I thought I’d try something different this morning. So I’ll be using Psalm 67 as a framework to speak a new prayer for us this morning.
1: May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord’s face shine on us with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon us with favor and ☩ give us peace.
2: And we pray for this blessing for us–us writ large, not just those of us in the building, not just our family and friends, but our whole neighborhood, our whole city, our whole country and world–we pray this blessing for us so that people will know You, God. So that people will know your name, so to speak–hear it and know who you are. Know that you are a God of love, a God who wants peace on earth and peace among nations and peace among neighbors, a God who wants the hungry fed and the grieving comforted and the sick made well and the lonely surrounded by love. Know that you are a God of justice, who wants an end to oppression, an end to the ways we look at one another and judge and assume. Know that you are a God who saves, from sin and death, and from every force and person and message that tells us that we are not all beloved, cherished children of God.
We want your saving power to be known around the world–not in the abstract, but in concrete ways in individual lives, in the ways that the Spirit brings people together and speaks truth and then helps us to hear that truth, in the ways that healing comes both subtle and all at once, in the ways that people are fed and clothed and loved.
3: Let us praise you–us, your people all around the world, all of us gathered in church today to praise you in every language and in every place. We praise you with song and dance, music and prayer, lament and joy. Let us remember what you have done for us, O God, and so let us place our hope in you as we face the days to come.
4: Let us be glad and sing for joy. Let us remember wars ended and families brought together again. You love all people, no matter where they’re from; you want what is good for them. You are our guide and our shepherd.
5: Let us praise you–us, your people all around the world. Let us go out into our neighborhoods and find ways to shape the world as you imagine it: loving those who are ignored and forgotten, listening to those who are unheard, building new places of joy and justice, giving people what they need.
6: We have enough. We have more than enough! We are filled with the Spirit and surrounded by God’s love. God, our God, has blessed us. There is no need to hold tightly to what we have for fear that nothing else is coming; God is with us. In God there is enough, more than enough!
7: God has blessed us; may God continue to bless us. May we see signs of love and hope in our own lives; may we see signs of love and hope in the world around us and in the nightly news. May we all praise God, all across the earth, and know that God is good.
Alleluia, and Amen.