Creator God, who made heaven and earth, sea and sky, I bow before you. You created hot and cold, night and day, summer and winter, rain and sunshine. You ordered the cycle of life and reproduction, attraction and growth, decay and death. You made the ant and the oak tree, the butterfly and the eagle, the frog and the swan, the mouse and the horse, the rabbit and the lion, the fly and the snake. And it is all marvellous in your eyes and in ours too.
And Jesus Christ, babe of Bethlehem, carpenter of Nazareth, Lord of winds and waves, healer of cripples and lepers, lamb of Calvary, risen and living Son of God, I greet and salute you this day. You are the friend of sinners, the strength of the week, the joy of the sad, the servant of all and the teacher of disciples. You have inspired martyrs, fed the multitudes, turned water into wine and brought those who follow you into living vital relationships with you and the Father. The stories you told have become part of the way we understand and live your kingdom. You have sent the Holy Spirit and brought the church into being. Great Shepherd of the sheep you gather your flock and love each and every one.
Now Lord, help me as I search my own heart and bring to you the human side of my little journey through life. Forgive me for talking so much about love and then loving so little. Forgive me when I cannot hear the truth about myself because of my sins, my weaknesses and failings. Forgive me for not testing the bad things I heard about others, but just passed them on without bothering to find out whether they were true. And maybe Lord, there have been times when I embroidered the facts to make it all sound like a good story even when I knew I was being sparing with the truth.
And Lord, there are problems in this world that are so enormous and complicated that I usually just shrug my shoulders and quietly feel grateful that they are someone else’s to address. I think of world hunger, and all those hundreds of millions who don’t even get one meal a day. I think of the problem of war and the arms industry that encourages wars and strife so that some die whilst others get rich out of it all. Then there is the drug trade and the international syndicates exploiting it all to make drug slaves of others. These things all seem so insoluble, so vast, and they seem to work such evil that I find it more comforting just to shut it out of my mind. Lord, for all my failures and shortcomings in doing nothing about it, forgive me. Make me more responsible, more caring and more aware.
I pray now Lord, for others. I uphold in prayer those who work to foster peace and to counter the inequality in the world. Give them insight, wisdom and perseverance to lesson tension, calm passions and keep order in the world. Bless and prosper the work of aid agencies, especially those people who work so far away from the comfort of their own countries and homes in order to bring help to those who are poor, forgotten and hungry. Help those who bring medical supplies to the trouble spots of the world and who treat people injured in fighting and conflict. Grant tenacity to those who try to overcome prejudice, ignorance and hatred. Enable them to be patient and to understand the difficulties people have in changing their mind-set. Strengthen those who are trying to bring education to places where facilities are inadequate and long held traditions make progress hard. Help Governments and agencies to use funds wisely and responsibly.
And Lord, bless me. Make me more aware of the world around me, and help me to be more caring and patient with those who are slow to change. Help me to find ways to push for the causes that are good and that address the world’s difficult problems. Make me part of the solution, not part of the problem. I ask it in Christ’s name. AMEN