On Easter, we spent time sharing stories of transformation and renewal. Not only did we hear from a select number of storytellers, but we also heard from people willing to their their own stories. To bring us back together after this time, we shared in this responsive reading based on the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Mother and Father
Our Mother and Father who are everywhere,
You are with us, within us, and in our homes and churches;
You are in Paris, Ankara, Brussels, Syria, Iraq, and Palestine;
You are with those made homeless by the elements
And by the hardness of human hearts.
Every moment, you are with us.
Holy be your name.
Holy is the memory of Jesus and Mary of Nazareth,
Paul of Tarsus, Mary of Magdala,
Martin Luther King of Georgia, Dorothy Day of New York,
Oscar Romero of El Salvador, Teresa of Calcutta,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Germany, Black Elk of the Lakota,
And of our family and friends who gifted us with our faith.
Your kin-dom come, the commonwealth of your kin,
A kin-dom with no borders, where all cultures are honored;
A kin-dom where all children are safe and loved,
Where meals and music and conversation are communion with you;
A kin-dom of freedom and justice,
Where all labor has dignity and just reward;
A kin-dom of harmony between all of your creation.
Your will be done on earth as in heaven,
As we commit ourselves to restore your creation
From the ravages of continued desecration;
As we seek to honor our elders for their courage and wisdom;
As we heal the woundedness caused by fear and greed;
As we surrender our calendars and cell phones to your eternal vision.
Give us this day our daily bread,
Grant us bread without fear;
May we share our loaves and our pita, our tortillas and baguettes and naan,
May the harvest of abundance be rich in compassion;
May the food in our bellies bring peace to our hearts.
May our communion bread be pan de justicia,
The justice-making Body of Christ.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us;
May we forgive ourselves for our real or imagined failures,
For thinking ourselves unbeautiful,
For not conforming to some imaginary, unrealistic standard;
May we forgive those who hurt or neglected us,
And those whose best was not enough;
May we forgive our friends or significant others who don’t make us whole,
Forgive us our self-reliance, our lack of trust in you.
Forgive our arrogance and our greed,
Our dividing your children into political parties, winners and losers.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
The temptation of self-righteousness, the evil of judging others;
The temptation to think of people as statistics, the evil of war and hunger;
The temptation of global governance, the evil of systemic injustice;
The temptation to decide what is good for others,
the evil of oppression and tyranny;
The temptation to hoard resources, the evil of poverty;
The temptation to put our faith in progress; the evil of a polluted world.
For yours is the kin-dom, the power, and the glory;
Yours the reign of justice and peace,
Of passion and compassion, of laughter and innocence;
Yours the gathering of all nations in peace;
Yours the power to empower,
To right all wrongs, to lift up the lowly and dethrone tyrants;
Yours the glory of art, poetry, and song;
The radiance of every color of the rainbow,
Yours the everlasting glory of creation.
Forever and ever glory to you God,
For this mystery of faith, and for all of our stories of transformation.
Lord’s Prayer adapted from “Our Mother and Father”, by Mari Castellanos, Minister for UCC Justice and Peace Action Network; from “Imagine another World Is Possible: Building a Peace with Justice Movement in the UCC” Resource Manual for Congregations.
“You are the body of Christ. May your story bring hope to others.”