Pastoral Prayer (March 21, 2021) 

Lord we pray for your help in the times when your grace feels too good for us. In the times we feel we don’t deserve the mercy and forgiveness you offer. In the times when we can’t see beyond the consequences of our missteps and bad decisions; when it seems like no grace is deserved, when it seems like no penance or works can bring us into the realm of good, you cover us. You reach out a hand and bring us back. You send leaders like Paul to tell us in words that are clear, that it is by grace we are saved. Through faith. It is not our own doing. Help us to really let that truth sink into our bones. Your grace is truly enough. Our faithfulness is enough. 

We pray that you help us to grow that faithfulness. In a time of unfinished business and flexible targets of timelines; in a time when we wait for schools to re-open, we wait places of worship to re-open, we wait for emails that say we can come in for a vaccine, we wait for research on if and when we can vaccinate our children. we have been living in a time unfinished, of unknown, of waiting. And into that Lord, we are invited to be faithful. We are invited to join you in the unknown.  We are invited to persevere so that in faithfulness we embark on what will be together. In faith, we believe that you will not leave our side no matter how long we wait, no matter what the timeline reveals. In faith you ground us. You remind us that we are yours. 

Lord in a community of the church we are reminded that all of our journeys include different challenges. Some of us are exhausted by the circumstances of virtual school, others are exhausted by the grief of losing a loved one that seems to never leave them. They see and miss their beloved every time they look at their chair at the dinner table or favorite spot on the couch. Others are receiving acceptance letters from the college of their dreams after years of study and discipline have paid off. Still others are battling the challenges of mental health crises made much more difficult with the circumstances of the pandemic. Let this be the place, let faith be the family in which we teach grace, in which we embody it. Let us be the kind of community where the recovering addict can sit next to the Harvard law student and no one thinks one is above the other. For all of us are made in your image; all of us are covered by christ’s grace, all of us have been created for good works. Let us together, in humility, in faithfulness, and in community work to make Christ’s experience of grace a reality to all. It is in his name we pray, Amen.