By Rev. Kerry Greenhill © 2019
The United Methodist Church is preparing for a special Called Session of General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, next week to pray, worship, discuss, discern, deliberate, and vote on several possible plans for how we might move forward as a denomination that is deeply divided over the extent to which we affirm the marriages and calls to ordained ministry of our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ.
This week, congregations, clergy, and individuals around the world are joining together in prayer: prayer for the process, for the outcomes, for those taking part in the discussion and voting, and for those affected by the decisions made there. This prayer was written at the request of a delegate from the Virginia Annual Conference, and is offered here for use by anyone and everyone who finds it helpful. May grace abound.
May you see the image of God in each person you meet.
May they see the image of God in you.
May you be willing to listen deeply to those around you,
both those on the margins and those in the center,
those you already trust, and those on the other side
of any dividing line you may perceive.
May you listen deeply to the voice of God within you,
and recognize that voice
as the one that calls you – and all people – Beloved.
May your heart be open to the Spirit of peace.
May peace be your anchor, your center,
your every breath, your very breath.
May your hands not be closed tightly into fists,
nor clutching nor clinging to any created thing,
but open to God in prayer,
open to receive the gifts of your neighbor,
open to offer your own gifts to others,
open to hold the hand of the person next to you,
open to wipe the tears from a brother’s face,
open to embrace a differently-embodied sister,
open to release whatever security blanket is keeping you
from living in the full freedom of the Spirit’s leading.
May you do all you can to be worthy of this sacred trust.
May you know that, by God’s grace, you are worthy.
May the Spirit flow freely through you,
finding no obstacle of ego or fear,
arrogance, anger, or pride.
May you encourage one another in love,
bear with one another, trust one another,
hold out hope for each other,
discern wisdom together.
May your deeply-held convictions
keep you humbly grounded in God’s love,
in a right-sized sense of your place in the big picture:
neither less significant
nor more important than others.
May you look and listen for the fruits of the Spirit:
for love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.
Wherever you see these springing forth,
may you know and believe that God is at work,
and trust these signs to lead you forward.
And above all else,
do not be afraid.
Know that God is with you,
in your preparations for travel,
in your prayers and reading,
in your conversation and deliberation,
in your listening and learning,
in your singing and worship,
in your openness to the Spirit’s leading.
God is with you always,
and nothing can separate you – or anyone –
from the love of God made known to us
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Go with grace, and love, and peace
to serve God in all you do.
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