This morning I was honored to give the invocation for the Mayor’s 31st Annual Prayer Breakfast in Arlington Heights with several of our St. Simon’s community participating in the gathering.  I thought I would offer it as this week’s reflection:

Holy One, in Jesus we see what it means to be a human being fully alive, wholly permeated by Your presence.  We are your delight, made in your image and likeness, blessed from the beginning and born to share in the divine dance of love with you and all creation.  As we gather this morning, we bring our attention to Jesus’ wisdom, so very different from our own, allowing it to awaken us to what really is and heal our spiritual blindness that we, being transformed in you, may join with you in the healing of the world.

Jesus, in the hours before his death, invites us to follow in his way:  As the Father has loved me, I, too, have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have said these things that my joy may be in you, and your joy will be complete.  This is my commandment: love each other as I have loved you. John 15:9-12

May we remain in your love:  We know something about pain, suffering and death. We experience the loss of health, relationships, cherished dreams and hopes.  We struggle to let go of what was, to make room for what is emerging.  We are hurt, and we hurt.  In our times of suffering, our human temptation is to blame, to seek retribution and resort to emotional or physical violence in an attempt to soothe the pain.  Help us, we pray, to follow Jesus’ way instead:  trusting that brokenness is the portal where God breaks through to us, where the light shines in, as Leonard Cohen so eloquently put it.  And as we face death in all its guises, may we abide in your Love, trusting in your goodness and sustained by the promise that resurrection always has the last word—here and now and always.

May we may have your joy complete in us:  Empower us to awaken to the intimacy of your presence in our everyday living, that we may dwell in your joy.  Daily we are tempted to believe that possessions, power and prestige will grant us all we desire. That is the lie. Jesus opens us to the intimacy with God within that leads to a life here and now rooted and grounded in unending peace, love and joy that passes human understanding. May it be so with us, that our joy may be wider and deeper than any experiences we may be going through, and contagious because it is Jesus’ joy in us.

And may we love one another: May any pain or suffering we experience in body, mind or spirit be that which binds us in love to friends and strangers alike. Rather than isolating us, may our challenges alert us to the suffering of all your beloved children and this fragile earth our island home.  As we allow you to touch with love our trauma and pain, may we be inspired to touch with love and tenderness the pain of all your people.  We ask that our struggles be the catalyst for our compassionate action in the world, inspiring us with the courage to speak truth to power and to judge all decisions—political, economic and personal—by whether they align with your command to love each other as you have loved us.

Finally, we ask your blessing upon this gathering that you may reveal yourself to us through the stories we hear, the fellowship we share and the food which nourishes us.  We give thanks to you for the blessing of our life and for all who are serving us this morning, at our tables, and through the offering of scripture, story and music. May your love and joy permeate us that we may embody your love in the living of our lives for the transformation of the world you so love.   In your holy name we pray. Amen.

I give thanks for all of you who inspire and bless me on this incredible journey of life.

Hope to see you Sunday.
Pastor Elizabeth