Below are the prayers that were prayed this morning at Bethel. The theme of our sermon was "love is greater than money," which focused on the fact that our relationships can overcome even crippling amounts of debt, and that under God's grace, we owe nothing of ourselves to be worthy. Please pray along with us if you so please. Be well, and have a wonderful week.
We thank You for this time together, to sit still in a pew, to wave our arms during a song, to hold each other tight in a much-needed hug. For these walls and ceilings that block out the stress of our jobs, our fears, our broken hearts. For teachers who will color with our children for an hour so we can drink coffee in here. For those who empty our waste bins and shut off our lights and track our finances in complicated spreadsheets. Let this place always be a home where we can dump the contents of our messy insides and still be seen as the beautiful children we are.
For the food in our fridge, remind us always to give the utmost thanks. In a time when rent prices are climbing, when people are pouring into the streets to call a sidewalk home, let us not take for granted the many, many provisions You provide for us – clothes to wear, books to read, toys for our kids to play with. Let us never forget that You are our shepherd and You always know where your sheep are, across this vast pasture where You’ve laid us. Help us to enter our cubicles where we earn this food with gusto, knowing that we are never forgotten, our woolen coats counted every night and every morning.
In this expensive city, where shiny toys are dangled before us and raises are sometimes hard to come by, we can come into debt, and with that can come shame. Let us know that with You we don’t have to hide in our shame, that we can turn our face fully toward Yours, that You will take it in Your hands, gently brush our cheeks with Your thumbs and say, “You are Mine.” Guide us so that our debt does not become something that defines or crushes us. Give us love and forgiveness for ourselves so that we can move out of our shrouded isolation and into a place of forward motion, and healing.
For all the good things You give us, and for the fact that we could be here all day and not stop listing them. For giggles that catch us off guard, that don’t stop for several minutes. For a book whose words dig into the deepest part of our heart and actually make us better. For a smoothie with the perfect kale-to-berry-to-banana ratio. For a therapist who doesn’t scold but instead reworks our personal goals to help us truly feel good. For music, thank the good Lord above for music! – for Vivaldi to help us relax, for Dolly to make us feel precious, and for bubble gummy pop to get us up off the couch to dance. May we thank You, always, for the dance.
May Your love feed us in its many mysterious ways this morning, making us brave for this week ahead. In the music that floats out to our seats, in the sweet cubes of bread that melt into our tongues, in the words from Your holy book that offer us tools and comfort for being loved and loving each other to make this whole crazy journey just a little bit easier. We thank You for each other, for teaching us to love and letting us try it out in the here and now. May we each be a light to someone this week – in a fluorescent office, over a phone line, or right here inside these walls. And may You be with us in it all, always.