Prayers of the People
—April 9

Holy God: we arrive at your parade, half paying attention to the significance of your journey into Jerusalem. Our minds are distracted by the emergence of spring, the birds finally returning to nest, the flowers blossoming, the lake warming, the Cubs stadium opening, the outdoor picnics to be had, the generous beauty of the earth ringing from east to west.

We are distracted. It is so easy to turn away. We are led astray by the responsibilities of work and school, by the tug of sporting commitments, by the pull of home repairs, by the toils of life. The glory and gifts of this good earth and the responsibilities of life sidetrack us from seeing your parade as fully as we ought. We are distracted, O God. Attune us to your presence. Turn is again toward meaningful work and a holy calling. Let us hear your call. For, it is too easy to be distracted, O God.

In the midst of constant news cycles, we are enveloped, too, by the horrors of human tragedy. Our hearts are engrossed in the wounded-ness of your people—more gun violence in our city, chemical weapons and American missiles as the source of destruction and death and fear in Syria, even today, a church in Egypt bombed during their Palm Sunday parade. We are distracted, O God.

We pray for the people of Chicago, for those who are working for good, for peace, for an end to violence, for the beginning of wholeness and a way toward life. We pray, too, for those without jobs and for those who have jobs to offer—help the economy of our city, that financial stability in the poorest of neighborhoods might create a path toward peace.

We pray for the people of Syria, for those able to make wise decisions, for those able to broker a new way of being, for those needing to leave to escape the constant violence, for the children who are most vulnerable, for those who were at the heart of the chemical weapon attacks.

We pray for our country and for the international community, that leaders might pursue wisdom and wise counsel, that those with intelligence and imagination might rise to the top, pursuing an end to violence and terror, that the well being of the least and lost might be of highest priority.

Gather us in. Help us to see you in the midst of this world so violated by violence. Help us to know and live the truth of your peace in this world so battered by bloody war. Help us to turn our hearts to you, as we seek to live our daily lives. And now, O God, in the tender silence of this sanctuary, we lift up the prayers of our hearts to you, the one in whom we live and move and have our being.

As beloved children of God, we now gather our voices in one faith, praying the prayer that Jesus teaches us, saying… Our Father…