Gracious and Merciful God, Whose radical forgiveness we can’t fully fathom, Fill us with your grace, and enlarge our capacity to forgive; So that we can break free from the ways of judgment and hate And learn to be more like Jesus. In his name, we pray. Amen. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing…” Luke 23:24 NRSV
Gracious God, We acknowledge that, at times, we have questioned our instinct to act in accordance with your justice, compassion, and love. Forgive us, God. And, renew our courage to act, So that we may help heal and transform the world Through your divine love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Gracious God, in the course of our daily lives, we hear many different voices: work, family, and many other responsibilities call out to us. And, we let our noisy lives desensitize us to the sound of your call. Forgive us, we pray, for the times we were deaf to the sound of your voice in a stranger or friend. Forgive us, God, for the times we ignored the voice of the Spirit calling from within us. Forgive our failure to listen, Lord, and remind us to listen again. Help us hear with discerning ears, so we may respond in faith and love. Amen
O God, I breathe in the silence, and remember the times when I cluttered the silence with unnecessary or harmful words. O God, I draw near to you in prayer And remember the times when I forgot you are with me— that you are present and moving in this world. O God, I slow my pace, And remember the times when I drowned out people’s cries with the noise of a busy life. O God, my heart goes out to others, But I remember the times when I let chasms grow between myself and the others I encountered. O God, I seek your forgiveness, And remember the times When I stumbled, and fell, And failed to love as you do. O God, hear my prayer, now and always, Let me sense your abiding grace.
God of reconciliation and love, please guide us in cultivating empathy. Help us grow more generous and forgiving in the ways we listen, receive, and respond. And may we, as your vessels, foster empathy, forgiving spirits, and generosity in love. Amen.
Gracious God, we trust that you hear the sighs of the weary and hear the unutterable requests of those who struggle. We trust that you respond even when we do not understand or see your dynamic spirit working. But God, when we do sense your Spirit, and see and feel you working in this world, we hope that we will savor that moment with thanksgiving, and offer worship, where worship is due.
Too often our spiritual lenses are cloudy, or our moments of praise too brief. Please forgive us, God who loves, listens, and forgives. And may our sight and song be ever renewed. Amen.
The baptizer appeared. John was his name.
“Repent, receive forgiveness,” he proclaimed
And to the Jordan River people came—
Judeans came with sins confessed and named.
“I’ve baptized you with water. It is so.”
Said John to those who gathered for the rite
“But One more powerful” (Yes, John did know)
“Will baptize with the Holy Spirit light.”
The One then came to be baptized by John
Yes, in the Jordan River, like the rest
And then the Spirit did descend upon
The One, who God the Father surely blessed.
The Voice proclaimed Him “My Beloved Son,”
And thus, Christ’s earthly ministry begun.
~Based on Mark 1:4-11