Corrymeela News

Corrymeela

Prayers for Community in a Time of Pandemic

13 Mar 2020

The current need for self–isolation and social distancing as exceptional measures speaks to the greater need we have as humans to be in community. The world needs community like never before.

In that spirit, we offer a series of prayers:

16 September 2020

God of our great ideas, God of our better angels: when we are sure that we are right and that our solution is the best, warn us of the danger that we pose. Often, the insistence on one way will make it harder for others to agree, particularly when we think it’s the only answer that makes sense. Help us as we choose to let go of what we might want to impose so that in the space that opens up, a co–created possibility might emerge. And then help us see that what is mind is hardly ever as nice as what is ours.

Amen. 

––––––––––––––––––––

15 September 2020

God of lifelong companions, God of sudden discoveries: we know that to be honest with others risks pushing them away; we know that their honesty with us will show what we’d hide. Let our relationships be the process of our becoming, so that we are shaped by laughter and tears, by squabbles and smirks, by courage and comfort, by another who sees us better than we can.

Amen. 

––––––––––––––––––––––

14 September 2020

God of long walks with friends, God of the longer walk of friendship: we give thanks for the accidental encounters, the weekly catch–ups, the second cups of tea. We give thanks for the desire to pick up the phone, the thought to send a line, the time we make when we have none. We give thanks that humans are relational creatures, begun before birth in contact with another, and forever after made not for efficient productions, but for deeper connections. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––

11–13 September 2020

God of our distinct identities, God of our shared possibilities: if we want the world to change, and ask others to change, we must be willing to change ourselves. We give you thanks for the faith to believe that what is true and good in us will remain and be revealed. Through this transformation, and even in our letting go of what we want to protect, may we trust that we will find you holding on to who we are meant to be.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

10 September 2020

God of righteous anger, God of unsettling compassion: even if we do not seek it, we can find ourselves with much that can leave us upset. Too often we choose to dwell there, taking residence in resentment. We pray that we you would move us, and unseat us from this state with a grace we hope that we can carry forward. May we take the lessons gathered and change direction as is needed, so we end up in a new place on the path of peace you show us.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

9 September 2020

God of the long hard look in the mirror, God of steadfast love: the knowledge of your undying love does not give us permission to do what we want, or license to act with overconfidence. Instead, may it may it give us courage to address what is broken in ourselves and the will to change what we can. May our faith in your grace reassure us that no matter what we find staring back at us, it will be accompanied by your ever–loving presence.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––

8 September 2020

God of changed minds, God of changed hearts: sometimes a good argument can affect our thinking, and in turn our affect our behaviour. But more often, it’s a better relationship that with someone we thought we’d figure out that reveals what our minds had missed, exposing the flaw in our certainty. No matter how we come to know that your truth is different to what we imagined, may this revelation lead to a gentle revolution, and may our turning around bring us closer to you.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

7 September 2020

God of incremental changes, God of seismic shifts: this year has seen the world transformed, even if we sometimes feel that we have barely moved. As we assess where we are now in this stranger, familiar place, may we take heart in knowing that the simply acts of kindness and compassion we extend help shape the world that’s yet to form and affect what happens next. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––

4–6 September 2020

God of the spaces between us, God of the fractures within us: in the gap between what is and what should be there is room for empathy and learning. There are truths that we don’t yet see, but could come to understand if we care enough to ask, if we imagine the reality of others, if we have the courage to change. May we enter that space knowing well you are there, waiting for us to join you in a recreation of what was empty into a garden full of life. 

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––

3 September 2020

God of form and frame, God of tension and resistance: to grow we need something to push against. We need conflict to reveal what we think, how we feel, and for whom we’re willing to fight. We need conflict to train us how to be kind when we really don’t what to; how to make room for others because we simply have to, and because it makes a better space for us all. As we struggle and strain, may we hold our own but always in connection with others. 

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––

2 September 2020

God of new lessons, God of old truths: this faith of ours is in what lies beyond us, not just within. As we release ourselves from the trap of thinking we have it all figured out, and turn to you and others for help, for the strength and insight we don’t possess, may the fear of not being in control be replaced by the assurance of never being alone. 

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––

1 September 2020

God of our knowing selves, God of our inquisitive selves: when we stop being curious, our relationships wither. May we encounter others today not with our minds made up, but our ears pricked up with interest and fascination. May we form questions still open to the possibility of surprise, finding something wonderful in the answers we weren’t expecting, and discovering how everyday experiences can still change us, when we let them.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––

31 August 2020

God in our conflict, God in our learning: to be human is to find ourselves in relation to those with different goals, different needs, different ways of being. Remind us that our disagreements are the not the end of our connection. May our differences inspire curiosity. May our questions lead us to better conversations, letting us see the world through others’ eyes. 

Amen. 

––––––––––––––––––––––

28–30 August 2020

God of friends, God of enemies: perhaps the great act of faith these days is not a belief in you, but a belief that you are present in the people we want to turn away. Help us discover that there is always more to love when we see others as you do; there are differences not just to tolerate, but to celebrate. As you have remained with us and for us despite all we have done to withdraw, may we remain with and for others, judging not as you could judge, but loving more than we deserve. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––

27 August 2020

God of good folk doing their best, God of lost sheep who have lost their way, we need patience: with ourselves, for others, in the midst of this pandemic. You have patience. If there’s one thing you’ve got, it’s patience. So be with us as we take a breath, as we reach out for your hand, and as we take another next step with you. 

Amen. 

––––––––––––––––––

26 August 2020

God of honesty, God of grace: opening up to others raises a fear of being judged, for reasons both legitimate and imagined. And so we pray you would let us love ourselves the way you do: to recognise another child of God. May we also find you alive in those who listen to us and hear our story, so that instead of judgement we are given compassion; and instead of rejection we are offered embrace.

Amen. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––

25 August 2020

God of differing views, God of growing consensus: our noticeable disagreements can easily obscure the agreements that hardly need mentioned. We don’t expect to hold the same opinions or to view the world the same. But may we keep the points that distinguish us from becoming the wedge that divides us; and may our multiple perspectives provide a fuller glimpse of you.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

24 August 2020

God of humility, God of courage: each conversation we enter, if honest and meaningful, will expose a vulnerability. We share our life experiences, the good and bad, and open up to pain. We reveal our ignorance of things, both consciously and not. And so we pray for your grace to be with us in these imperfect conversations. For acknowledging our weakness will reveal your loving strength; and facing our fear together will lead to something better.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

21–23 August 2020

God of opening possibilities, God of grace at the table: faith in you is faith in humanity. You have loved us enough to remain with us through death. You see in us what we fail to see ourselves: that each person we encounter is a child of a loving God, a partner for a better world, a voice that adds meaning to this prayer. May we be freed to be ourselves, to live the life you want, and in that freedom find communion, and your presence in our midst.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

20 August 2020

God of welcome, God of boundary: we give that that each of us can be our full selves in the community you create. And we pray that with your grace, our way of being our true selves will never harm others or prevent them from being their true selves. May we welcome one another as you have welcomed us, so that the lines we draw together trace the image of your love.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––

19 August 2020

God of empathy, God of embrace: your image rests in all of us, even those we push away As we find the courage to welcome ones we have seen as other, may we find a clearer glimpse of your eternal presence with us, and discover in our encounters, our truer, better selves. And then may we, despite our brokenness be received into your wholeness, into a family where no difference can deny that we belong.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––

18 August 2020

God of the people, God of the daoine, God of the Rén, God of the ashkhas, God of the bobl, God of the personas, God of the Menschen, God of the log, God of the lydui, God of the watu, God of the dhaoine: may our glorious human diversity, which we confuse with babble, be the way our spirits unify in your incarnate love.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––

17 August 2020

God of the guest house, God of the rooms we prepare: the ones we welcome and the ways we welcome will reveal a great deal about how we receive your good news. May we, in this time of social distancing and human longing, accept your invitation to meet you again in the stranger, and to meet you ourselves in the emotions we house, and at doors we either open or close.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––

14–16 August 2020

God of friends we’ve lost, God of friends we’ve kept: these surreal days we’re sharing do not meet us all equally; the private agonies that some are experiencing can be obscured by our universal ordeal. Remind us that today may be more difficult for others for reasons we do not fully see. May our solidarity in one experience not blind us to others’ pain, and may we be for them in ways that meet their needs.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

13 August 2020

God who holds us in our brokenness, God whose healing makes us whole: the biggest event of our lives is still unfolding. It is not something to be outmanoeuvred or outwitted. This story is still incomplete, and our recovery has yet to begin. That unknowing is part of our pain. There is wisdom in accepting the things we cannot change. But there is strength in remembering that nothing, not even what we can’t control, will separate us from your embrace.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

12 August 2020

God of childhood summers, God of lifelong memories: these present days are unlike any that have come before, but remind us a little of surprising moments that appeared when we were growing up; days of discovering ourselves for the first time in the context of others; seasons of actively figuring out who we thought we were. May we all renew our license to explore again who we can be, so that when this crisis is over, we’re all a little more grown up.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––

11 August 2020

God of this shared earth and this shared experience: may this great leveller of a disease, this reminder of our common fragility, our mortality, and our recognisable fears, be also the great correction in our collective story. May this be the moment when we start again with clearer eyes and kinder hearts, and with a renewed resolve to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly together.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––

10 August 2020

God of receding tides, God of rising waters, more has become exposed from around us and within: beauty and ugliness, resilience and hurt. May we hold what we discover from these pools of hidden life with gentle curiosity. And may what we find lead us into a daily rhythm of extending your grace further across near and distant shores.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––

8–9 August 2020

God who withdraws into quiet, God who returns with reassurance: after you took time for yourself, you approached the disciples with a calming power. May we, even as we fail to match your miraculous ways, find peace like yours in the care we offer ourselves. And then may we, in the midst of new storms, quiet the fears that unsettle our hearts.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––

7 August 2020

God of deeper conversation, God of deepening relationships: with so little known about what lies ahead, may we take the time to meet ourselves again, and to encounter anew the people we say we know. These strangers who may be close to us have more to share when we open ourselves to renewed curiosity and trust that undiscovered joys lie within the connections we already have.

Amen.

––––––––––––––

6 August 2020

God of our protective impulses, God of the common good: help us as we make decisions in the dark that will affect not just ourselves but those we love and those we should love. Give us the courage to trust not just our primal instincts, but the good news that what is best for the whole, for the neighbour and the stranger, is what protects the best in ourselves.

Amen.

––––––––––––––

5 August 2020

God of those who make good trouble, God of those who prize peace, we have been blessed by two who testified to the light just like their namesake before them: one Baptist, one Catholic; both fearless. We give thanks that on bridges in Selma and Derry, in marches and decades of politics, they continued to spill their sweat and blood so that love would overcome hate, and to show that a struggle, if righteous and just, should never have to be armed.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––

4 August 2020

God of our growing hope, God of a learned caution: guide us now as our experiences diverge. Some are eager to move forward, with a certain degree of risk; others continue to rely on the shield of our collective respons. Grant us patience. Increase our courage. Give us the sense to know when we’re being overly careful, and when we’re being cavalier. But keep us united, so we might find our hope together.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––

3 August 2020

God of gardens we never noticed before, God of the time we didn’t know we had: we give thanks for weeks of renewal, for changes of scenery, for hours set to a different clock. We rejoice in the eyes we have to see this beautiful, hurting world again. We pray that as we return to scheduled patterns, we will continue to note the realms of glory all around us, the saints who have struggled on, and the joyful, urgent work we have to do.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––

3 July 2020

God of community, God of our deepest self: in this time of isolation and protective separation, the truth of our connection has risen to the fore. Although our fear–based structures are more fragile than we thought, the bonds of human kindness contain the strength of godly love. We give you thanks that beneath this worldly tumult and within our beaten hearts we know that God is with us and will be with us still.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––

2 July 2020

God of extraordinary kindness, God of ordinary folk: as we reform ourselves in these rebuilding days, we are bound to mimic the behaviour of others. May we not get distracted by those who sound and fury signify nothing. Remind us of a divine potency alive in those who quietly carry on with compassion; whose simple goodness, their gift from you, can recreate the world.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

1 July 2020

God of the prodigals’ return, God of the rivals’ reunion: when the son neared the father, he bowed as a servant and relinquished all familial rights. It was the same gesture Jacob made when he came near Esau in fear. Their repentance and humility were immediately engulfed in a full–bodied embrace, into a restoration of what was lost and a fuller celebration of what was found. As we return to patterns of work and life, and find ourselves face to face again, may we be restored will all our humility and repentance intact.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

30 June 2020

God of eternal life, God of letting go: throughout this long season and over a century of days, you have remained constant as we’ve rediscovered ourselves. There is more change ahead. This pandemic is not finished. Nor are we. As we continue to be transformed, may we cling to kindness and mercy; to courage and trust; to faith and hope; to undying selflessness. May divine love be made flesh and given breath in the life that changes with you.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––

29 June 2020

God of the second mile, God of the turned cheek: some who receive more hardship respond with greater love. Their faith runs all the deeper and their hope becomes like rock. With acquired humility they keep accumulating lessons and accomplish more beyond a terminal sentence than those who barely start. We give you thanks for saints whose shortened lives contain enough for several books; whose every thought and prayer and pause deserves an extra page.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––

27–28 June 2020

God of prophets at the door, God of cool cups of water: justice is hard to define and harder to apply, but love lived out in public is never out of reach. Help us all to welcome the instinct in ourselves to do the right thing in the moment we’re in. As we greet the one before us with the kindness we’d expect, may our reward be no stranger than an offer of a drink.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––

26 June 2020

God of caught breath, God of welcomed pause: so much has happened so quickly that we can lose a sense of time. As we continue to pace and prepare ourselves for more unknown to come, we are grateful for the faithfulness you promise: the ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’ we find morning by morning. Give us that song. Have us hum it by heart. May we share the new mercies we see.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––

25 June 2020

God whose face is never seen, God whose image shall not be made: you knew –– even before we melted gold to worship a beast –– that we would be quick to put our face, our skin, our accent, our culture up on a throne and give it your name. Save us from this idol that we want. Remind us that you not you are not the best version of us, so that might rank ourselves in second place. Show us again that to be divine is to relinquish power, to empty one’s self in love. May we find you again alive in community rather than lifeless in our reflection.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––

24 June 2020

God of honest conversation, God of ever–listening saints: how we wish we’d found the words and the courage in the moment to say what needed said when loved ones were much closer, and the time was almost right. Remind us of the time we have alive with you right now. Yours is an ear alert for prayer; ours a communion in which to listen. Help us in silence with you, in words for others convey both love and concern, and may those who hear and those who speak receive the message of your peace.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

23 June 2020

God of human touch, God of spiritual embrace: this biggest event of our lives will live on in our tissues, something our bodies are actively learning to hold. And so the kindness we show to ourselves, and the support we offer each other, is not just for right now. May the soothing techniques we practice and centring breaths we take hold us in this moment and train us for moments to come, so that without thinking we can find ourselves again, in your presence.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––

22 June 2020

God of midsummer light, God of midwinter snow: as our tilted earth rounds the bend and turns along its course, we note the connection we have with those around the world, whether they are basking in the fullness of the season or rejoicing in the sun’s return. May we know that even though our highs and lows rarely coincide, the story of this year and the shared rhythm of this life provides a commonality with all, even those to whom we are opposed.

Amen

–––––––––––––

20–21 June 2020

God of uncovered secrets, God of fearless truth: to have faith in your goodness is to trust that after all we would hide is revealed, and all of our whispers are heard, your undying love will remain, and your truth will stand unchanged. May we forgo our protection of self, and find life made whole in shalom.

Amen.

––––––––––––––

19 June 2020

God we see in familiar faces, God in the strangers we think we know: as we meet again and see each other on the street or on a screen, give us a moment to look again and discover how people can change. There are worlds within each person we love, and also within those we don’t, and steps to take from point a to point b that we can walk together. As we set out for the good ahead may we greet what’s new inside us.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

18 June 2020

God of sisters and brothers, God of growth through conflict: we see raw heartbreak when our children realise how elusive fairness can be. We gasp with them as they learn that even childish pranks and playful teasing can draw real blood. Young tears can signal a realisation that words and actions born from fear can harm the ones we love. May our growth in this time out reassure each other. And as members of a family you maternally adore, may an unquestioned bond now hold us as when a sibling seeks forgiveness. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––– 

17 June 2020

God of revelation, God of unveiling: the truths that many would pretend to discover are truths that others could never avoid. May this time be the time of conversation about matters that lie underneath fears and prejudices, and beneath a wilful blindness.

May your revealing of what has always been change us and what is to be, so that in acknowledging each other and the sins brought to light we might never find such cover again.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––– 

16 June 2020

God of constant assurance, God who is forever new: a life of faith is not without risk. There is no telling what lies ahead when we choose to let go of what has been. But as we set off on this next adventure of finding our newer and truer selves, remind us that it is in becoming that we remain the people you created us to be. 

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––

15 June 2020

God of the community well, God of our individual needs: having gone through this together we will draw from these days a shared experience for years and years. Yet each of us balances this pandemic’s challenge with private struggles and dissimilar circumstances. May we take into account the additional weight that we and our neighbours will carry, so that as we lend (and accept from) each other support we can draw out more lessons from this well of community, and bring home all that we can.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––––

13–14 June 2020

God of the plentiful harvest, God of the shaken–off dust: there is enough work to be done

and enough good to be found that no defeat can be final, no success a time to stop. As we set out to help heal this world, remind us that our own power will always be insufficient, but that your limitless spirit can speak through the words we proclaim of the good news of heaven come near.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––– 

12 June 2020

God of our healthy fears, God of our courage and faith: there is a strengthening pull wanting to carry us back to what they call normal. But there is also cautious resistance and a reluctance to embrace all that was. Help us in this in between. As we venture out and relax restrictions, may we not forget the dangers, nor lose sight of what we’ve gained in a time of self–imposed limitation. Strengthen our patience to let this play out; and may the lessons we carry help us pull through.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

11 June 2020

God who weeps with us, God who rejoices with us: as we mark the seriousness of this pandemic, and lament the extent of our brokenness, give us the faith to see that the power that lies beneath us and that holds us fast to you is the power of justice. Remind us of the presence of joy in the hearts of those who know that love and beauty and kindness will last when all that is empty fades away. 

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––– 

10 June 2020

God of each moment, God of all time: years from now 2020 will still be present in our collective memory; not just for ourselves or our families or this town, or this nation, but for all people, everywhere. May this shared experience, with its sorrow, its anxiety, its lessons and revelations be the beginning of a new ‘we,’ the us you’ve been with from the start.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––– 

9 June 2020

God of the scales held in her hands, God of the scales that fell from his eyes: we pray for those who have waited far too long for justice; and for those who have taken far too long to see that systems said to be balanced and blind work for some but not for all. May repentance come quick, not from a fear of being condemned, but in the hope of being set free from the seesaw of us–them, win–lose, and from the blindness of seeing only what we want to be true. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––

8 June 2020

God of cathartic tears, God of embodied joy: how good it is has been to see a familiar face, to hear comfort in a dear friend’s voice, and to share our grief with someone who knows. As we move through this unbounded and exhausting time may we note the moments when we’ve been our most human: when our bodies instinctively responded to the truth of being alive and a part of something greater. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––– 

6–7 June 2020

God of holy relationship, God of distinct inclusion: with you and in you togetherness matters. Remind us that ours is not a life of living for ourselves. In being with and for each other, may we discover that how we relate to how we are different shows the essence of who we each are. 

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––

5 June 2020

God of grace and beauty, God of the crooked shore: we give you thanks for those who reveal your grace with a wisdom they wear so lightly, in a strength they only use to lift up other people. The generosity that some show in conversation, and in lessons they impart through open silence, provides a glimpse of divine light to be found in stories yet to be told, in questions we still want to ask.

Amen. 

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

4 June 2020

God of spring and God of summer: the first cutting has occurred and the birds are picking through the heaps, looking out for harvesters who will come to scoop this up. The beauty of these long rows draws our eyes up and our minds back to what has happened these last few months. We ask that you would be with us as we consider what we’ve lost and also what we’ve found. May we mark these moments well. The birds see now the valueof what will feed many through the winter.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––

3 June 2020

God of one and God of all: from our many may a unity appear. Help us find a way to hold our differences together. Bring us to the recognition that to be most fully human is to champion the full humanity of others. Your earthly image cannot be found in the mirror, but in the eyes of varied faces that reflect the incarnated divinity in our own.

Amen.

––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

2 June 2020

God of law, God of order: sometimes there are no words for the vanity on display. Remind us that when we use your name for loveless purposes that divide, we speak a clanging noise and your voice cannot be heard.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

1 June 2020

God of righteous anger, God of rippling peace: somewhere, far from sight, the tempestuous sea and this quiet bay connect in one great body of water, linked to rivers and streams that extend a backward reach to headwaters far beyond our shore. May we on this earth, separated by vastly different experiences, kept apart by distance and the barriers we make, be united by your spirit, that the pain of one might be borne by all through the channels of your peace.

Amen.

–––––––––––––––––

Earlier prayers are available through our resource page.

For prayers from Easter through Pentecost 2020:

https://www.corrymeela.org/cmsfiles/Prayers-for-Community-in-a-Time-of-Pandemic---Easter-to-Pentecost-2020.pdf

For prayers from the date of lockdown to Easter 2020:

https://www.corrymeela.org/cmsfiles/Prayers-for-Community-in-a-Time-of-Pandemic---Lockdown-to-Easter-2020.pdf

–––––––––––––––––

Prayers for Community in a Time of Pandemic

© The Corrymeela Community, 2020