Our Torn and Leaky Tent of a Church

Tents are great, until a strong storm or a polar bear attack.

The church I attend has been going through a series on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. Well, the second letter than we *have* in the Bible but that’s for another blog post. Anyways, it’s been good to go through the whole letter and get a feel for the flow of the book and context for its many verses that are plucked out for Christian encouragement, greeting cards and memorial services. One of the verses that’s been rolling around in my head lately is 2 Corinthians 5:1 which is one of the verses that gets used a lot at memorial and funeral services.

We know that if the tent that we live in on earth is torn down, we have a building from God. It’s a house that isn’t handmade, which is eternal and located in heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:1 (CEB)

As we went through this passage and the previous famous jars of clay passage, we spent a lot of time talking about how it’s actually through the weakness and cracks in our bodies that God’s glory shines through. In the whole book of 2 Corinthians, Paul is pretty much stating that there is nothing special about him and his body. It’s God’s glory shining through, even in weakness and that these “tents” of our bodies will break down and collapse. Ultimately we look forward to the new, resurrection bodies that will be redeemed by God.

The contrast between a tent and a house in the verse above got me thinking about the differences between the two. Tents are transient, mobile and temporary. A house is permanent, it takes time to build, and the knowledge of a builder to make solid and sound. Our bodies here on Earth are temporary and we all await our resurrected bodies built and redeemed by God, the master builder. I also started thinking about famous tents and houses in the Bible. The two major dwelling places of God came to mind. There was the Tabernacle that traveled with the Children of Israel as they wandered their way to the promised land. Then, once the nation of Israel was established, they built the great Temple which was considered the house of God. The Temple was thought to be God’s permanent dwelling place while the Tabernacle was temporary for the time of wandering and restlessness in the wilderness.

However, the Temple was not a permanent house. It was destroyed.

Not just once.

But twice.

This great structure that was supposed to be the place where God lived was not as permanent as it seemed. Indeed, it too was torn down, like Paul’s image of a tent in 2 Corinthians.

Now, we Christians believe that we as the People of God make up the Temple of God and that God’s spirit has taken up residence in the hearts of his people as it once resided in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and the Temple. We gather together in our church buildings with a desire to worship and serve God in the communities gathered. We do great things and we are living as an example of the resurrected Christ, with God’s Holy Spirit breathed and moving among us.

But, in a way, the Church is still a tent. It is not the end game. There are still abundant cracks and it groans in pain until God’s eternal house comes to dwell with the people of the world. The structures we build now, the church buildings, the committees, the denominations, the communities are all transient, temporary tents which are not supposed to last.

What we build as the Church here on Earth is but a faint glimmer of the reality of God’s true house shining through the broken and torn tents we have erected. Even Jesus died before the resurrection happened. His mortal body was transient and groaning before his glorification in the resurrection body. He performed many great works and miracles here on Earth, but he always pointed to the greater reality that was yet to come. He always directed those who followed him to see the God who was greater and his eternal house that was larger than anything his people could build here on Earth.

We in the Church are not the end game of God and should not aspire to be. Or we may find ourselves with half built, broken towers and unable to communicate God’s desire for redemption to the world. This is a tough temptation for many churches who truly do great things for the Kingdom but expect what they have built to last forever. They think they are storing up treasures in heaven when in reality they have started putting more faith in the treasures they’ve stored up here on Earth. You don’t have to look far to find churches or church leaders who have gotten so involved with the structures they have built that they begin to put more faith and work in maintaining what they have assembled.

The moth and rust always come.

A thief will always break in and steal.

The tent will always rip and collapse after a time no matter how many patches are put in and how many poles get replaced.

Now the one who prepared us for this very thing is God, and God gave us the Spirit as a down payment for our home. So we are always confident, because we know that while we are living in the body, we are away from our home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:5-6 (CEB)

I think Paul’s words ring true for not just our physical bodies, but also for the body of Christ revealed in the Church. The Church is a peek, a vision that comes and goes. What we are experiencing is just the “down payment” the assurance of what is to come. However, while we are still here on Earth we are away from the promised home of God. We, and our churches may need to grow, live and pass on as a mortal life until the true Temple and city of God comes from Heaven and God truly dwells with all people.

May we have the humility to live as the Church in this way.

Prayer for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time)

The Jazz Band by Gerard Sekoto, 1961.

The Jazz Band by Gerard Sekoto, 1961.

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Unless otherwise noted, prayers come from the Book of Common Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary.

Prayers posted during Ordinary Time will feature art that is often not specifically religious, but art for arts sake. Enjoy!

Saint of the Week – James Foley

In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, American journalist James Foley is shown covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In an act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group beheaded Foley and are threatening to kill another hostage. (Nicole Tung/Associated Press)

In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, American journalist James Foley is shown covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In an act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group beheaded Foley and are threatening to kill another hostage. (Nicole Tung/Associated Press)

Like I said in last week’s saint of the week post, I’ve chosen for the month of October to focus on journalists who have died either while documenting something or in retaliation to what they were reporting on. While these are not “saints” in the traditional sense, journalists who have died because of what they were documenting have essentially given up their lives for the sake of others. They felt so strongly about getting a story or pictures out that they were willing to sacrifice their lives so the story could be heard or the photo seen. I belive it is then a worthy exercise to remember and honor the lives of those journalists who have made that sacrifice. Today we’ll look at one of the most recent and most notable journalist deaths.

This week’s saint is James Foley.

Most of us probably had not heard of James Foley until the tragic video of his beheading had hit the news cycles. But his life story is much more than just the gruesome end the world witnessed. James was born in Evanston, Illinois on October 18 in 1973 the first of five children born to his parents, John and Diane Foley. The family would eventually move to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire where James would grow up and attend high school. James grew up a Catholic and graduated from the Jesuit university Marquette University in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in history. He would go on to earn his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2003.

James began a career as a teacher in Arizona, Massachusetts, and in Chicago, Illinois for Teach For America (TFA) where he taught prison inmates. After working as a teacher, he decided to change careers and turned towards journalism. He would attend and graduate from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2008. Shortly after graduation, he began to help USAID development projects in Baghdad. James would help organize seminars and trainings to rebuild and restore civil services in Iraq. In 2010 he would apply to be an embedded journalist with the US military in Afghanistan. He ended up being embedded with troops in Iraq where is brother was also serving. Later in 2011 he would become a reporter for Stars and Stripes and was assigned to Afghanistan. After stepping down because he admitted to posessing marijuana in 2011 James began working for the GlobalPost and embedded himself with Libyan rebels fighting in the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

While in Libya James and some other fellow journalists were captured by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. In the attack leading up to their capture, James’ friend and photographer Anton Hammerl was killed. James and his other journalist friends were beaten and would be imprisoned for 44 days. While in captivity, James relied on his Catholic faith to keep his spirits up. Talking about how he prayed with his fellow captives, James said, “I’d pray to stay strong. I’d pray to soften the hearts of our captors. I’d pray to God to lift the burdens we couldn’t handle. And I’d pray that our Moms would know we were OK.” After being released, James returned home and talked extensively about his reporting and capture in Libya. During this time, James would also help fund raise for the family of Anton Hammerl. James would eventually return to Libya and would document the scene of Muammar Gaddafi’s capture.

“I believe that frontline journalism is important. Without these photos and videos and first-hand experience, we can’t really tell the world how bad it might be,” he said. “These kinds of things are very important to me.”
-James Foley

In 2012 James returned to work for the GlobalPost and went to Syria to report on the civil war going on there. On November 22, 2012 James was captured along with his translator while leaving an internet cafe in Binesh, Syria. In December 2013, his captors demanded a ransom of 100 million euros from Foley’s family. The GlobalPost reportedly spent millions to try to locate and free James even hiring an international security firm to track his position. In July 2014 the United States launched a rescue mission to try and free James and other captives but the mission failed as they had all been moved by the time the US military arrived. While in captivity, James was subject to regular beatings, torture and even mock executions. James’ family had reportedly been planning to illegally pay an undisclosed amount for ransom when they received an email on August 12, 2014 from James’ captors explaining their issues with the US governments refusal to pay ransoms, negotiate prisoner exchanges and that they planned to begin avenging US bombings in the Middle East by killing their son James. On August 19, 2014 a video was uploaded to YouTube by the ISIS group entitled “A Message to America.” The video begins with news footage of President Obama announcing the US airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, it then cuts to a video of Foley kneeling in the desert reading a prepared statement next to a masked man dressed in black. After Foley reads his statement, the man begins condemning the US airstrikes and threatens that any further aggression will, “result in the bloodshed of your people.” The video then reveals the beheaded corpse of James Foley.

Shortly after the video was released, the family posted on Facebook the last “letter” they received from James. The letter was actually a memorized letter that James recited to a fellow captured journalist Daniel Rye Ottosen who was released by ISIS in June 2014. The letter is also posted at the family’s website, FreeJamesFoley.org.

“Dear Family and Friends,

I remember going to the Mall with Dad, a very long bike ride with Mom. I remember so many great family times that take me away from this prison. Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart.

I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray.

Eighteen of us have been held together in one cell, which has helped me. We have had each other to have endless long conversations about movies, trivia, sports. We have played games made up of scraps found in our cell…we have found ways to play checkers, Chess, and Risk… and have had tournaments of competition, spending some days preparing strategies for the next day’s game or lecture. The games and teaching each other have helped the time pass. They have been a huge help. We repeat stories and laugh to break the tension.

I have had weak and strong days. We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year.

I think a lot about my brothers and sister. I remember playing Werewolf in the dark with Michael and so many other adventures. I think of chasing Mattie and T around the kitchen counter. It makes me happy to think of them. If there is any money left in my bank account, I want it to go to Michael and Matthew. I am so proud of you, Michael and thankful to you for happy childhood memories and to you and Kristie for happy adult ones.

And big John, how I enjoyed visiting you and Cress in Germany. Thank you for welcoming me. I think a lot about RoRo and try to imagine what Jack is like. I hope he has RoRo’s personality!

And Mark… so proud of you too Bro. I think of you on the West coast and hope you are doing some snowboarding and camping, I especially remember us going to the Comedy Club in Boston together and our big hug after. The special moments keep me hopeful.

Katie, so very proud of you. You are the strongest and best of us all!! I think of you working so hard, helping people as a nurse. I am so glad we texted just before I was captured. I pray I can come to your wedding…. now I am sounding like Grammy!!

Grammy, please take your medicine, take walks and keep dancing. I plan to take you out to Margarita’s when I get home. Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.

Jim”

A fellow reporter, David McKay Wilson from The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y.T would write about James and his faith that, “Foley was a devout Christian who, unlike most journalists I’ve known during my almost four decades in the field, was unapologetic about his heart for social justice and the inspiration he found for his beliefs in the New Testament.”

Today, October 17th would have been James’ 41st birthday. Tomorrow in his hometown they are having a day to celebrate his life. Services are being held at his home church, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish, in Rochester, New Hampshire from 9:30 AM to 9 PM. A memorial service is being held at 10 AM and I would encourage you to join in prayer with his family and friends even through we can not be present with them.

 

More Information & References:
Wikipedia – James Foley (Journalist)
FreeJamesFoley.org – Free James Foley
CBC News – James Foley profile: A ‘committed and brave journalist’
ABC News – Remembering Slain Journalist James Foley
USA Today: James Foley: Beheading victim had deep faith
Religious News Service: Is James Foley a martyr? A brutal death sparks a faith-based debate
Christianpost.com – NH Home Church Remembers US Journalist James Foley for His Faith; He Prayed Regularly in Captivity

Prayer for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time)

The Sower by Ivan Grohar, 1907.

The Sower by Ivan Grohar, 1907.

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Unless otherwise noted, prayers come from the Book of Common Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary.

Prayers posted during Ordinary Time will feature art that is often not specifically religious, but art for arts sake. Enjoy!

Saint of the Week – Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Elijah Parish Lovejoy

Elijah Parish Lovejoy

I know I’ve been hit or miss with my saints of the week lately. So, I thought I’d jumpstart getting back into the regular posting by coming up with a theme for the month of October. I’ve had an idea rolling around in my head so I decided to make it happen. For the “saints” highlighted in the month of October we will be looking at journalists who have died either while documenting something or in retaliation to what they were reporting on. With the recent journalists in the news who have been taken captive and killed by ISIS/ISIL I decided it might be good to look at some other examples. Journalists are an important part of the world we live in as they often reveal the world around us in ways we might not expect. They show us things we might rather not see or ask us to see something in a new light. Their work is important so we should also remember their sacrifices. The journalists we’ll be looking at are definitely not “saints” in the officially recognized sense and some of the may not even be Christian. That does not mean their work or lives are any less important and we should still recognize what they have done. So, lets kick it off with out first “saint.”

This week’s saint is Elijah Parish Lovejoy.

Elijah was born near Albion, Maine in 1802. His parents were devout Christians and his father was a minister. Because of his own lack of education, Elijah’s father encouraged Elijah and his brothers to be as educated as possible. Elijah excelled at his studies and would eventually come to teach college preparatory classes. Elijah would graduate from Waterville College at the top of his class and after becoming dissatisfied with teaching would move to Boston in 1827 to try to earn money for a permanent move to Illinois. Elijah had a hard time finding work and decided to head towards Illinois anyways. He came to New York on his way to Illinois and found work at the Saturday Evening Gazette selling subscriptions. After receiving some support from the president of Waterville College, Elijah was able to leave New York and made it to Montgomery County in Illinois. However, once he arrived he realized he probably could not do very well there either. He then decided to head toward the more populated city of St. Louis.

In St. Louis he became an editor at the St. Louis Observer and became the headmaster at a local private school. In 1832 he began to be influenced by the Christian revivalism of the Second Great Awakening and decided to become a preacher. Elijah moved to Princeton Theological Seminary to study to become a minister. Once he graduated from seminary he moved to Philadelphia where he was became an ordained Presbyterian minister in 1833. Elijah would then move back to St. Louis, resume his work at the St. Louis Observer and set up a Presbyterian church.

At the time, St. Louis was a center of both abolition and pro-slavery activism. It was a major port city in a slave-owning state that was close to states that did not allow slavery. Elijah had begun writing about and supporting emancipation and abolition of slavery in the St. Louis Observer. Because of pressure from the locals, he decided to move into Illinois (which was a free state) to the city of Alton and set up the Alton Observer newspaper. Even though in a free state, Alton was also a center of pro-slavery activism and many slave catchers operated out of the town trying to catch slaves who were escaping from Missouri. Because of his anti-slavery writings, pro-slavery forces attempted to destroy Elijah’s printing press three different times. When the town committee tried to force Elijah to leave he responded by saying, “You may hang me…you may burn me at the stake, tar and feather me, or throw me into the Mississippi, but you cannot disgrace me. I and I alone can disgrace myself; and the deepest of all disgrace would be, at a time like this to deny my Master by forsaking his cause.”

In November of 1837 Elijah received a new printing press and was allowed to hide it in a friends warehouse. Pro-slavery activists learned where Elijah had hidden the press and approached the warehouse. Shots were fired into the warehouse and some of Elijah’s friends in the warehouse fired back. One of the shots ended up hitting one of the pro-slavery activists killing him. The mob became more angry and raised a ladder on the warehouse to try and set fire to the building. Elijah and a friend ran out from the warehouse and pushed the ladder away from the building. When the mob tried to raise the ladder again, Elijah and his friend tried to sneak out again to push over the ladder but they were seen. The mob opened fire on Elijah and his friend. Elijah was shot five different times by shotgun fire and died at the warehouse. The mob was eventually able to enter the warehouse where they destroyed the press by breaking it up into pieces and throwing it into the river. Nobody was ever convicted in his murder and no services were held because tensions were so high.

Because of his work for the abolition movement, Elijah Parish Lovejoy is considered a martyr by the abolitionists. A monument was raised in his honor sixty years later in 1897. Around the monument are the following quotes from Elijah Parish Lovejoy:

“I have sworn eternal opposition to slavery, and by the blessing of God, I will never go back.”

“But, gentlemen, as long as I am an American citizen, and as long as American blood runs in these veins, I shall hold myself at liberty to speak, to write, to publish whatever I please on any subject–being amenable to the laws of my country for the same.”

“If the laws of my country fail to protect me I appeal to God, and with him I cheerfully rest my cause. I can die at my post but I cannot desert it.”

The legacy of Elijah Parish Lovejoy’s abolition work continues even to this day. A current descendant of Elijah, Martha Lovejoy, works as a supervisor in the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which works with the US government to combat modern forms of slavery.

 

More Information & References:
Wikipedia.com – Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Christianity.com – Murder of Abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy
Altonweb.com – Report by the Alton Observer, November 7, 1837
State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency – Lovejoy Monument
National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum – Elijah Parish Lovejoy
Biography.com – Elijah Lovejoy

We are the Sheep and We are the Goats

How could you split these two up?

How could you split these two up?

With the recent release of the rebooted but far from upgraded Left Behind movie the “end times” are coming back into popular discussion. The movie made under half of their $16 million dollar budget over the weekend by bringing in $6.3 million (which may just pay for Nicolas Cage’s salary on the film) and is sitting at a not so respectable 2% critic rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Needless to say, the movie is not being received well even in much of the Christian world where it is being heavily marketed. A review of the film in Christianity Today says, “Left Behind is not a Christian movie, whatever ‘Christian Movie’ could even possibly mean…We tried to give the film zero stars, but our tech system won’t allow it.”

Sigh. Sadly it is no surprise that a “Christian” movie is not doing well among critics and at the box office.

However, what is always doing well among Christians is debates and discussions about the “end times”. The reason films like this can have the audience that they can is that Christians have pretty tightly held and deeply set beliefs about what is going to happen. Rewind the Internet back to the time when Love Wins by Rob Bell came out and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Specifically the “Left Behind” (or dispensationalist) thread of theology has a pretty strong hold in Western Christianity. The idea behind this theology is that the world gets in the fast-lane to its highway to Hell and people go crazy, world governments rise up, planes fall from the sky and you have to use a tattooed bar code to buy groceries all while Christians are whisked away to the safety of their mansions and Jacuzzis in the sky.

I get why this concept is popular. It is wildly exciting and, by all accounts, should make a really good action film. People love to hear about good people getting rewarded and bad people getting punished. What’s even better is when you “know” you are one of the good people and  believe you have front row tickets to sit back and watch it all burn.

However, this dividing up of the world where Christians go one way, everybody else goes the other or Christians get blessed while everyone else on Earth is cursed is honestly a tough fit with  much of how Scripture and the New Testament are interpreted and understood outside of our Western/American/Evangelical Tradition. Especially when you watch a movie like Left Behind and realize the violence, horror and genuine human suffering that takes place when the rapture happens it can be a tough sell for many Western Christians as well.

One of the more popular verses that comes up when discussing the Left Behind separation of the Christians and everyone else is Jesus parable about the sheep and the goats. The Gospel according to Matthew recounts the parable this way:

“Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’
“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB)

Seems pretty straightforward right? Maybe not so much. I was reading the Eclectic Orthodoxy blog which is one of my favorite blogs that gets me out of my Western Evangelical theological bubble. Back in July he was reading and reflecting on the writings of the Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov and wrote this on the blog:

“On first reading of the parable of the sheep and the goats, one might deduce that human beings will be irrevocably divided into two classes, the sinless and the sinful. “But no one is perfectly sinless except the ‘Sole Sinless One’ and the Most Pure Mother of God,” objects Bulgakov, “just as no human beings are so utterly sinful that no trace of good can be found in them” (p. 462). Pure evil does not exist in man. Every person is a sinner, a mixture of good and evil. The difference between human beings, between the greatest saint and the most cruel murderer, is relative, not absolute. Every human being needs the saving Blood of the Crucified…Each person will discover that he is simultaneously sheep and goat—simul iustus et peccator; each will discover that he compounds the incorruptible Imago Dei and the undying worm and inextinguishable fire.”

The thing that throws all our judgments and desire to divide up between righteous and unrighteous is the game-changing, world upending and cosmos restoring resurrection, justification and glorification of Jesus.  When humanity is seen through the lens of Jesus (and this is what the Church is supposed to do) we are simul iustus et peccator which is a Latin phrase that means “simultaneously justified yet sinners”.

We are both sheep and goats.

The Left Behind movie and dispensational theology relishes in the division of humanity into sheep and goats and the knowledge that we can “know” who is who. But, what Sergius Bulgakov asks us to realize is that we can not even make that judgement on ourselves. We are at the same time a fluffy, peaceful sheep and a wild, defiant goat. We all need the salvation and redemption provided by God through Christ. When we realize we are both sheep and goat, that we carry the image of God around in a fragile, cracked clay jar, we can begin to see that reality in others as well. We know that we belong in with the goats just as much as the person next to us yet we both have grace and mercy offered to us in equal measure because of God pouring it out regardless of our level of righteousness, doctrine or chosenness.

Then, the world becomes less a place we want to escape but more of a place that we want the image of God to shine through.

Prayer for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (Ordinary Time)

Elderly Castellano Pouring Wine by Joaquín Sorolla, 1907.

Elderly Castellano Pouring Wine by Joaquín Sorolla, 1907.

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Unless otherwise noted, prayers come from the Book of Common Prayer, Revised Common Lectionary.

Prayers posted during Ordinary Time will feature art that is often not specifically religious, but art for arts sake. Enjoy!