A call to prayer

Dear members and friends of GUMC,

Every Sunday we pray that God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Recent events in our nation and world remind us how far we are from that goal and how powerful the forces of hatred and violence in our world are. As followers of Jesus, we are called to increased prayer and action at exactly times such as these. We are called to pray and work for a world where all people are acknowledged, understood and treated as individuals of sacred worth, and where each one can live fully the life God intends and desires for them.

All of us can act by speaking up in our daily lives for compassion and against hate and bigotry. If issues of racism and violence are inspiring you to action, you may wish to participate in our newly re-forming Board of Church and Society. Please let me know (PastorJennie@gumonline.org). You may wish to become involved with Partners for a Racism-Free Community, a Grand Rapids organization dedicated to racial equity in our area: http://prfc-gr.org/.

Below is a prayer written by Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus after the 2016 terror attack in Nice, France. I has been helpful to me, and I hope that it might be the same for you.

Pastor Jennie

God, for whose presence we yearn:
We have no words left.
The words others have said: “horrific” “worst” “unspeakable” “impossible”
have been spoken so many times that we can no longer hear them.
Our hearts have broken so often, we cannot feel.
Our hope has been tried, and, we confess in sorrow, has been found wanting.

There has been too much terror, and there are not enough answers;
There have been too many lost lives, and not enough time to grieve them all;
There is too much violation of the ordinary, and not enough glimpse of the holy to hold us fast.

But You, oh God: beyond our words, beneath our hope:
be the creative breath that orders our chaos,
the mercy and justice that compels us to action,
the Love that is stronger than death.

We ask you again, for we have nowhere else to turn—
hold us fast, when we cannot hold on any longer;
walk with us through the valley of the shadow;
turn us away from despair, that we may not grow weary in well-doing.

Triune God, grant us
the liberty of your love that conquers fear and evil;
the mind of your Son, who did not consider equality with You a thing to be exploited, but emptied himself;
the fellowship of your Spirit, beyond our divisions, to bind us together as one family in your kingdom of mercy and peace.