God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. —Psalm 46:1-3
God who hears our anxious thoughts, God who listens to our bold prayers:
There are so many uncertainties in our world right now that at times it is difficult to stop ourselves from borrowing worry from tomorrow. Yet while the changes and chances of this world are certain, so is your steadfast love. Help us in our times of doubt and fear about the future to plant our feet firmly in the ground of the present, so that we may feel your presence giving strength to our troubled spirits. Amen.
Only when we have the courage to cross the road and look in one another’s eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family. —Henri Nouwen
God of the friends we meet on our street, God of the strangers we see walking down the street:
After Jesus instructed his followers to love their neighbors, he answered the question “Who is my neighbor?” with the story of the good Samaritan. In this world where people are often identified with descriptors that create division, help us look beyond labels and recognize your image in all we encounter so that we might have the courage to truly see each other as not only neighbors, but as your beloved children. Amen.
God takes care of the glowworm as well as the galaxies, and not an atom moves without God’s consent. So what in the universe shall we fear? —Ernesto Cardenal
God of the wildflowers, God of the sparrows:
We humans are so prone to fear and anxiety that one of the most repeated phrases in the Bible is “be not afraid.” Scripture also offers us examples from nature to teach us how to move beyond our worries. Look at the birds of the air . . . consider the lilies of the field . . . Help us today to read the messages of reassurance we see in the world around us so that we may let go of our fears and trust in your steadfast love. Amen.
In the stillness of quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair. —Howard Thurman
God with us in moments of serene calm, God with us in times of clamorous chaos:
Being alone with our own thoughts can be such a frightening prospect that sometimes we turn on the television or radio in order to tune out the noise in our head. But just like your prophet, Elijah, there are times when we need to escape the world and weather the storm of our fears so we can better hear your voice. Give us today a time of quiet so we can breathe, be still, and gain strength from the knowledge that you are God. Amen.
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. —1 Corinthians 16:13,14
God of our forbearers, God of our future:
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes a village to support a disciple. Today we offer gratitude for the communities and individuals who have helped shape our faith; those who in word and deed have taught us how to be courageous and act from a place of love rather than fear. We thank you for their presence in our lives, and we thank you for the opportunities we each have to be lights for one another. Amen.