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Dear Lord,
You are the Breath of life
Who from earth’s very beginning
Has enlivened all of creation
With your powerful presence.

You are the Song of freedom
Who throughout human history
Has stirred our hearts toward the truth
That alone is able to set us free.

You are the Strength to love
Even in the midst of life’s sorrows,
Knowing that beneath any suffering
We are embraced in everlasting arms.

You are the Font of forgiveness
Who grants mercy before justice, and
Calls us to become reconcilers
Amid the many conflicts of this world.

Daily our gratitude rises within us
because of your extravagant grace.

Daily we count our blessings,
believing that the life we receive from you
is life indeed and abundantly good.

Your Church, Lord, is a people,
not a steeple.

Your Church is a testing ground
for all who choose to follow you,
for all who put their trust in you
and live their lives in you.

Every day we hear your invitation –
to listen and heed your voice,
to open our hearts to compassion,
to be agents of peace in your world.

Every day our choices are opportunities –
to draw closer to you and your Kingdom,
a Kingdom of love and light!

Renew your church, Lord!

Renew our vision
for reaching new people
with the gospel of hope in Jesus Christ!

Renew our commitment
to being Christ’s body in the world –
Christ’s arms and feet,
Christ’s hands and ears –
always extending the generosity of grace
to the least, the last, and the lost!

Renew our belief
that every person we meet
is a child of God –
co-workers and caregivers,
mechanics and store clerks,
farm workers and corporate CEOs,
Republicans and Democrats,
Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews,
the neighbors we haven’t yet met,
the strangers we don’t yet know,
the enemies we can’t yet love.

Renew our spirits, Lord.

Renew our faith.

Renew our joy
in being servants of the King of kings
and Lord of lords!

By your Spirit
make us one with Christ,
one with each other,
and one in ministry to all the world,
until Christ comes in final victory
and we feast at his heavenly banquet.

May it be so, Lord.
May it be so!

Words and photo (c) 2012, Mark Lloyd Richardson