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Prayer for the World January 17, 2023

 

Continuing the Journey of Transforming Grace:

Transforming Presence

 

Introduction

Monday of this week, we celebrated the annual holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr., honoring the life, legacy and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  As we witness nations around the world and our own continue to struggle under the weight of violence, hate, poverty and racism, today’s social, political and economic landscape reveals the urgent necessity of Dr. King’s philosophy and methodology of Nonviolence, a philosophy and methodology that is based on love.  We are called to love one another as we read in John 13:35, with a love that comes from God.  It is this love that transforms.

 

Song of Gathering: Walk With Me, Goldford https://youtu.be/hLbT1qOV7N0?si=I5ffPH84hEsHfAg1

*Walk with me, I’ll walk with you.

Down these troubled roads, We’ve stumbled into.

*We’re all in this together,  We’re going to make it through

If you walk with me, I’ll walk with you

*Be there for me, I’ll be there for you

When we’re runnin’ out of hope, When we don’t know what to do

*Like a candle in the darkness, Shinin’ bright and true

Be there for me, I’ll be there for you

*Whoa, everything is gonna be, gonna be, gonna be alright

‘Cause you and me got better days comin’, yeah, everything is gonna be alright

*Walk with me, I’ll walk with you

I know the rain of today, Will bring tomorrow’s bloom

*When we can’t see where we’re going, What the world is coming to

You walk with me, I’ll walk with you, Gonna be alright (Walk with me)….

 

Reflection

Listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. as he shares his “Kitchen Table Prayer”   or simply reflect on his description of how a phone call threatening terrible violence toward him and his family prompted this “Kitchen Table Prayer:”

I was ready to give up.  With my cup of coffee sitting untouched before me, I tried to think of a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward.  In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had all but gone, I decided to take my problem to God.  With my head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud.  The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory.  “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right.  But now I am afraid.  The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter.  I am at the end of my powers.  I have nothing left.  I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.”  At that moment, I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced God before.  It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice saying:  “Stand up for justice, stand up for truth; and God will be at your side forever.”  Almost at once my fears began to go.  My uncertainty disappeared.  I was ready to face anything.

 

Three days later a bomb blasted his house and his family escaped harm by a hairsbreadth.  His religious experience a few nights before gave him the courage to face it.

 

Silent Reflection:  Like Martin Luther King, Jr did at his kitchen table, reflect silently and notice what rises within you.   How is God callin you to learn, speak, act and pray in the face of so much violence--physical, social and psychological?

 

Intercessions

Prayer  written by Martin Luther King, Jr

“God, help us as individuals and as a world to hear it now before it is too late: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and God’s justice and all these other things shall be added unto you.”

 

We seek your Kingdom, God of Peace, for the Palestinians, Israelis and Ukrainians, we pray: 

 

We seek your Kingdom of love and justice for those who are discriminated against or even killed because of the color of their skin, we pray:

 

We seek your Kingdom of forgiveness and healing for those on death row in our prisons, we pray:

 

We pray in support of the efforts of the Allen County School System to address racism in the schools, bringing greater unity, peace and mutual respect, we pray:

 

Silent Reflection

 

Song

 

 

 

 

Additional material for your reflection

 

Equality by Maya Angelou

 

You declare you see me dimly.

through a glass which will not shine,

though I stand before you boldly,

trim in rank and marking time.

You do own to hear me faintly.

as a whisper out of range,

while my drums beat out the message

and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.

Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,

that I fly from man to man,

but if I’m just a shadow to you,

could you ever understand?

We have lived a painful history,

we know the shameful past,

but I keep on marching forward,

and you keep on coming last.

Equality, and I will be free.

Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,

take the padding from your ears,

and confess you’ve heard me crying,

and admit you’ve seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,

hear the blood throb in my veins.

Yes, my drums are beating nightly,

and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.

Equality, and I will be free.

 

Questions for Reflection & Dialogue

What blinders keep us from seeing what divides us?

 

Practice

Watch one of these videos:  PBS: A look at the history of racism in America and it’s role in today’s divisions

Carnegie Foundation looks at the question of Polarization

 

 

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