Prayers of the People/Intercession on Unity

Sermon Illustrations on Unity

The love of Christ has gathered us as one.

Let us rejoice and be glad in him.

Let us fear and love the living God

And in purity of heart let us love one another.

Where charity and love are, there is God.

When therefore we are gathered together

Let us not be divided in spirit.

Let bitter strife and discord cease between us;

Let Christ our God be present in our midst.

Where charity and love are, there is God.

With all the blessed may we see for ever

Your face in glory, Jesus Christ our God.

Joy that is infinite and undefiled

For all the ages of eternity.

Where charity and love are, there is God. Amen.

Hymn: Ubi Caritas, from The Western Rite

God of grace and God of glory on your people pour your power…Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour.  Lord—we need You…today, tomorrow and forever.  We need you to heal those we love—we can’t do it.  We need you to restore the injured and cure the ill, to lift the depressed, to strengthen care-givers and give hope to all.  

We need you to comfort the grieving.  We need you to be a shoulder to lean on and arms that hold, to be ears that listen and eyes that cry with, and to be the one whose resurrection brings hope and solace.  

Lord, may your church be that ‘Body of Christ.’  Lord—We need you to act. We need you to revive your church and heal our land—we can’t do it.  We need to move, even to force, your people out of our safe enclaves and out into the world.  

Make us more like you—the friend of sinners, who came to seek and save the lost; going to them with love and grace, forgiveness and the good news of the Kingdom of God.  We need your help to do the same; and we need you to heal our land—divided between red and blue, rich and poor, native and immigrant, old and young, conservative and progressive.  

Bring us together not just in tragedy but unite us in righteousness, holiness and justice in answer to the prophet’s prayer to:“Let justice roll on like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”(Amos 5:24).  Lord—We need you to act.  

We need you to redeem and relieve our pain—we can’t do it.  There are those here today whose relationships dangle by a thread: with a distracted spouse, with a wayward child or distant siblings: bring honest and healthy reconciliation, Lord.  And lots of us are wrapped up in fear: fear from losing a job, fear of financial ruin in hard economic times; fear of test results and the fear of being found out.  

Our fears are eating us alive.  Lord—we need you to act. We can’t do it by ourselves.  And Lord—we need to hear your voice. We need to hear and believe the Gospel that changes us; and we need to hear your Word and do your will. We need you, Lord … in these and all things.  This is our desire.  This is our prayer.  Offered in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN

Richard Herman

God of our hearts, Lord of nations and Creator of worlds; Father, Son and Holy Spirit: When You redeemed us and called us each by name, You made us a family—united by your love and grace. Across towns and counties, states, nations, and continents…whether worshiping in a brick sanctuary in the US, or in a cement block building in Mexico, under an acacia tree in Sudan or a tin roof in Kenya, or in a home in China, a Cathedral in France, or hidden in a basement or back room in parts of the Middle East: We are one people who are all Yours; and what causes our sisters to rejoice brings us joy, what makes our brothers weep brings tears to our eyes, too.

So, today we pray for Christians in other places, asking that .You strengthen them–and us–in times of trial; that . You provide for them–and us–in times of need and scarcity; that. You guide them–and us–in times of uncertainty and confusion; that .You give them–and us–courage in the face of opposition, integrity when challenged to do the right, and love at all times for all people. May we all shine like bright lights in a dark sky pointing people to Jesus as the Pole Star who leads us all home. For the sick–we ask for Your healing. For the grieving–we seek Your comfort and hope. For the homeless–we ask You to supply shelter, and to the hungry, food. For those facing tough decisions–we plead for a wisdom and boldness borne of Your Spirit. For those seeking You–may they find You and be found by You. And for all of us, as Your beloved children: may we give You glory, know Your joy, and reflect Your love to all we meet. Bless the preaching of Your Word today–and bless our preacher. Bless the receiving of the sacrament today–in this place and wherever You are worshiped as Lord, Savior and God. This we pray, joining our voices with those of believers of all times and all places, in the name of Jesus. AMEN

Richard Herman

Lord of all—Lord of all the universe, Lord of all the world, Lord of all nations, peoples and tongues, Lord of all the Church—Father, Son and Holy Spirit: We come to You who alone are adequate in all things, at all times, in all places.  

You know the needs of all who are sick or wounded, injured, or in recuperation – be their hope and their healer, and the gracious sustainer to all who care for them.  You know the profound emptiness that comes to those experiencing loss, mourning, and grief – be to them a companion and a source of solace, hope, and peace.  

You know our continued national anxiety over the pandemic and related fallout,You know our complicity in political divisiveness, and You know the shame of our disunity between brothers and sisters in Christ–between Protestants and Catholics, liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and progressives–disunity that destroys our witness to the Gospel.  

To say we don’t do unity very well is an understatement.  Help us, Lord.  Heal our unholy bent toward outrage and discord.  For we ask it in the name of the Prince of Peace, who breaks down dividing walls of hostility, and restores peace and unity.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN 

Richard Herman

God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–You know what it’s like to be many and one at the same time. In You, we too are many … yet one. You’ve made us one body—a single family unified for one purpose; with one baptism—giving us a single identity. You’ve given us one Spirit—Your Spirit; and one hope—in the same future. And, with one faith we trust You for our salvation, our one Lord, Jesus Christ. 

So together, with one voice and a single heart, we hold varied anxieties and hope, concerns and commitments, and give them to You. For those we love who are ill or injured, anticipating surgery or recovering from it–we pray healing of body, peace of mind and trust in You. 

For families who gather this week–we ask safety in travel, joy in shared times; and where reconciliation is needed to bring a marriage and family together, we ask You to give grace, humility, forgiveness and growth in love and trust. For those who can’t be together this week–we ask peace. 

May Your grace give reason for thanks in shared memories. For our nation–so blessed by You over the years, we offer thanks: for freedom, for abundance of resources, for the ability to worship You unafraid. Yet, we’ve also grown proud of our power, our wealth and our technologies. Forgive us for turning to other gods to lead and protect us; and for when we’ve trusted ourselves too much and You too little. 

For our world, so splintered by national interest and suspicion, by prejudice and hatred: we pray for understanding and empathy, justice and compassion between peoples. Strengthen Your missionaries, keep them faithful in serving You as they declare and live Your gospel as lights throughout a dark world. For Your Church, for this church–we thank You. Thank You for Your people who love us as we are, who care for us when we hurt, who lift us up when we fall, who are there when we are in need. Thank You for a church that’s faithful to proclaim and demonstrate Your truth with grace and compassion. Thank You for ministries that quietly change lives, for leaders who faithfully serve and for all who sacrificially give of themselves. So, with thanksgiving in our hearts, we pray all this, in Jesus’ Name. AMEN

Richard Herman