We are sought – a prayer

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“…the Church bows before that God whom we did not seek and find
– who rather has sought and found us.” ― Karl Barth, Credo

We come, O God, at Your bidding
into Your presence we come,
but only because You have already made Yourself present

We have not and cannot conjure You
as if You are our plaything
You are who You are,
it is for us to find our place
in the space You make for us
and out of Your love,
You make such a space.
Bless you!

We are not the hosts, You are
We are not in charge, You are

We may try to switch you on and off
depending on our moods and whims and perceived needs
But you have chosen Your ‘Yes’ to us anyway
– a constant and faithful yes
We are the receivers, of Your ‘Yes.’
Bless you!

You give, You invite, You receive
You host, You forgive, You restore
You feed, You comfort, You bless.
Bless you!

You come among us, you live for us
You suffer for us, you suffer with us
You stand for us that we may grow
You stand against anything that might diminish us.
Bless you!

You bless us
and those not like us
You ask us to bless one another,
and those not like us

You announce freedom
You denounce what enslaves

You inspire, you challenge
You hold the world in love
You call the world to love as you love
Bless you!

This is all too much,
yet it is everything we need

You have chosen to be with us
We choose to be with you.
Bless you!

Bless this hour.
Bless these people.
Bless us that we may bless
in Your name and for Your sake

In the Father, for the Father, with the Father,
In the Spirit, for the Spirit, with the Spirit
In Christ, for Christ, with Christ
you bless us – every last one of us

and we, with what we can muster,
but especially with what you enable,
we, in turn, bless you!
Amen
“I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10

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In Awe

“…the congregation is topsoil – seething with energy and organisms that have incredible capacities for assimilating death and participating in resurrection.  The only biblical stance is awe.  When we see what is before us, really before us, pastors take off their shoes before the shekinah of congregation.”
Eugene Peterson [in Under the Unpredictable Plant 1992 p136]

I’m a minister in a church
A people call me
I think that God calls me as well
Together they coaxed me
(maybe I didn’t take much persuasion)
and continue to coax me

At times I have been a functional minister
Completing the tasks before me, those expected of me, and no more.

Sometimes I have stretched into these tasks for show,
To prove something to myself,
Or to prove something to some voice from the past who seems to be looking over my shoulder

Sometimes I have caught myself looking in the mirror
liking what I have been seen to have been

I have been pondering the nature of these people who call me and the God in them

Many of them would admit that the God in them can be hard to locate or has often been conveniently held at arm’s length
Nevertheless, these people meet the call with extraordinary commitment

They provide for me an existence
A roof over my head, food on my table, resources to tend to my responsibilities, meaningful daily work, love, encouragement and care

They do this out of what they have worked for
They generously sacrifice their belongings for me to have an existence among them in the name of the One who sacrificed his belongings for their existence

I am in awe of them
I admire their sacrifice and discipline

In their presence I discover that I am on holy ground

Thus I renew my commitment
to mingle with them
listen to them and for them,
pray for them,
dare, imagine and create for them,
and to love and respect them

And I commit myself to challenge any sense of entitlement that manifests in me

I owe them
and I struggle to imagine that I will ever return enough for what they give me