Let’s end this evening with a prayer of gratitude. Grateful, God for bringing us to this moment, with these people, on this night for both a common and also very personal purpose.

God we’re grateful for the ways in which You work through each of us even when it’s difficult.

So, we’re praying for some grace.

We know you are near. We know you will guide us if we only ask.

And so God, tonight, we’re asking. We’re asking for some insight.

We’re asking You to help us find some openness, some serenity in our ever-beating hearts and ever-thinking minds.

God, we’re asking You to help us quiet those parts of ourselves which might keep us from truly allowing Your word to fill us with understanding, the kind that can compel us into contemplation and propel us into acts for justice.

We’re asking for help to plumb the depths of our own spirits, our own lives, our own histories, our own comforts and discomforts so we might better glorify You by leaning into the revolutionary message of Your child Jesus who taught us not only to love our neighbor but to love the divine God present and fully embodied in our neighbor and ourselves and therefore to love everyone and everything.

God, tonight we’re asking for your help. We’re praying that we might actually be filled with faith. Faith that there is enough for everyone to have what they need, that you have in fact created an abundance of life if we only figure out how to share it.

And God, as hard as it can be, we pray that you might help us acknowledge the times when we’ve lost that faith and kept too much for ourselves, times when we rely on and even defend the violent and divisive systems of white supremacy and patriarchy in our world and especially in our Church by putting up walls around what we say “belongs to me” and keeping it from being used by all “according to their need.”

God we pray for the wisdom to understand your Way is still unfolding, that we will stumble, and we will fall, and sometimes we will do the picking up and sometimes we will need to be picked up by others. But God, we pray for the courage to listen, to examine, to follow, and to lead even when it means we’ll be rejected, or challenged, or unpopular, or tired, or discouraged.

God, we have faith in You and believe in the righteousness of reconciliation and reparations and racial justice. Because, even when it feels hard and impossible, the alternative is so much harder and so much worse.

And, we know whatever the time, we can fall back into your loving embrace for encouragement and energy and inspiration to keep pursuing your beloved community and kin-dom. Amen.