Pastoral Prayer – November 12, 2023

This prayer was written for this morning’s service, but because of a gaff, I did not get to speak it aloud. So I place it here.

Let the spirit of meditation,

of prayer, of reflection,

of connection to that yearning inside you

for something larger than yourself

be your company,

moving you to sound or stillness

as is your comfort and tradition.


For the 240 hostages from over 30 nations,

abducted on October 7 by Hamas,

and for the still mourning families of those 1200

murdered on that day,

we pray return and consolation;

For the over 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza

dead from the Israeli government’s violent retribution,

as well as for the 175 dead in the West Bank

from increased Settler violence,

we pray safety, peace, and justice;

For the steep and climbing

arc of division across the lands,

the rapid rise of both anti-Semitism

and Islamophobia in this country,

touching old traumas and creating new fears,

we pray safety and cessation;

For those who remind us

that Jewish and Muslim safety are NOT in opposition,

either here in this country

or in the Middle East,

we pray gratitude;

For those facing surgery

and those recovering,

we pray health;

For those who sleep in cars and tents

and who do not know how

to sustain such an impossible life

in the midst of oncoming winter,

we pray shelter;

For those who experience

visits with loved ones experiencing dementia

and yet, who recognize their loved ones

and share pride and memories,

we pray joy;

For those whose experience of fear

leads them into dark and scary places

within their own hearts and minds,

we pray comfort and good companionship;

For those who sing

what our hearts are struggling to articulate,

we pray gratitude;

For those who have said yes or are about to,

and for those who must say no:

we pray appreciation;

For unbidden moments of wonder and delight,

we pray thanks and ask that

we make ourselves open

to seeing these gifts of respite

in an aching world,

helping to lift our despair,

helping us to be of service to others;

For those who let the words

of poet Lucile Clifton wash over them,

 accepting the blessing they offer,

we pray respite from fear:

may the tide

that is entering even now

the lip of our understanding

carry you out

beyond the face of fear

Let us spend just a few moments in shared stillness,

sensing the prayers only our hearts know,

until the chime rings again.



4 thoughts on “Pastoral Prayer – November 12, 2023

  1. Amen.
    The phrase “killing for peace” sounds ridiculous for a reason.
    Yes, we are one; more than most know. We don’t have to wait till it’s our turn to influence the obvious preferred outcomes.
    Yes, we take turns.

  2. Blessings to you this early morning…your presents with such a open heart inspires all those within and beyond…beyond the doors of the First UU Society of Burlington…to the cosmos of all that has been and will be…extending a simple gesture of love, a listen ear, a open hand of compassion, a smile with tears of love…to you and your family. Blessings to you!

    Fred Person.

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