Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Embracing the light through prayer

One of the things I mentioned in my previous posts about NatGat, the quadrennial national gathering of Episcopal college students in Colorado in December, was the breadth of our worship. I absolutely loved some of the prayers we used and want to pass them along here. This will likely be my last substantive post about Gather.

Italics mean the congregation responds. My favorite is the Franciscan benediction at the end. These prayers are not original to Gather, and if anyone knows the source of the other two, please let me know so that I may give proper credit.

A Call to Worship

Gather us in, Lord: the lost and the lonely, the broken and breaking, the tired and the aching who long for the nourishment of your feast.

Gather us in: the done and the doubting, the wishing and wondering, the puzzled and pondering who long for the company found at your feast.

Gather us in: the proud and pretentious, the sure and superior, the never inferior who long for the leveling found at your feast.

Gather us in: the bright and the bustling, the stirrers and shakers, the kind laughter-makers who long for the company found at your feast.

From corner or limelight, from mansion or camp site,
From fears and obsession, from tears and depression,
From untold excesses, from treasured successes,
To meet, to eat, to be given a seat,
Be joined to the vine, be offered new wine
Become like the least, be found at the feast:

Gather us in.

Prayers of the People from the Mass of the Immigrant

Let us pray for those who hunger in this land: whose only kitchen is a soup kitchen; whose only food is what others don’t want; whose diet depends on luck, not on planning. Lord, feed your people using our skills and conscience, and eradicate from our politics and private lives the apathy to hunger which comes from over-indulgence.

Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.

Let us pray for the hungry in other lands, where economies burdened by debt cannot respond to human need, or where fields are farmed for our benefit by low-waged workers courted by starvation. Lord, feed your people, even if rulers must cancel debt, shareholders lose profit, or diners restrict their choice in order that all may be nourished.

Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.

Let us pray for the hungry for justice, who document inequalities, demonstrate against tyranny, distinguish between need and greed, and are sometimes misrepresented or persecuted in the process. May their labour not be in vain and may we be counted in their number.

Let us pray for the hungry to be fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.

Let us pray for the hungry in Spirit, who have so much noise in their lives they cannot hear the thundering of God’s Love whispering in their ears. Lord, open our ears to that your voice may be heard and understood.

Let us pray for the hungry and the fed.
Oyenos Mi Dios.

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart. Amen.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people. Amen.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim. Amen.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide be with you and remain with you this day and forevermore.

To save space, I will set aside a cool version of the Lord's Prayer and hold off until Advent on posting a Christmas Prayer's of the People.


James said...

Gather Us In is one of my favourite "new" hymns.

Nathan Empsall said...

Ah, yes, I was told that it was a hymn. We had converted it to a call and response prayer. Do you know in what hymnal I can find it or who wrote it?

Jase said...

You'll find it in almost any RC hymnal that has "guitar" songs. Also, the new Lutheran Church ELCA, and the Chalice Hymnal. If you want, I can scan it and send it to you. Hit me up with an email address.

In fact, it fits the these of this coming Sunday's readings and I've picked chosen it as the middle hymn.