Karel Reus, a member of Armadale Uniting Church wrote this prayer and meditation for the congregation’s service of recognition for the UCA’s 40th anniversary.
[The following could be read liturgically in the form of a litany, with words like “Lord, in your mercy, help us to love and unite.” Images could be projected to mark stages in the meditation. Periods of silence could be introduced between sections.]
Lord of all creation,
who pronounced creation good,
who wills us to tend a new garden
where unity, and grace, and harmony, and peace
are the norm, and all of human-kind
is united by your all-enfolding,
unconditional and perfect love.
Enable us, in this uniting church,
whose banner is the cross and dove,
encircled with hope never-ending;
enable us to leave the divisions
of our daily lives,
enable us to seek unity and reconciliation
amongst the shards of good intentions
we have left underfoot.
We understand, Good Lord,
that we will never, by our own efforts,
achieve the many unities
made possible only by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Empower us. Inspire us. Liberate us.
Enable us to be what we can only be
with the gift of your grace.
And so we bring before you on this anniversary day
our earnest desire to heal and mend divisions,
to bridge what separates us from each other,
and your love.
The separations of the heart
- When the ties of love demand the breaking of bonds.
- When a loose tongue shatters solidarity.
- When minor deceits grow into major lies.
- When passion becomes it’s own reward at the expense of loved ones.
- Where self-gratification is the only reward that is valued.
The separations of the body
- Where our comfort overrides the comfort of others.
- Where our ill-health blinds us to the pain of a neighbour.
- Where the sick and frail become stumbling blocks to our easy lives.
- Where the solution to old age is banishment.
The separations of the soul
- When love of me drowns out the cries of many.
- When my path to salvation is walked at the expense of others.
The separations of community
- When the loving community demands the rejection of others.
- When fairness is the casualty of blame.
- When leadership equates to the rejection of the weak.
- When pride of place is the fruit of naked power.
- When wisdom is equated to tradition.
- When tradition is little more than habit.
The separations of the Church
- When church-busy-ness leaves little time for outsiders.
- When theology and dogma divide brethren in Christ.
- When The Cross is used to enslave rather than liberate.
- When prestige eclipses humility.
- When display of charity negates good works.
- When preaching divides rather than unites.
- When prayer empties the soul.