celebrate our community of st. benedict’s table. Thank you for Helen, John, Larry, Audrey, Jamie, and all who serve in leadership. Thank you for the love we can share with the guests at Agape Table. We celebrate the bond we share with every person in this room: the body and blood of Christ that demonstrates to us what true love means. God, we confess our failures to love each other: the times we come to worship with a grudge against the person sitting next to us, the times the fruit baskets for Agape Table are empty when our own refrigerators overflow. Forgive us. Help us to be mindful of each other’s needs. We speak aloud the names of those whose needs we know, offering them to you in love……

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God, many of the people we love dearly have died. Help us in our grief. Forgive us when we fail to comfort those who mourn. As this Valentine’s Day passes and the supermarket aisles of pink and red slowly dwindle, we ask that you would reawaken us to the awesome beauty of your love. Plant seeds of love deep into our souls. Build your church into a temple of love, where all are welcomed, all are cared for.

Amen.

Written by Mari Raynard, to be offered in worship on the 6th Sunday in Epiphany, February 13, 2011.

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