Prayers of the People: Witness

God our creator,
ruler of heaven and earth,
you see us in our joy and our pain,
our doubt and our faith,
our confusion and despair,
our longing and hope.

You see us. 

Teach us to see as you see
and to see who you see.
In our prayers, we confess to you: we see them.
In our prayers, we remind each other: we see you. 

God, today we witness grief:
grief over 400,000 human lives lost to COVID-19
grief over lost opportunities, plans, and dreams 
grief over missing loved ones sheltering afar
grief from our black neighbors over human lives lost to racism
grief from our white communities that it took so long to see their pain.

God, today we witness hope:
hope in our medical workers, carrying the burden of healing
hope in scientists, toiling to bring us safety
hope in new, more honest conversations about racism in America
hope that justice can indeed roll down like waters
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

God, today we witness rage:
rage that so much is out of our control
rage that we feel helpless, unvalued, or unimportant
rage that wears faces of depression or false fronts
rage from our Black neighbors over so many years of casual oppression
rage from those who can’t imagine new ways of living
rage that the world is not as it should be.

God, today we witness joy:
joy that springs up in the most surprising places
joy that flows through music and art, nature and family
joy in the cautious peeking-through of new life
joy in long summer days and calls with friends 
joy in laughter and in praising you, God.
Joy that when the world is falling apart,
you reach out your hands to catch us
and hold us together.

God, today we witness healing:
healing from covid, from cancer, from broken bones
healing through forgiveness, and reconciliation
healing from broken hearts and wounded minds
healing from the disease of racism, that damages all it touches
and we witness the healers:
doctors, nurses, technicians,
teachers, artists, activists,
therapists, pastors, friends,
all who give their time and gifts
to strengthen and to mend.

God, today we witness fear:
fear of a second spike,
fear of our own frail bodies,
fear for our economy
fear for the world our children will inherit
fear that we will say the wrong thing
fear that we cannot face this moment. 

God, today we witness love:
loving neighbors marching together for equality
loving communities working together for safety
loving families staying connected through this pandemic
loving strangers refusing to give in to suspicion and hate
a loving church that persists through storms
and most of all, we witness your love,
your powerful, radical, life-changing love,
that turns over tables and calms storms
that finds its way into our hearts when we need it most
that spills out of us when we speak your truth
that comes to us without condition or qualm
that holds us gently each day of our lives.

We lift to you others whom we see in our lives
whose needs we pray for now…

Lord, you see us. 
For that we can only say thank you, thank you, thank you. 

And so we conclude with the prayer you taught us, saying Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

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