support that surrounds us— for the heavenly host above; for the saints who rest from their labors; for the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs; for our friends and family members whose names and faces are vivid in our thoughts and memories as we begin a new period in our church’s history. For all these and more we bless your Name, O God. We rejoice that you have called us to this time and to this place. We thank you for your church and our place in it. May the mind that was in Christ Jesus also be in us, and share hearts of humble service wherever we go this week and may we think loving thoughts that cheer us in loneliness, protect us in danger, strengthen us against the temptations of selfishness, and encourage us to join together to do justice and make peace.
O Lord Jesus Christ: You told your disciples
that they were as lights shining in a benighted world.
We would be remiss if we failed to pause
and acknowledge before you our shortcomings—
sometimes unintentional, but often not—
and pray that we may better represent your church to those around us.
Forgive the feebleness of our witness, the smallness of our charity,
and our fear in the face of the powers of this world.
Make us worthy followers
who imitate you in caring for the poor, the oppressed, and the stranger;
and in offering healing to the sick and help to those in need.
May the power of the Holy Spirit be in us all,
that with your church throughout the earth,
we may share in the world’s sufferings and redress its wrongs.
In the Name of the Triune God we pray. Amen.