I share Gini Courter's self-admitted lack of a knack for prayer. (And I would love a copy of that five-point-prayer-outline she mentioned as I am called upon every now and then to say grace, either because I'm the only person at the table known to be religious or because the Christians at the table are morbidly curious.)
But well-written, beautiful prayers have great power to move me.
This one, by Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley, absolutely did and I thank Jess for bringing it to my attention.
The collect usually consists of five parts:
- Invocation or address
- Scriptural or theological basis for the petition (thanks or praise)
- Purpose of the petition— result of the prayer (why)
My grandmother was great at this format for saying grace before meals:
(1) Dear Heavenly Father, (2) we give thanks today for your boundless love. (3) Bless this food (4) that it may strengthn our bodies. (5) In Jesus' name, Amen.
Well this U*U prayer serves to illustrate what Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons aka Radical Hapa recently said about "liberals" (insert U*Us here. . .) -
"A habit of liberals is to want to fix everything on the outside," says Santos-Lyons, 34. "But we don't turn inward and fix ourselves."
Allow me to underline this regrettable fact in my usual manner of inserting appropriate links into this U*U prayer that is clearly directed outside of the U*U community, and fails to turn inwards and fix U*Uism. . .
We have known war, and once again, there are rumors of wars.
And so we come this morning
to lay this burden on the altar of prayer.
We know that violence cannot sustain us …
And so we seek a new way:
a way that leads to peace …
a way that leads to the promise of
freedom, justice, and security
for all the peoples of the Earth.
Oh Thou who gives us perfect freedom to find the ways of truth:
We know that democracy is a fragile thing that needs to be guarded;
And some of us see our nation taking a backward step — isolating and insulating itself from the world.
It’s easy to think that our voices are not being heard;
that we have been silenced.
And under such circumstances,
one can easily resort to disillusionment and anger.
But let our thoughts not turn to cynicism and despair.
Let our fears not become helplessness or hopelessness.
Help our leaders to transcend their delusion
about the righteousness of their cause.
Help them to respect the Sacredness of Life more than conquest.
In the coming days and weeks,
as we wander through pathways unknown,
“Grant us wisdom. Grant us courage.
Lest we miss your peaceful goal.”
Ashé. As’Salaam Alakim. Blessed be. Shalom, and Amen.
I think the foregoing sufficiently illustrates the inner emptiness of that U*U prayer. . .
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