A prayer for Reformation 500 Sunday

Reformation pastoral prayer

October 29, 2017

Re-forming God,

We come together today to worship you here. We come here to say yes, to say thank you.

We say thank you  that You sent us leaders 500 years ago named Martin, John, Theodore, Heinrich, and Johannes and many others in those days. These are the ones whose contributions to the church we remember today when we focus on a time when your church listened and changed, changed how it functioned, who it welcomed, how it welcomed them, where it could be in your world and who could steward it for you. Because of them The Church changed, and some lost their lives, their livelihoods, their homes and their families so that it could change and follow you in a new way. We give you thanks for their sacrifices, their vision, and their leadership.

But that was not the first time the church changed and people sacrificed. We also remember today the call of women and men throughout history who were brave and loving enough to do what you called them to do even when the world ridiculed or derided them for doing it.  For Abraham, for Hagar, for Sarah, for Jacob, for Joseph,  for Moses who fought an empire, for Ruth and Naomi who went to a strange place for love, for prophets who spoke your truth even when no one listened, for poets and teachers who made sure we would still know your story Today.

And for Jesus Christ the ultimate reformer/transformer who came and changed us all, who showed us love, who challenged the status quo, and who died because the world did not want to change, and ultimately who rose and reins because you and he are one, and know what is good and what we need. For all his followers and friends named and unnamed who began the church as we know it once he was gone. We say thank you.

Just as those reformers 500 years ago were not the first, they are not the last either. Be with us just as you have been in every age as we muddle our way through seeing what you need and want for us. Those who call us to reform, reimagine and replace pieces of the earthly church to better follow you by continuing, as those reformation forefathers did, to make the church more welcoming, safer, more empowering and better place for all of God’s children, and particularly those the world would harm are a blessing to us all. They are too many to name, but their gifts and their challenge to our petty ways are vital to who we are, their persistence and clarity give us hope. So give us all the vision to see new paths, the courage to walk them, and the solidarity of one another to show love and grace even as we change. Teach us to say yes to what is good and right and belongs to you, and no to the ways the world tells us not to love or to act in love for one another.

And be with all of those whose re-formation is one of body or mind, of individual struggle, of internal call and personal need. We cannot know all the ways each of our siblings is in need, but you do God of Grace, so help us to be a balm to those in need and a guiding presence when we can help.

Be with us as we move with excitement toward new ministries in this church, toward the calling of a new Pastor, toward new ways we can serve the Norman community and the world with our hands, our hearts, and our finances.

Give us the grace to love one another even in change, to work together in peace and not against one another in enmity. Give us the vision to see who you are calling to do your work in this context, as our new pastor but also as elders, deacons, trustees, and in other roles in your church here and now. Show us who you have for us to serve, and who might best serve as a leader.

Be with your children all over the world who hunger-

Who hunger for food with empty bellies,

Who hunger for righteousness under unkind, power hungry leaders,

Who hunger for peace in war-torn places,

Who hunger for companionship in lonely places,

Who hunger for justice in every place,

Who hunger for you. Who need you.

We all need you, our leaders need you, those who re-form us by challenging the world’s ways need you, those who are more comfortable with the way things are need you, Those whose power is threatened by change need you, and everyone caught in between the powerful and the reformers- each one of us needs you. We all need you, we all need your love and peace. Help us to find them today and every day in the words of scripture and the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray...our father...