Nov 5, 2017, Prayers of the People
Practice mercy. Be compassionate. Bring peace. Reconcile. Care. Give. Forgive. Practice nonviolence. Be kind. Act justly. Friendship. Sacrifice. Respect. Advocate. Commit. Dignify. Build Community. Welcome. Be gracious. Honour. Accompany.
This is a challenging way to live. We need some prayers to make it happen. Our call and response is: Oh my God, I am your neighbour. I will love you and serve you, Oh my God.
I am new to this world and so easy to love. I am an infant. My eyes are big and beautiful, I smile when I hear your voice. You shelter me in your arms, do your best to feed me and keep me safe from harm. I am afraid of loud noises, big things I have no words for, and that you will leave me and I will die alone and afraid. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
I will be ten soon. I got an A on my math test. My best friend’s mom and dad are fighting all the time and she’s afraid they will hit her too. I tell her that she can come over to my house after school for a break. A kid in kindergarten fell off the monkey-bars, so I walked him to the office. The breakfast programme closed down because there weren’t enough volunteers, but sometimes I have enough to share. The book drive at the mall got us 500 new books for our library. My big brother says high school is great. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
Being a teenager sucks, God! My clothes don’t fit, my body keeps changing, my face keeps breaking out and my parents won’t let me sleep in. There is this guy that I like but he’ll only go out with me if no-one will find out, so I told him to take a hike, like my mom said. There is this girl who talks about killing herself, so I told my teacher and they are going to get her help. Shop class is amazing-I got to use a chop saw and a drill press to make a clothespin. I’m going to give it to my grandfather, he’s in the hospital. My friends make fun of me because I still go to church with my family, but some of the university students are pretty cool. I can’t wait to go to university. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
Oh God! Why did I ever want to go to university? I am so stupid. All these other guys seem to know how to get the work done and have a life and I feel like a loser. I use the peer tutor programme, so that helps sometimes, and I joined a club, so I don’t feel so alone anymore, but still. I am so thankful for the Open Table meals that the churches offer; sometimes it’s the only time I get to eat a decent salad all month. My bestie fell pregnant, so we talked for hours and hours about what she is going to do. She knows I’ll help out in any way I can. I can’t wait to be out of school. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
So, this is what the military is like. What a mess! Not here, but out there. This peacekeeping mission is scary stuff. There are these IEDs, and it feels like every time I turn around, someone is getting hurt or dying. Last week, my friend’s tank lost a track and it just flew right off the bridge, killing him instantly. We sent his stuff home to his mom with a card we all signed. Rest in Peace, buddy. We’re thinking of you and all the ones we’ve lost. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
This working and family thing is crazy, God! The baby doesn’t sleep so I am tired all the time. My boss is always on my back about keeping my numbers up, but then the customer service suffers and she complains about that! I can’t win. Our new home is fantastic. I never knew we needed so many things to run a household, though. The neighbours mowed our lawn when they found out we didn’t have a mower, and the woman across the street told us about the local parenting group that shares childcare. We can have an extra few kids in the house if it means we can have a few hours to ourselves to sleep. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
Oh my God, I blinked and the kids are out of the house. How did that happen? I still feel like I should make sure they are all safely in bed, but they aren’t here anymore. I still volunteer with the local school in their literacy programme and manage the Scouts equipment for our local group. I am worried about retirement, but we have a good saving plan set up that we still contribute to every payday. I hope we won’t need any extra dental or drug coverage, that might bankrupt us. I have so many friends who are sick and in the hospital ………………………………………………. I try and visit, and I keep them in my prayers. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
This retirement thing is not for the weak. I have so much to do. I deliver for meals on wheels on Mondays and Tuesdays, volunteer at the day programme at the church on Wednesday and Friday, watch the grandkids on Thursday and play bridge at the senior’s centre a couple of times a week. I’ve been in the hospital a few times with the colon cancer that just won’t go away, but I keep telling the kids I’m fine, just a little tired. I won’t be a drain on the family, they’ve got enough going on. I worry about…………………………..OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.
I have had a great life God. All my life, I have had wondrous neighbours. I know people who practice mercy, are compassionate and who bring peace. My neighbours reconcile, care, give and forgive. They practice nonviolence, being kind and acting justly. They believe in friendship, sacrifice, respect and advocacy. They are committed individuals who dignify, build community and welcome others to their table. They are gracious, honourable and I have been blessed to be accompanied by them. Now you welcome me to your eternal kingdom as one of your own. Oh my God, thanks for being my companion, my wellspring and my greatest joy. You are a wonderful neighbour. OH MY GOD, I AM YOUR NEIGHBOUR. I WILL LOVE YOU AND SERVE YOU, OH MY GOD.