Saturday, August 7, 2021
A daily prayer from the New England Conference
The clergy and laity of the New England Conference are sharing a daily prayer based on the Revised Common Lectionary for the week. You are welcome to use these in worship or in your own devotions.
Inspired by the following lectionary readings for August 8th, 2021 (Year B, proper 14) 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33*; Psalm 130; Ephesians 4:25-5:2 *for best context please see the entire David/Absalom narrative, as well as David’s following acts of mercy, which were used as a backdrop for the first sections of this prayer (2 Samuel 12:15-19:23).
Dear God, Your love is the complicated and faithful love of a parent. We suffer, and we hold you responsible. Our family is injured, and we want you to deliver our conception of justice. We puff out our chests in the belief there is something we can do to win your favor. With the security of false righteousness, we claim authority, and fail to trust in your grace. We seek to overthrow you for our own good. God, we are proud, small, hurt, angry, and anxious. We are impervious to the revelation that our deepest need is for you. We need you. Not as the king, judge, or scolding teacher; But as the parent who clothes us in brilliance and possibility. God, you love us even when we have denied your grace and put a fence around your boundless love. You seek our safety and weep at our failure and death, Because even in our rebellion we are your children. God, please teach us that every victory is eventually turned to mourning, Every battle has a suffering loser, Every enemy is deserving of love, And answering wrongs with condemnation and division does not build your beloved community. Help us to love better, To live in the complicated spaces, To have faith in your sustaining power, And to seek and offer forgiveness, especially when it is not easy. Help us with the difficult task of building together. Remind us of the children we once were. The limitless children you still know us to be. Through your grace help us be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving. In the name of God in Christ who has already forgiven us, Amen
Timothy R. Riddle, Duke Divinity School, M.Div. 2021; Chaplain Resident 2021-2022, Veterans Health Administration, Durham, NC; Member of Faith United Methodist Church, South Burlington, VT; Green Mountain District