Our Burden Lifter – a Pastoral Prayer

June 28,2019_Opening EcumenicalHoly and loving God, the one who is rich in mercy,

So often we feel heavy laden with the weight of all that feels wrong in our life. We worry about our future, we worry about the suffering around us, we worry about our health and our finances and our relationships. We carry the load of this stress on our shoulders, often feeling alone in our struggles. Often feeling too proud to ask for help.

Yet you, God, are our burden lifter.

When we feel overwhelmed with stress and worry, when the baggage that comes with living this messy life feels like too much to carry, you gently whisper to us:

“Cast all your anxiety – cast all your cares – on me. I love you, my child, let me share the load.”

We lift up this morning the people who are struggling to hear your whispers of hope.

We pray for our brothers and sisters who are trapped in broken systems of injustice. We pray for our kindred who are mourning the loss of a loved one. We pray for children who have lost their parents, no matter their age. We pray for your whispers of hope and your arms of love to bring comfort and peace.

We do not need to be anxious about anything, but with our prayers we can bring our requests to you and you are faithful to mercifully help us with our burdens.

We pray that through all of our past, present and future suffering, we can remember that you call us to acts of mercy. As you are our burden lifter, you call us as your children to help others in need. Grant us the courage and wisdom to walk boldly and mercifully so that, in all we do, you may be glorified.

We pray this in the name of the One who carried our sins to the cross, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray, saying, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name…

Project 365: Day 18

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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I love that we live in a diverse community and that my children have friends of a wide variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. We have so much to learn from each other. Diversity is a beautiful thing, including gender.

Today I had more than one conversation about becoming a woman in ministry. My friend Jake sent me this article about the backlash to a UMC ordained elder who happens to be female: this article: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4617205/. Then, when I was at a birthday party today, a male pastor from another denomination was a little surprised when I mentioned that I was on the track to ordination at my church. My thoughts were later rounded out by listening to a Sheryl Sandberg TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html)

It’s fascinating (frightening, disappointing, shocking? I’m not sure on the right word) to consider that women religious leaders face so much more than a glass ceiling even today. I wonder in how many professions that it not only is challenging for female leadership, but even has people claim it’s biblically wrong for woman to lead. By pursuing ordination as a deacon, the ministers of service, love and justice, I may be stepping into a fight that’s bigger than I can now comprehend.

I wonder if MLK, Jr. would mind if I amended his quote to read “The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and sisterhood.” It’s worth fighting for justice – something I especially realize when I consider my daughter’s future.

Where have you learned to value diversity? When have you had to stand against injustice?