As the United Church of Canada prepares for General Council 43 in Oshawa, ON July 21-27, 2018, members of Cruxifusion have committed to pray for GC43 and all related activities. Some have chosen to share these prayers, and you will find those captured below.
“Creator of all, sustainer of life, giver of all good things, we wait, and we watch, we look for the morning, O God. Come like the dawning of the day, and make yourself known in the breaking of there bread. Come, like the soft June summer air, and fill us with your holy presence. Come, like the waters that pour down from the heavens, nourishing the earth and bringing life to all living things. Come, Lord Jesus, come. We, your people, are just as dependant on you as the grass that withers and fades without water. We, your church, are just as needful of your wisdom as the daybreak needs the sun to enter into the new day. We long, O Lord, for a new dawn, a new day, a new church. Renew us daily, moment by moment, dawn by dawn. And coax our hearts to look for your light. We, your church, commit to putting down roots in Christ, our light and our hope each day. We, your people, commit to seek you in the morning, to begin first with you, and next with the business of the day. We commit our hearts, our minds, and our work for your glory and your good in this world. And we commit the work of the upcoming General Council, as representation of the church as a whole, to you, O Lord, who will never leave nor forsake us. We love you, we praise you, we give you honour and glory, for you are God most holy, and we are your people. Amen.”
“Oh Ancient of days, Maker of the universe, Creator of the heavens and the earth you are Sovereign above all Regions.
You who are the author and perfector of our faith we call upon you and your gracious wisdom. Lay your hands upon those servants called by your Church and commissioned to the 43rd General Council of The United Church of Canada. Place within them your burning passion for an Easter people and enable them to deliberate and lead as a resurrected priesthood.
Imbue them and all of us with an everlasting love and desire to exercise mercy. Instruct them in how to act justly. Equip them to walk humbly in your wake, following the steps laid before them by your risen Son.
Watch over their coming together as you will their being sent out.
This day and all days until that day we join you in your Kingdom. Amen.”
“Some struggle, O Lord, with hope
for our United Church Because they wonder
about the centre,
the foundation, the roots.
Structure is important but we wonder
if our church leaders perceive why some
believe the cart is in the wrong place.
So today we affirm our hope in you, O Lord,
You who declare to us:
I AM the light of the world.
Some struggle, O God, with what is reliable?
With what is secure? Within our United Church!
Because we believe there is neither reliability
nor security in people, institutions or governments.
So today we affirm our trust in you, O Lord,
You Who declare to us:
I AM the way, the truth, and the life.
Some struggle, O Lord, with fear and worry
that our leaders do not feel
the deep faith issues within our church
that require no other heart than that of Jesus our Lord.
So today we affirm our faith in you, O Lord,
You Who announce to us:
I AM the resurrection and the life.
You alone, O Lord, are our ultimate hope.
You alone are our intimate love.
You alone are our foundational strength.
Thus, we come to you, our life-giving God,
with faith, with hope, and with love
for this United Church of ours.
Infuse her leaders, especially at GC43,
with Holy Spirit wisdom to discern
the real issues before this church,
which belongs to You and for which You died.
Ignite her leaders, especially at GC43,
with Holy Spirit courage to act
for the love of Jesus the Lord
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
I remember the day well, the day I was ordained 9 years ago today. I remember your Spirit feeling so very near hands were laid on me. I know this same Spirit is still with me today as I seek to be faithful to your call to serve.
I pray that this same Spirit will continue to guide me and lead me as I prepare for GC43. I have felt your call to serve your church in this capacity at this time in its ongoing story. Do I know what the future will hold? Do I even know what this meeting will hold? Of course not. But I do know you know. This gives me great hope. I know you have a plan for your church. Not the United Church of Canada specifically, but you have a plan for your Church, as flawed as it may often be.
But you forgive us our flaws, and you continue to call us to be even more faithful, even more obedient. Your grace and mercy is unending, and it is amazing.
So I pray for people like me today. People who have been elected to represent the voices of this embodiment of the church, who may be feeling overwhelmed by the volumes of material we must read, the enormity of the decisions we will make, and the pressure to do what is “best.”
You alone know what is best. Either way, you will still be with us, no matter what happens this summer. You will still be with our individual communities of faith, you will still love and guide your people. For this we give thanks.
I also pray for Nora, Jordan, Larry, Allan and all others who are preparing to host this meeting. May you guide their discussions and planning, may you bless their families as they are so busy right now. May you give them time to rest also.
There is so much more we pray for, and you know our needs, so I ask you to speak to all these prayers in your still, small voice, and may we have ears to hear your word to us.
I pray all these things in the strong name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
“Faithful God, it’s always a risk placing ourselves into your hands.
Not because you waver, but because we do.
We so quickly imagine our opinions are solid and wise,
and then we find questions, doubts and fears surface.
We so desperately want to trust in ourselves and exert our independence,
and we are reminded again of need beyond our capacity
and complexities beyond our solving.
It feels risky to let go and trust you
for it means admission of our creatureliness.
Yet you are our Good Shepherd,
in you we have all that we need.
At just the right time, you let us rest beside still waters,
you lead us to nourishment,and you guide us along the right paths.
In you, our strength is renewed and our souls strengthened.
So we will dare to hope.
Even in dark valleys.
Even at the tables of General Council.
Even in the presence of enemies.
Even in the face of oppression.
Even in the abundance of blessings.
Even as we celebrate.
Even at life’s end.
We will stake our hope in you.
By the power of your Holy Spirit draw us near.
We pray in Jesus’ name and for your glory alone. Amen.”
“Oh you, whose love is reigning over us,
The whole of creation sings, for you are good.
The song of the sea creatures greets the song of those on land, and then rises to meet the song of those whose lives are lived in the air. The combined song of the creatures joins the anthem that humankind has sung to you since time began, and we celebrate, for the creatures have enacted the declaration of the Psalm:
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Ps. 150:6)
And the song of earthly creation joins the chorus of the angelic choir, rising to greet you in the heavenly court. We sing of your faithfulness, your generosity, your compassion, and your love – but most of all, we sing of One who will never abandon us – One who will never let us go.
Though we be hungry, bitter, beaten down, abandoned by our own, impoverished, sick, oppressed or marginalized we sing of you, God, whose love is reigning over us.
And so we will sing of your faithfulness until the fire of love captures the heart of the church again and we see the glory of the Lord smeared all over the church, the same way it was when Moses came down from the mountain and he was glowing!
May our leaders in this United Church of Canada – lay, ordered, and designated lay – remember your faithfulness as they meet this summer at General Council in Oshawa, pray together, and discern what the Spirit is saying to the church that we may continue to live out our calling, which originates with you, the God of our salvation. Amen!”
Of all the ways you could have chosen to manifest your Body in this world, you willed the Church. It is not our place to instruct you, but we might simply say that this is one hell of a way to run a railroad.
For in electing the Church, you choose broken and fragile people to be your ambassadors of your inconvenient love in this broken and fragile world. You call the weak and the disreptuable to occupy places of power and privilege in your service. You force us good, clean folks to associate with… them. In instructing us to love our neighbours, did you ever consider what the neighbours might think?
Yet still – interminably and insufferably – you gather us all beneath the cross of Christ where “the godless are justified, enemies reconciled, the imprisoned freed, the poor made rich, and the grieving filled with hope. That is why beneath the cross we also discover ourselves as children living from the same freedom in Christ, and as friends in the same fellowship of the Spirit.”*
And so, Holy One, we pray that mighty Spirit upon The United Church of Canada as we discern your will for your Church. Draw us together in all our brokenness and sinfulness, in our peculiarities and idiosyncracies, that our being together is an outward sign of your sanctifying hand. May we keep our eyes upon that Tree of Salvation such that all our dealings and business might reflect something of your bizarrely beautiful grace.
All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit: one God, now and forever. Amen.”
(*Moltmann, Jurgen. God for a Secular Society, 214-5.)
Today’s prayer for General Council comes from Rev. Natalie Istead, who was ordained by the Montreal and Ottawa Synod just over a week ago! To view the archive of all prayers being offered in the lead up to GC43 click here.
“Jesus, you are Lord of this Church. Over the next weeks, may the commissioners to General Council sing to your glory. May they listen for your Word.
Long ago, you called: “Samuel, Samuel!” When you call to our commissioners, may they answer “Here I am” and “your servant is listening.”
Help us all to listen and to pray. Holy Spirit, move in this Church.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!”
Leading up to General Council 43 in Oshawa this summer, Cruxifusion members are offering prayers for the Church, GC43 and the commissioners. We will post them here as they come available.
Today’s prayer comes from Rev. Greg Brawn.
Lord and Saviour of the Church, Lord and Saviour of all creation, we praise You for Your inexhaustible love and mercy. We pray for each person attending General Council this summer. We pray that each one may feel Your presence as they read, reflect, pack, and travel. We ask that You would unite the hearts and minds of each attendee in Your perfect love and will for them and for this United Church of Yours. Thank you, Lord! Amen.