Praying with/from Robinson

/ 4 February 2009

I needed to offer a prayer to open our division meeting today, and (as some of you know) I’m not a great “spontaneous” pray-er. So first I shared with them Bruce Springsteen’s new song What Love Can Do (off of Working on a Dream), and then I did a riff on Bishop Robinson’s prayer:

In the name of the Triune God, who is Lover, who is Beloved, who is Love,
We pray that you will:
Bless us with tears:
for communities stretched beyond our knowing by the economic crisis;
Bless us with anger:
at oppression – here, and at home, in our churches and in our communities;
Bless us with discomfort:
at the easy "answers" we've preferred to hear from our leaders, instead of the truths about ourselves, our school, our churches, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience:
and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be "fixed" by us alone, but rather through the working of your will and creative power;
Bless us with humility:
and the understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the Church (however we understand that term);
Bless us with freedom:
from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity:
those gifts Jesus shone forth so clearly to the world.
God, we ask for your healing presence in Charles’ life, as he struggles mightily to regain health; and indeed with all those for whom healing seems elusive.
God, we give you thanks that you have placed us together in this seminary community.
Give us wisdom beyond our knowing, and inspire us with Martin Luther’s vision of faith lived out in daily ways; Dorothy Day’s willingness to live on the margins; and and Dr. King's dream of a beloved community welcoming ALL people.
Give us quiet hearts full of your Word, for our seminary needs creative leadership in these times.
Give us stirring visions of a shared task, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and communal sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead of us.
Give us the strength to find respite and renewal, that we might be open to your presence amongst us.
Help us to remember our own experiences as students, and to draw on them, that we might follow Christ deeply into transformative learning;
And please, God, help us to be fully present to each other in our vulnerabilities and insecurities, in our hopes and in our dreams, that we might be open to your presence and action in our midst.
We know we ask too much of our leaders, and far too often we fall into despair at what we and they have failed to do, at what we and they have left undone. Help us to find joy in the midst of our challenges, and to hear you strongly as we pick up our work together again this term.
Help us, indeed, to show what love can do.