Pastoral Prayer: On Unity
The pastoral prayer from our gathering on the Lord's Day, June 14th.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. – Rom 15:5-7
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Your name deserves glory, your fame deserves to be displayed throughout all of Creation, and especially here in your Church.
Father, we lament that so many in the world do not bring you glory, do not know you. But we lament above all that many in your church do not come together with one voice to glorify your name but have robbed you of the glory you deserve by remaining fractured and divided. Father, forgive us for the way we have not pursued unity in your church. Forgive us for not welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed us but instead demanding from others what you did not demand from us. Forgive us for our cool hearts towards each other and our insistence on our own way.
Father, forgive us for the way we make idols out of the same things the world does. Forgive us for making our political commitments primary, and our Kingdom commitments secondary. God, we know that while we are in this world we need to love our neighbor as ourselves and in our country that means being involved in the political process in some way, but oh God please deliver us from thinking we can create the kingdom of God here on earth. Keep us from thinking our primary citizenship is here in America; remind us that we are citizens of heaven, and on this world we are sojourners and strangers. And would this knowledge of our deepest identity and true home bring a profound unity in our church that the watching world simply doesn’t understand.
Make our church a place where black, brown, and white brothers and sisters can come together as one family. Make our church a place where Democrats and Republicans can come together as brothers and sisters of Christ, people who voted for Donald Trump and people who voted for Hillary Clinton can welcome one another as Christ has welcomed them. Wound us so deeply with the beauty of Jesus that inconsequential matters of difference would erect no barriers between your people. Lift up our all our eyes to focus most on what matters most: the eternal, never-changing, full of grace, full of truth, soon-arriving, righteous King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.